How to get the best car insurance
You’ll need to start by choosing the right type of insurance for your needs.
Types of car insurance
There are three main types of car insurance. Each offers a different level of protection and this is usually reflected in the policy price.
- Third party: is the minimum requirement by law. If you cause an accident, only the third parties like your passengers, pedestrians and other drivers and their passengers, will be compensated. Any damage to your car won’t be covered.
- Third party, fire and theft: covers third parties and adds protection for damage to your vehicle caused by fire or theft. Other damage to your vehicle such as vandalism isn’t covered.
- Comprehensive: offers the most protection as it covers all parties involved in an accident as well as your car and belongings. Your vehicle is also covered against theft, and damage caused by vandalism.
Some comprehensive policies include additional features as standard such as:
- Windscreen cover: which covers the cost to replace the whole windscreen or repair a chip.
- Insuring you to drive another car: without the need for a separate insurance policy.
- Personal accident cover: which offers financial compensation if you suffer a serious injury while in your car.
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What affects the cost?
There are many factors that can affect the cost of cover. Here are some of the most common:
- Your age: If you’re under 25 for example, you’ll pay a lot more, here’s how to afford young driver car insurance.
- Your address: Living in a high crime area or having no parking at your property like a driveway or garage, increases the cost.
- Your occupation: If you have a job that’s considered high risk to insurers based on claim statistics then you’ll pay more. Lying about your job could invalidate your insurance, but do check that your job title is correct.
- Your annual mileage: If it’s above average (around 10,500 miles) you’ll probably pay more.
- Your driving experience: The more years you have the better, and if you’ve got a no claims bonus (NCB), you’ll save even more. If you’re just starting out as a learner driver, here’s what you need to sort out.
- The car you drive: Small cars with small engines are cheaper to insure than larger, more powerful cars. You’ll pay extra for any modifications to your car too.
- The excess you choose: This is the amount you volunteer to pay against a claim - so the higher the excess, the more you could save on cover. It can make claiming expensive though.
What about add ons?
You can pay extra for things that aren’t included in your policy, for example:
- Breakdown cover: which offers basic roadside assistance, or extras like onward travel to your chosen destination, and home start which covers you if you break down at home.
- Legal cover: which gives you free legal assistance relating to a claim, up to a set value.
- Key cover: which pays to replace your keys if they’re lost or stolen, and to repair or replace your locks.
- Courtesy car: which gives you use of another car for a set timeframe if your car is written off, or being repaired following an accident.
Only pay for the extras you need, and check you’re not already covered on a separate policy e.g. breakdown cover.
Who offers car insurance?
Here are some of the insurance providers and brokers that offer car insurance in Ireland:
How to get cheaper car insurance in Ireland
- Get multiple quotes to compare: by going direct to insurers or using a broker. Most insurers have quick quote tools that only take a few minutes to use.
- Add another driver with a clean licence to your policy: especially if you have points or driving convictions, as their good driving record can help bring the cost down.
- Pay in one go if you can: as it makes the policy cheaper overall. This is because you’re usually charge you interest on monthly payments.
- Buy online: as you can often get a discount on the same policy just by doing so.
- Consider a multi car policy: if you have two or more cars in your household. Using the same insurer can get you extra money off.
- Park your car in the garage: particularly overnight, as this lowers the risk of damage to your car or theft and could reduce your premium.
- Build up your no claims bonus: and protect it as soon as you can. Having five years no claims could save you up to 75% on your policy.
- Increase your excess: to bring the upfront cost of your policy down. Make sure it’s set at a level you can afford if you have to claim though.
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Make sure your personal details are kept up to date as they can affect the cost of your policy and leaving them incorrect could invalidate your insurance.
How to choose the right cover
Deciding which type of insurance you need and where to buy it from can be tricky. Here are a few things to help you choose:
- Consider the age and value of your car: If it’s new or expensive to replace, a comprehensive policy will protect it in a claim. Third party, fire and theft may be enough cover for an older, cheaper car.
- Estimate your mileage and when you’ll use the car most: The more miles you do, the higher the risk of an accident, so comprehensive cover may be the best option.
- Compare specialist insurers: Finding an insurer that matches your circumstances could lower the cost and include useful features. For example black box insurance for young drivers or multi-car insurance for multi-car households.
- Check what’s included and don’t pay twice: For example, breakdown cover may be included with a new car warranty and a comprehensive policy may include windscreen cover, legal cover and a courtesy car as standard.
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Car insurance FAQs
Are older cars more expensive to insure?
Older cars are usually more expensive than newer cars to insure but this is just one of a huge list of factors that can affect the price.
If you have an older car, it can be more difficult to repair if it’s involved in an accident. It may also be more likely to cause an accident because it lacks some of the modern safety features.
If you are looking at getting a newer car, check what insurance group it is before buying, these range from 1-50. The lower the group number, the cheaper it will be to insure.
Can I be insured on two cars?
Yes as long as you select the right type of insurance.
For example, you need to declare if you’re the main driver of the vehicle or just a named driver.
If you’re the main driver, you use the car the most and if you’re a named driver, you have occasional or shared use of a vehicle with someone else who is the main driver.
You can usually only build up your no claims discount as a main driver.
Can I insure two cars on the same policy?
Yes, with a multi-car policy. This is where you can have additional cars from your household on the same policy.
You get a discount for each extra car that’s added, and you can usually have up to five cars on the policy.
Always compare single car quotes against the cost of a multi-car policy as it may work out cheaper.
You should also shop around for the best multi-car discounts as these can vary.
Does my insurance cover me to drive someone else’s car?
If you have comprehensive cover, you may be insured to drive another car but check the policy details first.
Do I need car insurance to learn to drive?
It depends which car you’re driving. When you’re having lessons with an approved driving instructor, you’re covered on their insurance but if you’re practicing outside of these lessons, you’ll need insurance. Find out more about what you need to sort out as a learner driver.
How much is car insurance in Ireland?
There are several factors that affect the cost of insurance, so to get an accurate quote you’ll need to submit your personal details.
However, the average cost of car insurance in Ireland is around €900 a year. It will cost considerably more than this if you’re a new driver or have driving convictions.
Which cars are cheap to insure?
There are 50 car insurance groups, simply numbered from 1 to 50, that are decided by a number of factors, such as the value, performance, security and cost to repair the car.
Insurance group 1 cars are the cheapest to insure and they usually have small engines and plenty of safety features.
If you’re looking to change your car, check which insurance group it’s in before you buy, so you know roughly how much it’ll cost to insure.