Car insurance in Northern Ireland

Compare providers and find out what your options are for getting cheap car insurance in NI.

There was a time when car insurance in Northern Ireland was much more expensive to buy than in any other part of the UK. However, that’s no longer the case and in some instances, car insurance in NI can be cheaper than in other parts. Read our guide to find out how to save money on your car cover in and compare deals.

Is car insurance in Northern Ireland cheaper than the rest of the UK?

Generally, car insurance in Northern Ireland is sometimes cheaper than in other parts of the UK. Premiums have steadily increased across the whole of the UK; however, premiums in Northern Ireland have seen a much smaller rise. This has resulted in a bigger gap overall, leading to cheaper premiums in Northern Ireland.

However, where you live is not the only factor that insurers take into account. An insurer will consider a number of factors in order to calculate an insurance premium including the driver’s age and driving history, as well as the make and model of the car and its value, amongst others.

Why was car insurance in Northern Ireland previously more expensive?

It’s not completely clear why car insurance in Northern Ireland was once more expensive than other parts of the UK. When stepping in to bridge the price gap and make car insurance more comparable to the rest of the UK, the UK Government’s Office of Fair Trading highlighted the following reasons:

  • Policyholders in Northern Ireland were more likely to stay with the same insurer rather than shop around for a better deal.
  • Roads in Northern Ireland were not as safe as roads in other parts of the UK.
  • The cost of claims in Northern Ireland was higher.

How can I get cheaper insurance in Northern Ireland?

  • Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party car insurance (TP) or third party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get TP.
  • Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Add experienced drivers. If you’re a high-risk driver due to your age or driving history, adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which car insurance optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with certain providers by taking an advanced driving course such as those offered by the Pass Plus scheme.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small and safe car is likely to lower your premium.
  • Limit modifications. Any modification made to your car to make it look better or drive faster is likely to increase your premiums so think carefully before making any changes.
  • Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
  • Shop around. Don’t automatically renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Always shop around and compare car insurance providers to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best car insurance policy so check the cover details carefully.

Bottom line

Don’t assume you’ll pay more for your car insurance just because you live in Northern Ireland. Prices have increasingly come more in line with the rest of the UK. Just remember to shop around and compare deals rather than sticking with the same insurer.

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