If you have a car, by law you must have at least third-party insurance. This covers any injury or loss suffered by other people as a result of your driving. It is a criminal offence to drive in a public place without at least third-party insurance.
Types of car insurance
There are three basic levels of car insurance:
- Third-party cover – this pays out for claims that other people make against you for damage or injury caused by your driving.
- Third-party, fire and theft cover – in addition to third-party cover, you can claim for loss or damage to your own car as a result of fire or theft.
- Comprehensive cover – this gives you third-party, fire and theft cover and also covers damage to your car, no matter who is to blame. It costs more than basic cover but also usually includes many other benefits.
- Insurance Ireland is the representative body for insurance companies in Ireland. It provides a free Insurance information Service (IIS) for members of the public which can help if you want information about insurance, or if you need help in resolving a problem with your insurance company. You can contact the IIF’s Insurance Information Service by phoning 00353(0)1 676 1914 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) exists to compensate genuine victims of uninsured and untraced driving in Ireland. It fulfills a further European role to ensure claims arising from foreign motoring in Ireland or Irish motorists abroad are properly handled and settled. www.mibi.ie / email@example.com
- UK policies should provide the minimum cover required by law in other European Union (EU) countries or the minimum cover required by UK law if that is greater. This cover doesn’t automatically include theft or damage to your car. A number of insurers automatically provide this extended cover for a specified period and often without additional charge. It’s important, however, that you check with your insurer or insurance adviser before you go abroad.
- The Green Card system and driving overseas outside of the EU, a green card provides proof that your domestic motor insurance policy covers the minimum legal requirements in the country being visited.
Frequently cross border workers find it difficult to obtain fully comprehensive insurance for the periods of time they are across the border. Car insurance companies can put a time limit on the days of full cover, e.g. 90 days per year. However, according to the European Commission website all car insurance policies must provide a basic level of insurance cover. For further information please visit the European Commission website – Motor Insurance
The EU Motor Insurance Directive 2009/103/EC is a fundamental element to the free movement of vehicles in the European Union. The Directive establishes a single market in the field of motor insurance. The Directive obliges all motor vehicles in the EU to be covered by compulsory third party insurance and ensures the abolition of border checks on insurance so that vehicles can be driven as easily between Member States as within one country.
All compulsory motor insurance policies should cover, on the basis of a single premium and during the whole term of the contract, the entire territory of the Union, including for any period in which the vehicle remains in other Member States during the term of the contract.
Example: A general enquiry to a well known insurance provider resulted in the following response:
- Cross border insurance is a standard part of their policies
- The car is insured at the address on the policy, as long as it remains at that address four nights per week
- NIDirect – Motor Insurance
- The Money Advice Service – Car Insurance
- Which? – Car Insurance
- Motor Insurers’ Bureau
- Citizens Information – Motor insurance
- National Consumer Agency – Car insurance
Page last checked: February 2016
This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur. It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North / South
If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.