Liability insurance pays for damage to someone else’s property or for injury to other persons resulting from an accident for which the insured is judged legally liable; collision insurance pays for damage to the insured car if it collides with another vehicle or object; comprehensive insurance pays for damage to the insured car resulting from fire or theft or many other causes; medical-payment insurance covers medical treatment for the policyholder and his passengers.
It is an offence to use a motor vehicle, or allow others to use it without insurance that satisfies the requirements of the Act. This requirement applies while any part of a vehicle (even if a greater part of it is on private land) is on the public highway. No such legislation applies on private land. However, private land to which the public have a reasonable right of access (for example, a supermarket car park during opening hours) is considered to be included within the requirements of the Act.
Widespread use of the motor car began after the First World War in urban areas. Cars were relatively fast and dangerous by that stage, yet there was still no compulsory form of car insurance anywhere in the world. This meant that injured victims would seldom get any compensation in an accident, and drivers often faced considerable costs for damage to their car and property.