Northern Ireland car insurance
Compare cheap car insurance quotes for vehicles in Northern Ireland and see if you can save
- Car insurance in NI can be expensive so compare multiple brands to see options
- Get star ratings from independent researcher Defaqto to help you choose
- Read our guide for money-saving tips and more on cover in NI
- Car insurance has traditionally been more expensive in NI than the rest of the UK
- Shopping around and trying our other money-saving tips can help keep the cost down
- It can also help stimulate competition in the market
In theory, arranging car insurance in Northern Ireland should be no different to sorting out cover if you live in any other part of the UK.
The reality, though, is that vehicle policies in the Six Counties have traditionally cost more than equivalent insurance in England, Scotland and Wales.
While this is undoubtedly infuriating to drivers in Northern Ireland, there are a number of simple options to take to try to counter high premiums.
Our first tip will come as no surprise; shop around for cover, reviewing multiple quotes in one quick search through a comparison site such as Gocompare.com.
Automatically renewing with your current provider is one of the most common and costly mistakes made by motorists seeking cover.
By shopping around you can immediately get a much broader picture of the market and an idea of the sort of price you should expect to pay. Beyond that, try our other tips for cutting the cost of car insurance; these apply as much to Northern Ireland as to the rest of the UK and should help you find cost-effective cover.
Why is car insurance more expensive in Northern Ireland?
A number of theories have been put forward for the historically high price of premiums in Northern Ireland, including this 2010 scoping paper from the Northern Ireland Assembly and ongoing investigations from the Consumer Council. †
One of the simplest explanations is also one of the most convincing; there are less insurers in the market for business in Northern Ireland, meaning that there’s less competition.
The Six Counties also have a relatively young population – a factor in cost because statistics show that young drivers are the highest risk motorists when it comes to insurance and, consequently, the group that faces the highest premiums.
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Much of the motoring in Northern Ireland is on rural roads and/or single carriageways, and these types of roads can lead to high incidences of accidents and claims.
It has also been suggested that the Northern Ireland legal system can be more generous than other parts of the UK when it comes to compensation payments, something which could again lead to higher costs for insurers.
Beyond those region-specific explanations, Northern Ireland is subject to the same factors that can drive motor insurance prices up elsewhere in the UK, including whiplash and other personal injury claims, plus vehicle crime and fraud such as crash-for-cash scams.
While there’s no easy answer to the anomalous nature of the Northern Ireland car insurance market, drivers should remember to shop around for their cover, keeping competition alive and challenging insurers’ ability to make easy profits.
Crossing from NI to the Republic of Ireland
The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic may barely register when you cross it and there’s no passport check to go through.
But you should check your policy to see whether your insurer covers you for both countries – it’s possible that they may treat the Republic like any other EU country, which would mean that you’d need to have European car insurance and that you may have to inform your insurer of your cross-border trip.
Insurance on car ferries
There are numerous vehicle-carrying ferries operating into and out of Northern 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 UK 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.
Travellers to Europe should note that such exclusions regarding ferries on car and breakdown policies may also apply to the Channel Tunnel.
The 6 secrets of cheap car insurance quotes
How to use car insurance firms’ own tricks against them to lower your car insurance premium and get a cheaper quote
- 17:56, 18 JUN 2018
It’s never more important than to get the best premiums possible, especially with car insurance price hikes appearing over the past 18 months.
So important that to be sure you’re getting the best quote, we put together five questions you must absolutely ask to make some serious savings.
Still, sometimes car insurance premiums make sense.
If people live near where there’s a lot of car crime or own expensive cars, well they pay more. It makes sense.
There are lengths people don’t know that insurers have gone on just to get that accurate premium, such as working out that surgeons normally have more accidents than other professions or that Virgoes were the worst for accidents last year compared to Pisces who had more convictions.
That means they will up your premium based on age, sex, job, post code and where you park as well as what you drive.
So here we’ll go further than just what questions to ask – six ways to get cheaper car insurance that they’d probably prefer you didn’t know.
1. Use the right job title
If you describe yourself as a “chef” when filling in your car insurance application your average quote is higher than if you write “kitchen staff” comparison site GoCompare.com found – and it’s not just cooks that have this problem.
This recurs basically if your job fits more than one category – for example, “Music teachers” pay more than “teachers”, “office managers” pay more than “office administrators”, and “construction workers” pay more than “builders” who – in turn – pay more than “bricklayers”.
On the flipside, describing yourself as a parent, housewife, house-husband or retired instead of being unemployed will reduce your premium.
While it’s worth experimenting to see what different job titles affect your premium, make sure to not lie about your job i.e. don’t say you’re a butcher if you’re a baker. That is illegal and could get you prosecuted for fraud.
2. Add another more experienced driver to the policy
It’s a crime to say someone who isn’t the main driver of a car is but it’s perfectly legal to add in a secondary driver to your cover and can easily save you money.
First get permission then add a more experienced driver with a clean driving license and decent no-claims history to your insurance.
3. Never leave it till the last minute
It appears that most insurers “exploit the panic” of drivers who buy at the last minute, usually when their existing cover is close to expiration.
By contrast, the best time to buy cover would be three weeks before existing policies expire, as insurers were more likely to compete on price, given that drivers would have found more time to shop around.
4. Get some cash back
Comparison sites make money by getting a referral fee from insurers when they convince consumers top switch products with them.
If you look around though, you can get some of that money yourself.
Some comparison sites offer as much as 30% cash back.
Once you’ve finished comparing sites and found the cheapest deal, head over and see if you can get an even better deal by switching through a cashback site.
5. Pay up front
Be sure to pay up front as many insurers charge interest on your payments if you spread out the cost over the year?
Better to take that big pill first rather than try to spread even as it’ll actually cost you more in the long run.
6. Cut your extras and boost your excess
The thing with extras is that every single one adds to the premium.
Things such as breakdown cover, windscreen cover, theft from the car, driving abroad, personal accident cover, courtesy car and more.
Even then, a lot of the above could already be covered by other things such as travel insurance, AA membership, home insurance or even your bank account.
Make sure to check that you’re not double paying for anything and just check if you really need those extras. Also, check on how much excess is on your policy.
This is how much you have to pay yourself to make a claim.
The lower the excess, the higher the car insurance so work out what you can afford to pay in case of an accident and set your excess to that – even the difference of say €50 can be worth it.
Insurance in Northern Ireland
While there are no real differences in the mechanics of insurance in Northern Ireland compared to in England, Wales and Scotland, there can be differences in cost.
Figures from the Office for Fair Trading found recently that insurance quotes in Northern Ireland tended to be on average 11% more expensive than those in the rest of the United Kingdom. Other figures estimate that since these statistics were released, insurance prices in Northern Ireland have increased by up to 73%, leading to an investigation from the nation’s Consumer Council.
While you can still expect to pay, on average, a little more than customers in England for your insurance as a Northern Irish driver, that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank – we’ll show you how to get the best quotes available.
Why is insurance more expensive in Northern Ireland?
There are a variety of factors at play that influence the inflated price of insurance in Northern Ireland. A paper released by the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Service in 2011 sought to explain the discrepancies between prices in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Lack of Choice
Apart from anything else, the insurance market in Northern Ireland is quite significantly smaller than it is in England, Wales or Scotland. This means a lot less competition and so a lot less pressure to bring prices down.
Another big issue is that the high prices have not necessarily turned people off driving, rather it has simply led to a worrying increase in the number of uninsured drivers on the road. When an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, the claims pay-out then comes out of a central pot that all insurers pay into. Fewer insured drivers on the road means that there is less money to go into this central pot which, in turn, causes insurers to raise their premiums to negate the shortfall and the vicious cycle continues.
The issue of uninsured drivers making life more difficult and expensive for everyone else does come into play in the rest of the UK but it is when it is combined with other issues like the lack of choice of providers in Northern Ireland that the problem is exacerbated.
Northern Ireland’s legal system differs slightly from the rest of the UK. The most important difference for our purposes is that as a general rule, insurance pay-outs tend to be, on the whole, rather higher in Northern Ireland.
This leads insurers to increase the cost of their cover, so that they are not out of pocket when it comes to paying out for compensation.
The 2011 paper claimed that Northern Ireland’s relatively young population also has something to do with the inflated costs of insurance in the Six Countries. Younger drivers are statistically far more likely to be involved in accidents than older, more experienced drivers, and so cost more to insure. Having a generally young population then, will no doubt hike up the average cost of an insurance policy.
There are other things like the higher average mileage per driver in Northern Ireland and the high concentration of traffic on rural roads, all of which add up to increase the average price of insuring a car over there.
How can I get cheaper insurance in Northern Ireland?
Despite the higher average costs for insurance in Northern Ireland, there are always steps that you can take to keep your premiums down and avoid paying over the odds.
The first step comes into play when actually choosing your car – if you pick a car with a smaller engine, or an electric or hybrid car, you’ll find that you’ll be paying less than someone driving a sports car or a 4X4.
Security is important too, if you keep your car in a garage, and tell the insurers this, you’ll get discounted premiums offered to you.
Building up a no claims discount is one of the best ways to save, but this does take time. If you drive sensibly and responsibly and don’t make any claims then, as the years go by, you’ll find the cost of your insurance goes steadily down.
In order to make sure you get the best quotes you can, given all of the above, you need to be shopping around online. The best way to do this is to head over to our insurance comparison service for customers in Northern Ireland, let us know what kind of cover you’re after, and we’ll pull up a list of the best value policies on the market.
List of car insurance companies in Ireland
List of car insurance companies in Ireland – Top 10 best cheap car insurance companies in Dublin, Cork, Limerick in Ireland for quick, cheap quotes online.
List of top 10 best car insurance companies in Ireland
Aviva Insurance Limited, trading as Aviva, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority in the UK and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules.
Around the world, Aviva provides around 43 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products. They are Ireland’s leading composite insurer for life, pensions, general and health insurance products.
They combine strong life insurance, general & health insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. They are committed to serving their customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business and which makes a positive contribution to society.
Liberty Insurance is part of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, which was founded in Boston over 100 years ago with a simple philosophy: doing the right thing by its customers.
With Liberty, when it comes to motor, home and commercial insurance, you have someone in your corner every step of the way.
With offices in Cavan, Blanchardstown and Enniskillen, they employ over 1,000 people in Ireland. Their Irish customers can feel secure in the knowledge that they provide high quality products at great value with an unrivalled local service, offering peace of mind so they can fully enjoy the experiences of family-time, driving their car or securing their home.
They are also the first ever partner of both GAA Hurling and Camogie.
Liberty Mutual Insurance currently employs over 50,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.
Axa Insurance Ireland
They are one of Irelands largest and oldest Insurance Companies but their approach is right up to date. They specialise in car insurance, home insurance and small business insurance.
AXA are one of the top three insurance groups in the world. Headquartered in Paris, they employ 175,000 staff all around the world and offer financial protection to more than 67 million people.
Their global customers range from ordinary men and women to well known international brands such as Adidas, Michelin, Nissan and General Electric. Their products range from straightforward home insurance and car insurance packages to complex arrangements for events as diverse as global sports events and space travel.
Zurich is one of Ireland’s leading insurance companies. They offer a wide range of products, from Private Motor and Home Insurance to Engineering, Commercial Property and Professional Indemnity Insurance.
They are one of the largest insurers in Ireland, employing over 400 people.
They are part of the Zurich Insurance Group, an insurance-based financial services provider. Their headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland. Founded in 1872, they now have a global network of subsidiaries and offices in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and other markets.
Their 60,000 employees serve customers in more than 170 countries. Zurich Insurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Operating in the Republic and Northern Ireland for many years, Allianz is one of Ireland’s largest multi-line general insurance companies.
Allianz Group in Ireland employs over 1,450 people and is trusted by close to a million customers as their business or personal insurer. Allianz is also part of the Allianz SE Group – one of the world’s leading integrated financial services providers, which employs over 148,000 people in more than 70 countries serving the needs of 83 million customers worldwide.
In Ireland, Allianz provides a range of quality insurance products including car, home, pet, boat and horse & rider insurance, together with specialist products for the small to medium enterprise (SME) market as well as large scale bespoke commercial insurance solutions.
Allianz’s reputation is based on its prompt and fair claims settlement service delivered by highly trained and qualified insurance and claims professionals based locally in Dublin and Belfast.
They were founded in 1710 to make things better for people. They have a long tradition in the Irish market too, writing non-life Insurance here since 1721.
They are always searching for the best protection for you with their extensive range of Commercial and Personal Lines products driven by their network of Insurance brokers and scale partners.
With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world’s leading multinational insurance groups. Today, they employ around 23,000 people, serving 17 million customers in over 140 countries.
They have major operations in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, Canada, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
FBD has 40 years insurance experience and has grown into one of the country’s largest insurers with over 500,000 loyal and satisfied customers.
With local sales offices nationwide, telephone and online support, FBD’s quality customer service is never more than a few steps away.
As an insurer they have led the market in terms of offering unique and unrivalled insurance protection for car, home, business and farm insurance.
AIG offers an extensive range of products and services, including car, property, travel, health and identity theft insurance products, deep insurance claims expertise and excellent financial strength.
AIG Europe Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority of the United Kingdom, and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. AIG Europe Limited is a member of Insurance Ireland and participates in the Financial Ombudsman’s scheme.
AIG Europe Limited is a provider of innovative products and services, including car, property, travel, health and identity theft insurance products to more than half of the country’s top 100 companies as well as many public and private sector organisations and tens of thousands of individuals.
They are part of AIG Inc., a world leading property-casualty and general insurance organisation with a 90-year history, serving more than 40 million insurance clients in over 160 countries and jurisdictions.
KennCo Insurance is a part of KennCo Underwriting Limited which was established in 2008 and has grown to become Ireland’s largest insurance underwriting agency.
Based in Rathfarnham, Dublin, they are proud of the fact that they are a 100% Irish owned company employing more than 40 skilled and experienced people.
KennCo has grown to become such a success because they have provided competitively priced personal and business insurance policies throughout Ireland underwriting on behalf of renowned global insurers with the best financial security available.
In April 2008 Sertus Insurance became a member of the RSA Group of companies.