What type of cover do I need?

In Ireland, car insurance is a legal requirement to drive on public roads. If you do not have it, you are commiting an offense under the Road Traffic Act, 1961 which states that

A person (in this subsection referred to as the user) shall not use in a public place a mechanically propelled vehicle unless either a vehicle insurer, a vehicle guarantor or an exempted person would be liable for injury caused by the negligent use of the vehicle by him at that time or there is in force

The minimum requirement for insurance is for third party liability. Additional coverage often offered by insurers includes fire, theft and comprehensive cover. It's always worth investigating a higher level of insurance even if you only want the most basic coverage, as the market may be more competitive and you may end up with a better deal overall.

Third party cover only insures against the damage to other parties' vehicles in the event you are involved in an accident. It does not cover you for any personal injury, or for any damage to your vehicle. If you opt for this type of cover you should be aware that you may need to fund any repairs to your own car yourself, and you will need to pay for any medical treatment not provided by HSE.

In addition to the basic cover above, Fully Comprehensive cover will also insure your vehicle in the case of an accident, and it will cover you for personal injury also. You should always check the exact details of your policy to ensure you have the cover you need. If you do need to make a claim, you will have an excess to pay, then the insurance company will cover any additional cost as a result of your accident. If your vehicle is written-off (not financially feasible to repair), rather than buying you a new car, the insurance company will usually pay you the current value of the car. You may find that you cannot buy the same car for this amount, so you should take this into consideration when budgeting for insurance and possible mishaps.

Insurers will often offer a range of other services at additional cost when you are taking our your insurance policy, which is why it pays to shop around and find exactly what you need. Typical services include cover for fire and theft, breakdown cover, legal assistance, windscreen cover and a courtesy car option should your vehicle require repair. If you do wish to have an extra such as breakdown cover, you may find it is cheaper to obtain this extra separately.