Find out more about Republic of Ireland car insurance
- Car insurance is a legal requirement for driving on the road in the Republic of Ireland
- Shop around for multiple quotes every time you renew your car insurance
- Don't just go for the cheapest price – get the right policy at the right price, and make sure you have the level of cover you need
It's become very common for drivers in the UK to shop around for their car insurance using price comparison websites such as GoCompare. However, that market hasn't yet developed quite so widely in the Republic of Ireland.
This potentially leaves Irish drivers paying more than they need to for car insurance thanks to auto-renewal – when customers allow their insurer to automatically renew their policy year on year – which drives up the price of premiums.
So, how can you find a cheap car insurance policy if you're a resident of the Emerald Isle?
Can I compare car insurance in the Republic of Ireland?
Although you can't compare through us, shopping around for the best deals is still the way to go.
You may have found a cheap deal when you first bought your car cover, but you could find your loyalty isn't rewarded if you stick with the same insurer at the point of renewal.
This is because insurers typically push low premium deals exclusively at new customers, and yet drive up the prices for loyal customers. This relies on consumer apathy in order to keep business.
But, because new customers are often offered discounts and deals that don't apply to existing customers, it's worth shopping around when time comes to renew. That way, you could find yourself with discounted car insurance deals that you wouldn't otherwise enjoy.
"The car insurance market is fiercely competitive, and insurers often offer better deals to new customers than for those renewing existing policies," says GoCompare's car insurance expert, Matt Oliver.
"So, our advice is simple – even if your current insurer offered the best deal last year, you shouldn't automatically assume that they will when your policy comes up for renewal.
"Use your renewal reminder as a prompt to take action. Look at your renewal notice as soon as it arrives.
"Compare the price and cover against last year's documents, consider any changes you might need to make to the cover, and take a look at similar policies with other insurers to see if you can make any savings.
"If you decide to switch, don't forget to notify your current provider. Most policies automatically renew unless you tell the insurer otherwise within the 14-day cooling-off period.
"Miss the cut-off date and you could face hefty cancellation charges."
Can I get cheap car insurance in the Republic of Ireland?
In addition to the auto-renewal trap, and the lack of a fully developed price-comparison market, there are a variety of other factors that could prevent drivers from getting cheap car insurance in the Republic of Ireland.
Much of the motoring in the country is on rural roads and/or single carriageways, and these types of routes can lead to higher numbers of accidents and expensive claims than you might find on more urban roads.
There are plenty of other price-inflating factors that'll be familiar to drivers in the UK and elsewhere, including whiplash and other personal injury claims, vehicle crime, and fraud such as crash-for-cash scams.
- Check whether your policy covers you for Northern Ireland if you're planning to cross the border
Your job is another factor that insurers will take into account when calculating your premium. Each provider will have its own way of assessing a particular occupation.
Don't lie about your job, because that's insurance fraud and you could be banned from driving if you're found out.
Another option for careful drivers in the Republic of Ireland is a telematics policy, otherwise known as a black box policy. These use mobile phone apps or a device fitted in your car to analyse the way you actually drive, the data from which is then factored into how your premium is calculated.
Careful drivers could potentially benefit from a telematics policy, while someone who isn't may find their premiums going up. Before committing to this type of policy, bear in mind the myriad rural roads in Ireland, which might present a challenge to drivers both new and experienced.
Crossing from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland
If you're a resident in the Republic of Ireland, your insurer should cover you to whatever level of cover you've taken out with them within the borders of the Republic.
But, should you choose to go north, you may find yourself with less cover than you think.
The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland may not require a passport check, but it's worth checking your policy to see how far your insurer covers you for both countries.
The Republic of Ireland is part of the EU, so if you're a UK resident travelling into the Republic, UK insurance companies may well provide the minimum third-party cover in EU countries.
However, this isn't a very extensive level of cover, so it's worth checking to see if you need European cover to move between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
You may have to inform your insurer of your cross-border trip.
There are numerous vehicle-carrying ferries operating into and out of the Republic of Ireland and – if you plan to use one – it's again advisable to check your car insurance terms and conditions.
While you should expect some sort of cover, not all insurers will have the same conditions.
If, for example, you have a comprehensive policy, your insurance protection on a ferry may not be as extensive as it is on a Republic of Ireland road.
It's also worth checking your breakdown cover in advance. Should your motor conk out on the wrong side of the Irish Sea, not all breakdown providers will cover the cost of the ferry transportation back, even if your policy has nationwide recovery included on it.