Car Insurance in Ireland
Introduction to Irish Motor
In the Republic of Ireland, third-party limited liability
insurance is obligatory. This coverage ensures that all damages
caused to the other party, will be covered, up to a certain
maximum amount (varies between insurance companies).
Insurance premiums are based on a number of criteria, with
the following being amongst the main criteria affecting drivers:
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- Age of driver
- Gender of driver
- Type of Driving Licence
- Type and standard of vehicle
- Location where vehicle is driven
- Usage of car
Due to a "claims culture" and other factors, insurance
premiums in Ireland remain amongst the highest in the EU.
There are over 200,000 claims every year in Ireland, and insurance
companies maintain high premiums, to cover these costs. However
the motor insurance company in Ireland is also massively profitable,
making profits 10 times greater than those made by insurers
in the UK, during the 90's.
Those particularly affected by the high insurance rates,
include young male drivers. Costs can run into thousands,
to become insured. It is a situation that is being tackled
by the IIF (irish insurance federation) in conjunction with
the driving instructors register of ireland.
They have created an educational programme which aims to
help young drivers to lower their premiums. Discounts on insurance
premiums are offered after a number of driving lessons have
been taken, under the incentive scheme.
Insurance quotes can vary widely between companies, so customers
are strongly encouraged to shop around to get the best price.
Online resources include www.123.ie and www.esure.com, which
will compare prices from different insurance companies.
An insurance broker (middle-man) can provide a cost-effective
quote, and you can also approach certain companies directly,
incluing FirstCall Direct, Quinn Direct and Premier Direct.
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Methods of lowering the Insurance
Irish insurance premiums are high (even prohibitively high),
so any methods to lower the costs are helpful.
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- Lowering the risk of theft: Install a car alarm, Park
the car in a secure area.
- If your driving insurance is open cover (for fully-licenced)
drivers over 25, it might be appropriate to restrict it
to named drivers.
- For married drivers, consider restricting the cover to
yourself and your spouse only.
- If your spouse has their own vehicle, consider restricting
cover to yourself only.
- If your not benefitting from the full no claims discount,
take the Driving Instructors Register programme at a Driving
- If your car is new, you mightn't need cover for a breakdown
service, because the majority of new cars are covered for
up to 12 months free of charge, upon purchase.
- If your car is often used for business, talk with your
insurer as occasional business use might be covered at no
The Points System
The penalty point system was introduced in October 2002, by
the Minister of Transport. It is a method of tracking and
barring repeat offenders, by apportioning a certain number
of points for different offences. Penalty points can be given
for speeding, not wearing ones seatbelt and a number of other
For example, for speeding there is an on the spot fine of
€80, and 2 penalty points. If the driver collects 12
penalty points within 3 years, the individual is barred from
driving for 6 months.
An extensive plan to install CCTV cameras has also being
developed, which means that drivers can be caught speeding
by cameras, have their vehicle identified, and receive penalty
points in the mail!
Drivers who take issue with their penalty points, could face
fines of up to 800 euro and a doubling of their points, if
they lose their appeal. In its first year of operation, nearly
100,000 drivers has received penalty points!
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Risks which make insurance essential
when driving in Ireland
The poor condition of the Irish road network, contributes
to the usual road risks,when driving in Ireland. There have
been improvements over the 1990s, but much of the network,
has not seen enough development.
The main developments have been on primary routes, connecting
Dublin, Cork and other major Irish towns and cities. The rest
of the network remains in a state of poor repair.
Poor road conditions include road-margins crumbling away,
sharp and winding roadways, poor signage and road-marking
and dangerously narrow roads.
As in many other northern European countries, drink-driving
remains a serious problem. Efforts to improve the situation
are ongoing, though fear-inducing television adverts are prooving
unhelpful and are highly insensitive to families and individuals
who have been involved in road accidents.
Progress will result from a more thoughtful school and media
campaign, that encourages people to question drinking "culture",
introduces them to other cultures where the problem is less
evident, and helps individuals to make a conscious choice
not to drink and drive. Community initiatives like organised
car-pooling, where the driver remains sober, are also helpful.
Another danger encountered on the roads, is the growing number
of irresponsible individuals that think of their cars as toys,
that can be driven at insane speeds and pushed to the limit
on public roadways - with no thought given to other vehicles,
pedestrians or cyclists. There are a number of factors that
dispose people to drive in a reckless and anti-social manner.
Many people don't understand the purpose of a car. They are
under the impression that it's some kind of plaything that
can be experimented with on public roads, with no regard to
safety or law. These individuals should book some time on
a racing track, where they can indulge their passions, and
pit their (usually woeful) driving skills against others in
the racing fraternity.
Another increasing problem, is the issue of combining recreational
drugs such as cannabis with driving. This issue is a growing
danger, fueled by a commonly accepted untruth, that cannabis
doesn't affect ones driving skills. The contrary has been
shown to be true, by a number of studies.
Cannabis affects a driver's ability to react to dangers,
similarly to having a low-percentage blood alcohol level.
The driver can also become focused on distractions such as
cars driving to the rear, while becoming oblivious to oncoming
Drivers should never drive with alcohol, cannabis or any
other psychotropic recreational substance in their blood-stream.back to top