Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party in Car Insurance

by SMCIB on Tuesday, 20 February 2024

Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party in Car Insurance

In our list of milestones, buying a car features on the top, doesn't it? It is a big achievement and you want only the best for your car, whether it is the seats, the cleaning products or when you buy insurance.After all, your car is your prized possession! Basically, your car insurance is an agreement between you and an insurance company that says it has got your back if anything happens on the road. Whether it's a little scratch or a major collision, they've got you covered for those unexpected wallet-draining moments.

But here's the thing – sometimes the whole insurance lingo can feel like you're reading another language. Terms and conditions appear cryptic, leaving many feeling as though they require a sage guide to steer them through the complexities, particularly concerning life, vehicle, or health insurance. Consider car insurance, for instance. Ever pondered the difference between first-party and third-party insurance? Not exactly common knowledge, is it? This article will simplify the concepts for you.. Let's break it down together starting with the different parties involved in car insurance.

Different Parties Involved In Car Insurance

Let's talk about who is who in the world of car insurance first.

  • First Party: First up, we have the first party. That's the owner of the car. The first party is the one who has bought the insurance policy and is paying premiums to keep the car protected. And if something goes awry, the first party is the one who gets to file a claim to get things resolved.
  • Second Party: Now, onto the second player: the insurer or the insurance company. They're the ones who've promised you coverage when there are damages. If your car ends up in a pickle, they're the ones who step in to cover those financial losses. They're like the financial guardian for your vehicle.
  • Third Party: Lastly, we've got the third party. This could be anyone who ends up on the receiving end of a scrape, whether it's a person, their ride, or their property. If you accidentally cause any damage, it's the second party who swoops in to make things right on your behalf, compensating them.

Types of Car Insurance in India

Now that you have a fair idea about the parties involved, let us move towards the types of car insurances you get in India:

Comprehensive Insurance Policy

Picture this as the all-inclusive package deal of car insurance. With a comprehensive policy, you're getting top-tier coverage that leaves virtually no stone unturned. It not only takes care of any damages your vehicle might suffer but also extends its protective embrace to cover third-party liabilities. It's like having a safety net for both you and others on the road.

Third-party Insurance Policy

This is the bare minimum, the legal requirement for hitting the road in India. Without it, you're basically left stranded. This policy focuses solely on protecting third parties from any harm caused by your vehicle. It's the safety measure that ensures you're not leaving others high and dry in case of an unfortunate mishap.

Own-damage Insurance Cover

Here's where things get personal – literally. This policy steps in when your own vehicle takes a hit, whether it's from fire, rain, or the less welcome scenario of theft. When your car needs some repair due to unforeseen circumstances, this cover helps. File a claim, and you'll be on your way to getting the necessary work done without breaking the bank.

In summary, whether you're seeking comprehensive protection, adhering to legal requirements, or safeguarding against personal mishaps, there's a car insurance policy tailored to your needs in India. Let’s take a closer look at these covers.

What is First Party Insurance?

First Party Insurance, also known as comprehensive car insurance, is tailored specifically for you. It's like having a personal bodyguard for your vehicle, offering a robust package that includes third-party Liability coverage, own damage insurance cover, and even a personal accident cover. Plus, you have the flexibility to add on extra protection as needed.

The own damage cover, a cornerstone of first party insurance, ensures your peace of mind by safeguarding your car against various perils. Whether it's damage from fire, vandalism, flooding, or even theft, this policy has you covered. It may come at a slightly higher price compared to basic Liability policies, however its extensive coverage is well worth the investment.

Benefits of First Party car insurance

  • Comprehensive Protection: You're shielded from a wide array of risks, including theft, fire, natural disasters, and accidental damages.
  • Third-party Liabilities Covered: Not only does it protect your own vehicle, but it also covers liabilities arising from damage to others' property or injuries to other road users.
  • Cashless Claim Settlement: Most insurers offer hassle-free cashless claim settlements, allowing you to get your car repaired at authorised garages without dipping into your own pocket.
  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance: With first party insurance, you enjoy round-the-clock roadside assistance for emergencies like breakdowns or flat tires, ensuring you're never stranded.
  • No-Claim Bonus (NCB): If you go a year without making a claim, you'll earn an NCB benefit, leading to reduced premiums during renewal.
  • Customizable Coverage: You have the freedom to tailor your coverage with add-ons that suit your specific needs and budget.

Disadvantages of First Party Insurance

Despite its numerous advantages, it's essential to consider this one drawback of first party insurance:

Cost: Due to its extensive coverage, the premium for First Party insurance tends to be higher compared to other types of policies.

What is Third-party Insurance?

Third-party insurance, often referred to as liability-only cover, is a specific type of car insurance policy designed to protect the policyholder (first party) from any liabilities arising from an accident or mishap involving their insured vehicle. In such cases, the policyholder can claim indemnification from the insurer (second party) under the following circumstances:

  • Limited Coverage for Bodily Injuries: This policy provides coverage for bodily injuries (permanent total disability or permanent partial disability), sustained by a third party involved in an accident with the insured car. However, the coverage is limited in scope.
  • Unlimited Coverage for Death: In case of death of a third party resulting from the accident, this policy offers unlimited coverage to compensate for the losses incurred.
  • Property Damage Cover: Third-party insurance also extends coverage for damage caused to third-party property, providing financial protection to the policyholder against such liabilities up to a specified limit, usually up to Rs. 7.5 lakh.

Benefits of Third Party Insurance

  • Cost-Effective Premiums: Due to its limited coverage, the premium for third-party insurance tends to be lower compared to comprehensive policies, making it a cost-effective option for budget-conscious individuals.
  • Legal Compliance: Third-party insurance is a mandatory requirement by law, ensuring that policyholders remain compliant with legal regulations while operating their vehicles on the road.
  • Financial Protection: In the event of an accident where a third party sustains injuries (permanent total disability or permanent partial disability), or their property is damaged, this policy provides financial coverage to the first party against the resulting liabilities, helping to mitigate potential financial losses.

Disadvantages of Third Party Insurance:

  • No Own-damage Coverage: One of the main drawbacks of third-party insurance is the absence of coverage for damages sustained by the insured vehicle itself. Any repairs or replacements needed for the first party’s vehicle will not be covered under this policy.

  • Limited Customization: Unlike comprehensive policies, third-party insurance does not offer the flexibility to add extra coverage options or add-ons beyond the basic personal accident cover, limiting customization options for policyholders.

In essence, while third-party insurance offers essential coverage for liabilities arising out of mishaps involving the insured vehicle, it's important to consider its limitations and weigh them against your specific insurance needs and preferences.


Difference Between First Party And Third Party In Car Insurance

Here's a breakdown highlighting the differences between First Party (FP) and Third Party (TP) in car insurance to make it even clearer for you:


First Party

Third Party


This refers to the individual who purchases the car insurance policy, typically the owner of the insured vehicle.

In contrast, this represents the individual(s) impacted by the first party's insured vehicle during an accident or mishap.


The first party can be anyone, usually the vehicle owner, securing their vehicle by purchasing an insurance policy.

Can be a person who sustains injuries, disability, death, or loss of property due to an accident involving the insured car.


The first party holds the responsibility of obtaining appropriate insurance coverage, either a third-party plan or a comprehensive policy.

Meanwhile, the third party may benefit from compensation for injuries or damages covered by the first party's insurance policy. However, for full protection, they may need to consider additional coverage like personal accident or health insurance.


First-party individuals are mandated by law to have at least third-party insurance for their vehicle. Failure to comply may result in penalties.

On the other hand, there's no legal requirement for third-party individuals to purchase insurance for their own protection.

Accident Coverage

Under a car insurance plan, the first party may be entitled to a Personal Accident Cover (PA) of up to Rs. 15 lakhs, subject to specific terms and conditions.

In the event of an accident, the third party may receive compensation based on the severity of the damage suffered and the ruling of the Motor Accidents Tribunal.


Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to selecting the right insurance for your vehicle, the choice between third party insurance vs first party insurance hinges on your unique requirements and situation. Let's break it down to simplify your decision-making process:

  • Opt for First-Party Insurance If:
    • You cherish your wheels and want coverage for any damages.
    • Your vehicle is relatively new or holds significant value.
    • You've got a loan or lease, as lenders typically demand comprehensive and collision coverage.
  • Consider Third-Party Insurance If:
    • Meeting legal obligations is your priority when it comes to car insurance.
    • Your car has some miles on it and might not justify the cost of comprehensive coverage.
    • Saving on premiums is essential, as third party insurance comes with a lower price tag.
  • Why Not Both?
    Many drivers choose to blend both first-party and third-party coverage to ensure they're shielded from all angles. This blend, often dubbed "full coverage," offers comprehensive protection for a variety of scenarios.Let us look at the key factors to weigh In while buying:
    • Cost: Comprehensive coverage tends to be pricier than basic liability coverage. Keep your budget in mind while deciding.
    • Car's Worth: The value of your vehicle plays a role in determining whether investing in comprehensive coverage is worthwhile.
    • Legal Stipulations: Be aware of your state or country's minimum requirements for liability coverage.

Evaluate your individual needs, financial status, and your car's value meticulously to pinpoint the ideal coverage or combination for you. For guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, consider consulting with SMC’s experts. After all, your peace of mind on the road is priceless.

Summing up!

In the journey of car ownership, where milestones like acquiring a vehicle mark triumphant moments, navigating the world of car insurance emerges as a pivotal quest. From unravelling the distinctions between first-party and third-party coverage to balancing costs and benefits, every decision shapes the narrative of safeguarding one's cherished assets. Whether embracing the comprehensive shield of first-party insurance or prioritising affordability and legal compliance with third-party coverage, each choice is a testament to individual needs.


  1. What is the difference between third party and first party insurance?
    First-party insurance provides coverage for damages or losses incurred by the policyholder or their vehicle. This includes damages from various incidents such as riots, strikes, natural disasters like earthquakes or floods, fire, theft, and more. On the other hand, third-party insurance covers damages or losses solely to the third party involved in an accident.
  2. Is it OK to have 3rd party insurance?
    While third-party insurance meets the legal requirements, it solely covers damages to third parties and doesn't include any damages to the insured car itself. Consequently, having only third-party insurance means you can only file claims for damages caused to third parties, not for any damages to your own vehicle.
  3. What is 1st party coverage?
    First-party insurance, as mentioned earlier, encompasses coverage for damages or losses experienced by the policyholder or their vehicle. This coverage extends to a range of scenarios, including those arising from riots, strikes, natural calamities like earthquakes or floods, fire, theft, and more.
  4. What is 3rd party insurance?
    Third-party insurance is a type of coverage where the insurer offers a cover against damage to the third-party vehicle, personal property, and physical injury resulting from an accident.
  5. What happens if I do not purchase either a first party or a third party car insurance policy?
    According to Indian law, all car owners are obligated to insure their vehicles. You can choose between a basic third-party plan or a comprehensive plan. However, selecting one is compulsory. Failure to do so can result in monetary penalties, confiscation of your driving licence, and may even lead to imprisonment.
  6. Which insurance is best: first-party or third party?
    The choice between first-party and third-party insurance hinges on your preference for coverage. However, for optimal protection and the safety of both first and third parties involved, we recommend opting for the comprehensive car insurance package.
    Key Takeaways
    1. Car insurance is an agreement between you and the insurer, ensuring financial coverage in case of unforeseen events on the road.
    2. Parties involved in car insurance are the first party: The car owner purchasing the insurance and filing claims when necessary. The second party: The insurer providing coverage. The third party: Individuals or properties affected by accidents involving your car.
    3. Types of car insurance policies in India include comprehensive insurance, third-party insurance and own-damage insurance:
    4. First party insurance (Comprehensive) provides protection for the car owner, including third-party liability, own damage cover, and personal accident cover.
    5. First party insurance gives comprehensive protection against various risks, including roadside assistance and cashless claim settlements.
    6. Third party insurance (Liability-only) is a cost-effective option fulfilling legal requirements, focusing on liabilities arising from accidents involving your vehicle.
    7. Third party insurance offers limited coverage for damages to your vehicle, lacking customization options compared to comprehensive policies.

Evaluate individual needs, financial status, and car value meticulously to determine the ideal coverage.


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