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How to compare cheap car insurance in Ireland

Looking for a cheaper policy? We've got your back.

Whether you’re looking to change insurers or find cover for your brand new set of wheels, you could shave money off your car insurance policy.

We get it! Comparing car insurance quotes is time consuming and a pretty tedious thing to do. We know you’d rather be doing something fun. That’s why we’re here to help you find the right type of policy for you.

What is car insurance?

In Ireland, (and throughout the rest of the European Union) you can’t legally drive without having at least third party car insurance. This pays out if you damage someone else’s car or injure someone in an accident that was your fault. There are two higher levels of cover: third party, fire and theft and comprehensive.

Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive can be the cheapest of the three. That’s because drivers who get third party tend to be more risky, which pushes up the premium. We’ve set out in detail what you get and don’t get with each type of cover below.

What are the different levels of cover?

This is the most complete form of insurance you can get. Benefits vary by insurer, but comprehensive car insurance typically covers most types of loss or damage.

What is covered?

  • Injuries to others, both in your car and other vehicles
  • Damage to property or other vehicles
  • The cost of legal claims against you
  • Replacing your car if it’s stolen
  • Damage to your car as a result of fire or attempted theft
  • Other damage to your car
  • Cover if you get injured

What isn’t covered?

  • Any optional extras such as breakdown cover, replacement key cover or no claims discount protection

Comprehensive car insurance.

In addition to providing the benefits of third-party cover, this protects your car against fire and theft. It’s a popular choice for those who find that comprehensive comes in too expensive.

What is covered?

  • Injuries to others, both in your car and other vehicles
  • Damage to property or other vehicles
  • The cost of legal claims against you
  • Replacing your car if it’s stolen
  • Damage to your car as a result of fire or attempted theft

What isn’t covered?

  • Other damage to your car
  • Cover if you get injured
  • A payout if your car is written off

Third party, fire and theft car insurance.

This is the minimum level of cover that all drivers in Ireland and throughout the European Union are required to have by law. It isn’t always the cheapest and doesn’t protect your own car against any type of damage.

What is covered?

  • Injuries to others in your car and in other vehicles
  • Damage to property or other vehicles
  • The cost of legal claims against you

What isn’t covered?

  • Damage to your car
  • Cover if you get injured
  • Theft of your car
  • Protection if your car is damaged or destroyed by fire

Third party car insurance.

Car insurance jargon explained

Certificate of motor insurance. A document you get from your insurer that provides legal evidence that you’re insured.
Duty of disclosure. You have to answer the insurer’s questions truthfully, otherwise it can refuse to pay out if you claim. If there’s a change in the details you gave the insurer – you move home or change jobs, for example – you have to inform it about any changes.
Insurance policy document. Your insurer will send you this. It contains the nitty gritty of what your policy will and won’t cover.
No claim bonus. Also known as a no claim discount. For every year you drive without making a claim, an insurer will typically give you a discount on the following year’s premium.

How do I compare car insurance?

  1. Shop around every year. Many customers have been hit with a “loyalty penalty” for just letting their policy renew with the same provider. Switching is likely to get you big savings. And always check your existing policy has the right level of cover before you start comparing.
  2. Use autofill to save time. You can turn this on with most web browsers. It will help pull in all details relating to your previous car insurance searches.
  3. Get your details right. The cost of cover is influenced by your age, location, occupation and marital status, among other factors. Changing one minor detail when completing your application form can have a big impact on the quotes you receive. Make sure all your personal details and information are correct to ensure you’re getting accurate quotes. If your job can legitimately be described in different ways, it’s worth checking all variations.
  4. Compare the benefits as well as the price. Policies have subtle differences so when you get your quotes through, it’s worth looking at the details. You can get cheap car insurance that has good benefits.

Even if you don’t think you need fully comprehensive cover, it’s always worth getting a quote for it as comprehensive can work out cheaper.”

Danny Butler, Finder insurance expert

Which level of car insurance do I need?

The first question to consider is whether you want third party, third party, fire and theft, or comprehensive – and that will partly be influenced by how cheap your quotes are.

There are many factors that insurers will take into account when calculating your insurance premium. Your age, experience and location, in addition to other factors could all affect your premium either positively or negatively.

Drivers who are very young, very old or inexperienced are likely to see high premiums because of the risk profile of people in those groups. Meanwhile, older and more experienced drivers might see reduced premiums because their risk profile is deemed lower.

What other types of cover can I get?

Besides annual car insurance, here are some of the other types of car cover available:

  • Business car insurance. You use your car for work purposes, for example, to carry equipment and tools between the office and site locations.
  • Temporary car insurance. You might only be using your car once a month, or for only a few short journeys.
  • Pay-as-you-go car insurance. Pay for cover only when you use your car.
  • Black box car insurance. You’re a good driver but in a risky age bracket, such as the under-25s.
  • Multi-car insurance. You have more than one car in your household.
  • Learner drivers car insurance. You’re learning to drive.
  • Convicted drivers car insurance. You’ve previously received a conviction relating to your driving.

Which optional extras can I get with my car insurance?

  • Breakdown cover. If you break down, the provider will send someone out to you to try to fix your car or tow it to a garage.
  • Courtesy car/hire car cover. If your car is being repaired or has been written off after a claim, this cover provides a hire car vehicle until you have your own again. Some policies include it whiles others don’t.
  • Legal expenses cover. This covers the legal costs of taking someone to court to reclaim costs arising from an accident that insurance hasn’t covered.
  • Cover for driving abroad. Most policies give third party cover for driving in the European Union. But check your policy details carefully if you are planning a trip. You may also be able to increase your level of cover while driving outside of Ireland, but you are likely going to have to pay for it.
  • Windscreen cover. Replacing a windscreen can be a headache and an expense, so it’s worth considering this as an extra with your policy. Although it is included in many comprehensive policies, you might still have to pay the excess if you claimed, unless you had this extra cover.
  • Personal accident cover. This pays out for medical treatment and lost income if you or your partner is seriously injured in an accident.
  • Replacement key cover. If your keys are lost or stolen, this covers the cost of replacement.
  • Protected no claim bonus. If you claim, your no claim bonus would stay intact. You typically need a few years of not claiming to qualify for this.

How do I get cheaper car insurance?

We’ve listed some of the ways you can cut your car insurance premiums:

  • Take advantage of discounts. Look around to see if you can get a loyalty discount or a deal for new customers. Some insurance providers will also supply a discount for taking out your policy online.
  • Understand how your vehicle make and model affects your premium. If you haven’t purchased a car yet, compare insurance prices for a variety of car models. You might be surprised by how much the car you drive can affect your car insurance premium.
  • Bundle your policies together. If you already have home insurance, consider sticking with the same provider for your motor insurance. When you group multiple policies, you can benefit from a multi-policy discount which can take a significant chunk out of your car insurance premium.
  • Keep a clean driving record. Obviously no one goes out of their way to receive a fine. However, your driving record and the history of the claims you make are used to determine how much of a risk you pose to the insurance company. The higher the level of risk, the more you have to pay. Conversely, if you have a good driving record and haven’t lodged many claims or none at all, there’s a good chance you’ll receive a better deal on your premium.
  • Increase security. If your car doesn’t have an alarm, consider adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Park in a secure place. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Cut the mileage. If you’re working from home more often or you’ve started using a bicycle more, tell your insurer about your reduced mileage.
  • Pay a higher excess. The excess is an amount you pay when you want to make a claim. Increasing your voluntary excess can reduce your premium. You just need to be sure you can pay the increased amount if you have to claim.
  • Pay annually, if you can. There can be a big difference in your premium if you opt to pay for the whole year upfront instead of paying by monthly instalments.
  • Restrict certain drivers. Most policies give you a cheaper premium if you restrict specific drivers from taking your wheels for a spin. Consider restricting drivers like under 25s, seniors or learner drivers.
  • Compare, compare, compare. It pays to do your research. Get multiple quotes from different insurers to compare prices. Don’t be fooled by policies that are ridiculously cheap, as this can sometimes compromise your cover. Don’t be afraid to switch providers to get the best deal.

When should I consider switching to a new car insurer?

There are many reasons why you might want to leave your current insurer. Your circumstances might have changed; you might be paying a bucket load, or maybe you’re just fed up with its poor customer service. We get it! If you’re unhappy, there’s no reason why you can’t switch to another company.

There are a few times where you should actively consider changing policy. If your circumstances have changed, chances are, your premiums may alter too. Consider finding a new insurer when:

  • Your policy is due for renewal
  • You change cars
  • You move into another home
  • The number of drivers using your car changes
  • You’ve just celebrated a birthday, (especially your 25th birthday)
  • Your driving record has changed

Things that could invalidate your insurance policy

These are some of the ways you can invalidate your cover:

  • You knowingly deceive your insurer.
  • You change the use of your car from its original use. For example, changing from social, domestic and pleasure to business use.
  • Your car is being driven by an unnamed driver on your policy or by a person that does not have a valid driving licence.
  • You use your car at rallies, races or competitions.
  • You are paid to carry passengers.
  • You fail to pay for your premium.
  • You change your car during the policy term to a car that the insurer cannot cover.
  • You do not provide the correct documents to support your application.

Check your policy for further details to confirm your cover is valid.

Still not sure? Your questions about car insurance answered

Finding the right cover

Policy information

Purchasing, renewing or cancelling your policy

What you will/won’t be covered for

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