Find Ireland’s best car insurance quotes
Whether you’re a young driver or an experienced motorist, here’s what you need to know about car insurance and how to pick the best cover for your car.
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 also the hassle of dealing with 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.
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 that offer different levels of protection. The more fully you’re covered, the more you’ll pay for your premium.
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 weigh up whether you really need them. It’s also worth checking you don’t already have add-ons included in your policy.
Here’s some of the add-ons you can get 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
Are extras worth it?
If you think a benefit will give you peace of mind and you’ll use it in the event something goes wrong, buying policy add-ons is worth it if you can afford it.
However, first check whether you’re covered elsewhere, for instance, if you have key cover or a courtesy car as part of your breakdown assistance.
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 may be an ideal choice and the cheapest way to insure your vehicles.
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 who can offer the best rates for a multi-vehicle household.
Insure your motorcycle
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Insure your commercial van
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Classic Car Insurance
Insure your classic car
If you’re passionate about your classic car finding the best car insurance is crucial. Find out how to get the right policy to protect your pride and joy.
Temporary or short term car insurance
This type of cover can last from one hour to several months. It’s useful for
- Borrowing a car from friends or family member
- Learner drivers practising before their test
- Collecting or delivering a vehicle
- Splitting driving duties on long journeys
- Driving a classic or show car to an event
- In an emergency
It’s handy if you need car insurance to borrow someone else’s car, drive one home after buying it, or for occasional use of a vehicle you keep off the road:
Although short term cover isn’t available in Ireland at the moment, temporary car policies are usually only offered as comprehensive cover.
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.
What affects the price of car cover?
There are many things that 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 if things go wrong and your premium will be cheaper. This is worth considering if your risk of accidents or damage is low.
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.
Will a dashcam cut insurance costs?
No, but installing a dashcam can provide helpful evidence of what happened in an accident and may benefit you in other ways, such as:
- Claims could get settled faster
- Less time and hassle on proving liability
- Proving an accident wasn’t your fault
- You could get back your excess payment
- You could retain your No Claims Discount
- Protection in the event of a ‘crash for cash’ claim
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.
Car hire excess is the amount you have to pay if you damage your hire car. Rather than pay the car hire excess, you can choose to buy it independently which is often cheaper.
Buying car insurance
You can save time and money by shopping around for quotes online.
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
Car insurance FAQs
Am I covered to drive someone else’s car?
It depends on the policy. Some comprehensive policies may offer it as a standard benefit and others may offer it as an optional extra.
You’ll normally have to be over 25 years and maybe restricted to Third Party Cover only. Check with your insurer if you think you will need this benefit.
Can you NCT a car without tax or insurance?
The National Car Test (NCT) is a basic test of your car’s roadworthiness. It’s compulsory and if you don’t have it, any car insurance is void.
However, you can put a car through the NCT inspection without tax or insurance.
Can you tax a car without insurance?
No, you must have a car insurance policy in place to tax your car and be prepared to show a current Certificate of Insurance.
Does the registered keeper have to insure the car?
Not necessarily. Every car insurance policy has an appointed main driver, but the main driver doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the legal owner or the registered keeper.
If you are the main driver but not the keeper or legal owner you must inform the insurance company when you are getting quotes because it may affect the price.
Does car insurance cover driving in Northern Ireland?
Yes, you can drive in Northern Ireland and the UK and benefit from the same level of cover as you do in Ireland.
What is Open Drive insurance?
This type of policy allows other people to drive your car, providing they have your permission and meet insurance company requirements
You’ll typically need to be over 25 and have 2 years of no claims to qualify for open driving. The other driver may need to fulfil similar or stricter criteria, for example, 5 years no claims.
An open drive policy does not permit you to drive someone else’s car.
What is the punishment for driving without insurance?
Driving without insurance in Ireland is illegal and you could incur:
- A fine of up to €5,000
- 5 penalty points
- Possible imprisonment up to 6 months.
Will being a disabled driver affect my car insurance?
No, insurance companies are not legally entitled to charge differently if a driver has a disability.
However, if you are a newly disabled driver, you must notify your insurance company of the new disability or ‘change in your health’. If your disability or health has worsened, you must also let your insurer know as soon as possible.