Car insurance in Ireland
Whether you’re a young driver or an experienced motorist, here’s what you need to know about car insurance with tips on picking cover for your car.
What’s in this guide?
How car insurance works in Ireland
What is car insurance?
It’s compulsory insurance all motorists need to drive on Ireland’s roads.
Car insurance provides financial protection if you’re involved in an accident that results in damage. Some types of car insurance also covers you for fire, theft and personal injury.
Car damage is often expensive and proving responsibility for costs can be time consuming, so cover not only saves you money on repairs but helps with sorting out liability when accidents happen.
The price of your cover is based on a range of factors and premiums are paid monthly or annually.
Is it a legal requirement?
Yes, you’re legally obliged to have motor insurance under the Road Traffic Act, 1961. As a minimum, you need to have third party cover. Everyone who drives a motor vehicle on Irish roads needs to buy it.
Driving without insurance is a criminal offence. You could get 5 penalty points with a fine of €5,000. It could also lead to disqualification or a prison sentence.
Do you need cover when learning to drive?
Yes you do, but if you choose to learn to drive in a certified instructor’s car then you’ll normally be covered by their car insurance policy.
However, if you own a car and want driving practice or want to build up your no-claims bonus before you’ve passed your test, you’ll need to take out learner driver car insurance.
What if you’re driving someone else’s car?
You’ll need to be a “named driver” on a policy if you’re driving another person’s car.
If you’re driving your partner’s car you’ll need to make sure you are covered on their policy and if you’re learning in a parent’s car, they will need to add you to their policy before you can drive on the road.
Types of car insurance in Ireland
There are three main types of car insurance which offer different levels of protection.
The minimum level of cover, it compensates third parties if you cause an accident. Damage to your car won’t be covered.
3rd Party, Fire & Theft
Covers third parties plus protection for damage to your vehicle caused by fire or theft. Damage by vandalism isn’t covered.
Covers all parties involved in accidents, including your car and belongings. Plus theft & damage caused by vandalism.
What about extra benefits?
You can pay extra for things that aren’t included in your policy but it’s worth checking you don’t already have add-ons included in your policy.
Here’s some of the add-ons usually available in Ireland:
- Breakdown rescue
- Legal expenses
- Replacement locks
- Key rescue
- Courtesy car
- Windscreen cover
- Personal injury
- European travel
- Protected no claims discount
- Excess free claims
Insuring more than one vehicle
Many households now own more than one car. Alternatively, you may have a family car but ride a motorbike for leisure and a van for work. If this is the case, then multi-car insurance is worth consideration.
Multi-car insurance allows you to insure more than one vehicle registered at the same address on a single policy. You can usually choose to insure each car with its own level of cover.
It’s worth shopping around and finding an insurer or broker who can offer the best rates for a multi-vehicle household.
Insure your motorcycle
Motorbike insurance ensures financial cover if things go wrong but it can be pricey. Find out how to get cheap quotes & stay safe on the road.
Insure your commercial van
Rely on your van for work? The right cover can protect your finances & get you back on the road fast. Learn how to get the best van quotes.
Classic Car Insurance
Insure your classic car
If you’re passionate about your classic car finding the best car insurance is crucial. Learn how to find a policy to protect your pride and joy.
Find out more about types of car insurance and which level of cover is right for you.
How much car insurance costs
The average cost of car insurance in Ireland
With comprehensive cover the most expensive and 3rd party the cheapest. The cost of car insurance has been falling since its peak in 2017.
Source: NCID Private Motor Insurance Report 4, Q4 2021
What affects the price of car insurance cover?
Several things affect the cost of cover and every insurer will have its own pricing formula and rules.
Here’s the main factors
How to get cheaper car insurance
Look for discounts
Buy online, pick multi-car insurance or get a black box fitted to get a discount. Build your no claims bonus and reduce your premium with a no claims discount.
Downsize your car
Small, safe, newer cars in a low insurance group are the cheapest to insure. Powerful, high-performance cars with big engines are the most expensive.
Reduce your risk profile
You can’t change your age or location, but you can prove you’re a safe driver by taking an advanced driving course or having a black box installed.
Increase your excess
Opt to pay a higher excess and your monthly premium will be cheaper, but be ready to pay more towards your claim if you have an accident.
What is a no claims bonus?
It’s a discount on your car insurance that’s earned by remaining claim-free.
The level of discount depends on the number of consecutive years you go without making a claim on your insurance. The more years without claiming, the bigger your discount will be, although this may cap between 5 and ten years.
If you do make a claim, you may lose some or all of your no claims bonus, unless you’ve paid to protect it.
What is black box insurance?
It’s cover which uses telematics to monitor driving. Premiums are based on how safely you drive.
Telematics uses GPS technology to capture:
- Journey data like travel time and distance plus the number of trips
- Driving data like speed travelled, acceleration, braking, cornering and impact detection
- Road data like elevation and road type
When you get black box car insurance, your insurer will arrange for the installation of a black box device.
What is a policy excess?
It’s the part of a claim that is paid by you, not the insurance company.
Car insurers usually require you to pay a compulsory excess which is the amount set by the insurer. You can also offer to pay a voluntary excess, which means you’ll pay more towards your claim in the event of an accident but pay a reduced premium.
Buying car insurance
You can save time and money by shopping around for quotes online.
There are often discounts online and you’ll be able to find a quote for most vehicles including classic cars, vans and motorbikes.
All major insurance providers in Ireland provide their own quotes and brokers will offer competitive quotes from a panel of insurers.
You’ll just need to provide a few details about yourself and the vehicle you drive, such as:
- Your name, age and address
- The make, model & year of your car
- How you use your car and your annual mileage
- Your claims and driving experience