The high cost of car insurance in Ireland is a perennial cause for complaint among nearly all motorists. Despite political promises and legal rulings, the cost of insurance hasn’t taken the kind of tumble that some suggested it would and it remains painfully expensive for many. Younger motorists are particularly badly affected by high premiums and the cost of insurance acts as a major deterrent against learning to drive and getting on the road, seriously disadvantaging those that live some distance from public transport connections.
In an attempt to save money on car insurance, some motorists may decide to opt for a cheaper form of cover. Before they do this though, it’s important to consider the three main types of car insurance in Ireland and what the implications can be when choosing one form of cover over another. Either way, insurance is a legal requirement for drivers in Ireland and the penalties for driving without it can be severe.
The three main types of car insurance in Ireland are:
Third party insurance is the minimum level of cover required for drivers in Ireland and in Europe more widely. In the event of an accident, third party insurance covers the associated costs of those not at fault in the accident. If a driver is at fault in a collision with another vehicle for instance, third party insurance will pay for the repair or medical costs of the other motorist and any potential passengers in both vehicles.
Third party insurance does not cover the repair or medical costs of the policy holder and nor does it compensate the policy holder in the event of their car being stolen or catching fire.
Third party, fire and theft
Third party, fire and theft insurance provides the same level of cover as third party insurance, but will also cover any associated costs if the policy holder’s car is stolen or goes on fire. If a car is stolen or destroyed, a third party, fire and theft policy will cover not just the agreed value of the car, but often the contents too, up to a certain value. Third party, fire and theft insurance is the minimum level of cover that some insurance companies offer and can provide a decent compromise between price and peace of mind should anything unfortunate happen. It will not, however, provide any reimbursement for damages sustained in an incident in which the policy holder is at fault.
Comprehensive insurance is the most expensive kind, but, in addition to the level of cover offered by third party, fire and theft, it also compensates the policy holder for damage suffered to their own car in the event of an accident even if they were at fault. It’s worth checking exactly what comprehensive insurance covers though as it may not cover the medical costs of any injuries sustained by the policy holder.
What are the penalties for driving without insurance in Ireland?
Driving without insurance in Ireland is a serious offence and penalties include a fine of up to €5,000 and five penalty points. If the case goes to court, the judge may in certain circumstances impose a prison sentence of up to six months or, in lieu of penalty points, a disqualification of two years or more for a first offence or four years or more in the event of a second offence committed within three years of the first.