Car insurance Northern Ireland

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Why is car insurance in Northern Ireland (NI) so expensive?

Car insurance is typically higher in NI than other regions in the UK. This is because there are fewer insurers in the market compared to mainland UK. This brings competition down – resulting in higher prices. 

Our latest car insurance price index shows the average comprehensive policy price for motorists in Northern Ireland is £883. That’s £118 more expensive than the average comprehensive policy in the UK.

Research carried out by the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011 found that drivers in NI are relatively young. Young drivers are seen as high-risk and more likely to be involved in an accident which can lead to higher prices. The study also found that compensation pay-outs are higher in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK.

Faced with high insurance costs, it makes more sense than ever to shop around and compare a range of quotes. That's where we can help.

How can I get cheap car insurance in NI?

Insurance companies take lots of different factors into consideration when calculating car insurance prices. Here are a few tips which could help you cut the cost of your insurance:

1. Avoid auto renewal – shopping around is the easiest way to save money. If you’ve received your renewal, we guarantee to beat your quote, and if we don’t, we’ll pay the difference plus £20. Find out more. (Must be like-for-like policy, T&Cs apply).

2. Time it right – leaving it too late to get your insurance can mean you pay more than if you get it earlier. Our data shows you’ll usually see the cheapest prices around 3 weeks before you need the policy to start. Don’t worry if you’ve missed it though as there are still savings out there to be had. 

3. Add an experienced driveradding a driver to your policy can help bring costs down, as it means you’ll share the time spent driving. But remember, you must always name the person who drives the most as the main driver. Otherwise you’ll be doing what’s known as “Fronting”, which is illegal.

4. Black box insurance – this is usually a good option for younger or less experienced drivers. Insurers track your driving using an app on your phone or a small device fitted to your car and offer prices based on your driving habits.

5. Increase your voluntary excess – if you’re willing to pay a higher excess this can bring down your price. Remember you’ll need to pay the excess if you make a claim, so don’t over-stretch yourself. 

6. Improve security – fitting your car with increased security such as an alarm or immobiliser makes your car harder to steal and also could reduce the cost of your insurance. Simple things like considering where you keep your car parked at night can also help.

7. No-claims bonus (NCB) – if you stay claim-free for a year you can build up an NCB and start to benefit from lower prices. Each year without a claim adds another year and increases the discount insurers will offer you.

Crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (ROI)

Driving across the border is straightforward in terms of insurance cover. Most insurers in Northern Ireland include annual cover for up to 90 days in the Republic of Ireland. This is usually automatically included on your policy, so there may be no need to add European cover if you do drive across the border.

The length of cover varies between insurers, some offer 90 days, some offer 60. Check with your chosen provider for clarification.

While we remain in the transition period, Brexit hasn’t affected car insurance for drivers travelling between NI and ROI. As it currently stands, you don’t need to carry a motor insurance green card from your insurer but some are starting to issue them to take effect the day Britain leaves the EU. When Brexit happens, the process may be updated.

Our car insurance expert, Alex Kindred, says: “It’s worth checking with your new insurer about cover in the Republic of Ireland. Some consider the Republic as abroad, so depending on how long you’re staying for, you might need European car insurance.”

Am I covered for ferry crossings?

With ferries from England and Scotland regularly travelling to the ports of Larne and Belfast, it's a convenient route to visit other parts of the UK. If you’re planning on catching a ferry, it’s a good idea to check if you’re covered for accidents while you’re onboard.

What do I need to get a quote?

Personal details:
  • Your occupation
  • Previous claims or accidents from the last 5 years
  • Additional driver details for anyone you want as a named driver
  • Your driving licence type and number
  • The number of years no-claims-bonus you have (if any)
  • Any claims and convictions from the last 5 years
Car details:
  • The registration or make and model of your car
  • Any additional modifications (excluding tow hitches)
  • Estimated annual mileage
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There are things you can try to make your car insurance cheaper:

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