Car insurance

How to pick the right type of car insurance

Once you’ve found your ideal car, the next step is to get the right insurance. Here’s a guide to car insurance options in Ireland and how to get cover best suited to your needs.

What types of car insurance are there?

There are three main types of car insurance in Ireland. The type of cover you choose will depend on the level of cover you need and how much you can afford to pay.

  • Third party
  • Third party, fire & theft
  • Comprehensive
  • Other types of car cover

Third Party

Third party cover is the minimum legal level of car insurance you can get in Ireland. By law, you must have at least third party insurance to drive your car on the road.

It covers:

  • Damage to someones elses car or property
  • Injury caused to another person
  • Injury caused to your passengers
  • Keep your phone & number
  • Any damage to your car or property
  • Your own injuries
  • Car theft
  • Keep your phone & number

Third Party, Fire and Theft

This cover has all the benefits of third party insurance and adds cover for fire damage and theft. This means if your car is stolen or damaged by fire in an accident you can claim for damages.

It covers:

  • Theft & theft damage
  • Fire damage
  • Damage to someones elses car or property
  • Injury caused to another person
  • Injury caused to your passengers
  • Damage to your car not caused by fire or theft
  • Your own injuries


Comprehensive car insurance offers the most complete financial protection for you and your vehicle.

This type of insurance is often the most expensive because it covers you and your car most extensively.

As well as covering third parties, fire damage and theft, unlike other types of car insurance, you’re also covered for damage to your car in the event of an accident or vandalism - regardless of whose fault it was.

Its covers:

  • Theft & theft damage
  • Fire damage
  • Damage to someone else’s car or property
  • Injury caused to another person
  • Injury caused to your passengers
  • Damage to your car caused by vandalism
  • Accidental damage to your car (even if it’s your fault)

You might not be covered for any personal injuries costs; only costs related to damage to the vehicle.

Some comprehensive policies also cover personal injury as standard, but this isn’t always the case, so always check the policy schedule and add it as an extra benefit if required.

Optional extra benefits

Some extra benefits come as standard with a comprehensive policy, but others you’ll have to pay more for, so it’s worth comparing details before choosing a policy.

The sort of extra benefits on offer are:

  • Replacement car
  • Replacement locks or key rescue
  • Breakdown rescue cover
  • Windscreen cover
  • European travel
  • Excess free claims
  • Legal expenses cover
  • Protected no claims discount

Get a car insurance quote

How much do types of car insurance cost in Ireland?

The average cost of car insurance in Ireland in 2022 is €578, with comprehensive cover the most expensive and third party insurance the cheapest.

Type of insurance Average cost  
Third Party €644  
Comprehensive €852  

Source: NCID Private Motor Insurance Report Central Bank of Ireland

Besides the type of insurance, the price of your cover will depend on several other factors. Here’s several examples, but check out our car insurance comparison for a full list of factors.

  • Make and model of car
  • Age of driver
  • Claims history

Costs and benefits vary between insurers so always shop around to get quotes from different insurers before you buy.

Other types of car insurance

Besides the three major types of car insurance, there are other types of cover to fit specific circumstances.

Young drivers insurance

If you’re under 25, car insurance is more expensive, but there are ways to make it more affordable. For instance, by getting black box insurance. Visit our Young Drivers page to find out more about cheaper car insurance for new or young drivers.

Black box insurance

Black box car insurance is cover that uses a telematics device to monitor your driving habits and set your premiums based on how safely you drive.

Telematics devices operate with GPS technology and capture:

  • max/average speed travelled
  • acceleration
  • braking
  • cornering
  • elevation
  • distance travelled
  • number of journeys
  • journey time
  • road type
  • G-force (impact detection)

When you take out a black box car insurance policy, your insurer will arrange for the installation of the black box device in your car.

Classic car insurance

You may qualify for classic car insurance if you have a vintage car or it’s over 25 years old.

Classic car insurance is usually cheaper than standard car insurance due to the lower likelihood of an accident or damage occurring.

Insurers will have different definitions or rules for eligibility, so it’s worth gathering quotes from several insurers to find the best insurance for your classic car.

Multicar insurance

If you have more than one car registered at your address, you could save money by insuring all vehicles with the same insurer.

This is known as multi-car insurance and could earn you a discount of up to 10% on the second car.

What’s the best type car of insurance?

There isn’t a best type of cover, but the right type of car insurance depends on your circumstances, such as:

  • your driving habits
  • how much you can afford
  • how much your car is worth

For example:

If you have just bought a brand new car and commute a long distance to work or drive as part of your job, then a fully comprehensive policy could be the best choice.

However, if you drive a used car that’s not worth much or you only drive your car occasionally, third party insurance might provide adequate cover.

On balance, if you can afford comprehensive cover and want peace of mind, then it’s worth spending more for the best insurance and any extra benefits you need.

What to consider when choosing car insurance

Buying car insurance is a case of weighing up the pros and cons of each type and deciding how much you can afford.

If you’re still not sure which insurance to buy, consider these questions:

  • How much is your car worth? If your car does not have much value it may not be worth paying for a high level of cover.
  • How often do you drive your car? If you only drive occasionally, the likelihood of an accident or damage is lower.
  • Do you use your car for work or to commute? If you drive often or your vehicle is vital for work, then a fully comprehensive policy will give you peace of mind.
  • What are the chances of vandalism or theft? If you live in a high crime area, then a greater level of cover may pay off in the long run.
  • Where do you keep your car? If you have a garage or off-street parking, then your car is less likely to suffer damage or vandalism.
  • How have you financed your car? If you bought your car with a finance option, you may be required to get fully comprehensive cover until the loan has been paid in full.
  • Do you need or want any particular benefits? If there’s a specific benefit you need but can’t afford expensive cover you could opt for Third Party and just pay for the optional extra.
  • What is your claims history? If you have not made a claim for several years, then you may be entitled to discounts, which will save you money and make a greater level of cover more affordable.

Car insurance types FAQs

Can I drive another car with comprehensive insurance?

It depends on the insurer. Some insurance policies include this benefit as a standard feature, but other’s will require you to add it as an optional extra.

What is an excess free claim?

A policy excess is the part of a claim that is paid by you, not the insurance company. For example, if you have a policy excess of €200 and claim for car damage which costs €1,000, the insurance company will only pay €800 towards the claim.

An excess-free claim is when you don’t have to pay anything towards the claim yourself.

What is a no claims discount?

It’s a discount based on the number of years you’ve held a policy without making a claim. The reduction in your premium is based on the number of years you go without making a claim on your policy. For example:

No.of years with no claims % discount  
2 years 5%  
5 years 10%  
10 years 15%  

What is No Claims Discount Protection?

No Claims Discount Protection is a type of benefit you can opt into if you have a good claims history, for example, at least 5 years of no claims discount.

No claims discount protection means if you make one claim in the insurance year your no claims bonus will not be affected.

Where can I get short term car insurance?

Short term insurance is defined as between one and 28 days.

Currently, there are no brokers or insurance companies offering short-term insurance to drivers in Ireland.