How to get the best car insurance
The right car insurance could save you hundreds of euro. Here are the different types and how to pay less for a policy that works for you.
Why do you need car insurance?
It’s illegal to drive in Ireland without car insurance. Before you get behind the wheel, you either need cover in your name, or to be a named driver on someone else’s policy.
Having the right insurance in place could pay to:
- Repair or replace (if written off) your car and the other cars directly involved in the accident
- Provide medical care or compensation to you and any third parties involved in the accident
Without it, you have no financial protection in an accident, which puts both you and other road users at a huge financial risk.
If you’re caught without car insurance, you could face:
- A fine up to €5,000
- Five points on your licence
- A prison term of up to six months
- A driving disqualification
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 you 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: that 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. Check which injuries you’re covered for and the protection they offer.
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You can get €100 off AA car cover when you buy a policy online. T&Cs apply.
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.
- 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, such as:
- 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: Gives you free legal assistance relating to a claim, up to a set value.
- Key cover: pays to replace your keys if they’re lost or stolen, and to repair or replace your locks.
- Courtesy car: 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 make sure your policy doesn’t already include them.
How to make it cheaper
- Get multiple quotes: to compare, using a broker or individual insurers’ quote tools.
- 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. It makes the policy cheaper overall as most insurers 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.
Up to 75% NCB discount
Up to 75% No Claims Discount plus up to 10% discount online with An Post Insurance.
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 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: if you’re a learner, young, or an older driver, or if you have more than one car to insure in your household. Finding an insurer that matches your situation can lower the cost and include useful features, for example black box for young drivers.
- 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
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.
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