Car Insurance Jargon Explained

We all know how important it is to have car insurance. It’s the law. Without it you can face some serious consequences. Sure, shopping around, entering your details on endless amounts of insurance comparison sites isn’t the most exciting job in the world but it has to be done once a year!

Car insurance can be a mine field of jargon, abbreviations and phrases that sounds alien like. ‘TPO’, ‘TPFT’, ‘FULLY COMP’. Just a few examples of what you can expect. But now with the introduction of technology powering many policies, you need to know what ‘black box’ is and try and decipher ‘telematics based insurance.’

Understandably, this leads to confusion when speaking to insurance providers. To them, it’s a second language but to you it’s foreign. You might be given a whole host of options or choices and say yes to the wrong thing. This could lead to you not having the insurance you want or need. Should you need to amend your policy, you could be expected to pay as much as £100. This might be referred to as a ‘Mid-Term Adjustment”. 

So you’re a new driver. You’ve never taken out a policy before and you are already bored after visiting your first comparison site. As we all know, all you want to do is get out on the road! So take a look at the key things to know when looking at car insurance.


  • Compulsory Excess – This is the amount automatically set by the insurance company and will be based on your age, type and age of car and any claims you have made previously. If you’re a young driver expect to have a high compulsory excess.

  • Voluntary Excess – This is what you choose to pay in the amount of a claim. Raising your Voluntary Excess can reduce your overall premium, but remember you will need to pay up in the event of a claim.


  • TPOThe lowest level of cover you can have is Third Party Only. This covers claims made by another person (i.e third party) if you cause an accident or injury to another driver. You and your car however are NOT covered
  • TPFT – Third Party Fire and Theft does what it says on the tin. It offers the same level of cover as TPO however it will also cover the loss or damage if your own car is destroyed by fire or stolen.
  • FULLY COMP – This is the most complete level of cover. Fully Comprehensive cover will insure you for damage to your own vehicle as well as third party damage from a range of causes including accidents, fire and theft.


  • Thus is the technology that allows for the transmission of information remotely. Already being used in the automotive industry, it has now been implemented in the development of car insurance.

  • This normally means a small black box being fitted to the car. This will record speed, mileage, braking force which is then sent to insurers allowing them to monitor and price policies accordingly.

  • This can mean you receive a discount should you hit certain criteria, such as low mileage or evidence of careful driving.


  • Every single car on the road is placed in an insurance group. The groups range from 1 (the cheapest) to 50 (the most expensive). The group a car is placed in is determined by performance, price of parts, value when new and security features. If you want to save some money look for a car in a lower group as it SHOULD return a lower premium.


  • FAULT – A fault claim refers to an accident or incident where the policyholder is considered to be responsible. This term will also be used if the insurance provider cannot recover the costs from someoneelse. For example, a theft claim can be classed as a fault claim becausethe insurance provider cannot normally recover the costs from the person committing the crime.

  • NON-FAULT – A non fault claim occurs when another person is to blame and if the insurer can recover the cost of the claim from them or their insurer.


  • This refers to the person or the organisation that is recorded by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as being the legal keeper of a car or vehicle.
  • It’s important to note that this does necessarily mean the named person is the LEGAL OWNER OF THE VEHICLE
  • The registered keeper is the person responsible for the day-to-day use on the road and is responsible for taxing the vehicle. Insurers need to know who the main driver is and who the registered keeper is.