The Road Traffic Act, 1933 requires all drivers of mechanically propelled vehicles in public places to have at least third-party insurance, or to have obtained exemption – generally by depositing a (large) sum of money to the High Court as a guarantee against claims. In 1933, this figure was set at £15,000. The Road Traffic Act, 1961 (which is currently in force) repealed the 1933 act but replaced these sections with functionally identical sections.
More commonly purchased is third party, fire and theft. This covers all third party liabilities and also covers the vehicle owner against the destruction of the vehicle by fire (whether malicious or due to a vehicle fault) and theft of the insured vehicle. It may or may not cover vandalism. This kind of insurance and the two preceding types do not cover damage to the vehicle caused by the driver or other hazards.
Some classes of vehicle ownership, or use, are "Crown Exempt" from the requirement to be covered under the Act including vehicles owned or operated by certain councils and local authorities, national park authorities, education authorities, police authorities, fire authorities, health service bodies, the security services and vehicles used to or from Shipping Salvage purposes. Although exempt from the requirement to insure, this provides no immunity against claims being made against them, so an otherwise Crown Exempt authority may choose to insure conventionally, preferring to incur the known expense of insurance premiums rather than accept the open-ended exposure of effectively, self-insuring under Crown Exemption.
Road Traffic Act Only Insurance differs from Third Party Only Insurance (detailed below) and is not often sold, unless to underpin, for example, a corporate body wishing to self-insure above the requirements of the Act. It provides the very minimum cover to satisfy the requirements of the Act. Road Traffic Act Only Insurance has a limit of £1,000,000 for damage to third party property, while third party only insurance typically has a greater limit for third party property damage.