Car Insurance

An Post Insurance Motor Advice Centre covers all you need to know, if you still have further questions feel free to call our team in Athlone on 1890 22 22 22.

Following the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement on Friday 31 Jan 2020, the UK are no longer a member of the EU. Under the arrangements in place, UK/NI driving licences held by residents of Ireland will continue to be valid up to 31 December 2020 (the end of the transition period). As and from the 31 December 2020 a UK licence held by residents of Ireland will no longer be valid to drive here in Ireland. For that reason, UK licence holders resident in Ireland should take steps to exchange their licence for an Irish one well in advance of that date.

Proof of insurance such as a valid Irish insurance disc will act as proof of insurance when driving an Irish registered vehicle in the UK, including Northern Ireland. A separate Green Card is not required. If you already have a Green Card, check the expiry date and if still in date this will also be accepted as proof of valid insurance.

1) Check for injuries, starting with yourself and then the remaining passengers in your car.

2) Don’t move any injured parties unless they are in immediate danger from oncoming vehicles.

3) Call the emergency services, providing as much detail about the car crash as you can such as the location of the car crash, number of people and vehicles involved and injuries sustained.

4) Do not admit, deny, negotiate or settle a claim without your insurer’s’ permission.

5) Take note of the following third party details: names, addresses and phone numbers. The address of the owner of the vehicle you are driving if it’s not your car. The car insurance company name and the insurance policy numbers as well as the driver's licence numbers. Vehicle’s registration numbers car’s year, make, model and colour. Keep a record of the name, address and phone number of any witnesses. Take photos of the position of and damage to each vehicle involved in the collision.

6) Notify the local Garda station immediately.

Please note: You should always let your insurer know immediately about any event that may give rise to a claim under your policy.

Heavy rain or stormy conditions - in dry conditions driving at 50kph, your safe stopping distance is 25m. However, in wet conditions, this increases by 40% to 35m. At 100kph a safe stopping distance in dry conditions is 78m. In wet conditions this increases by 68% to 123m. If you see surface water ahead, slow down in advance. During a storm or heavy winds, do not park under trees or overhanging structures.

Fog or misty conditions - in dense fog, you should consider if the journey really is necessary. When driving in fog, switch on your rear fog lamp. It will allow others to see you sooner. Remember to switch off your fog lamps when foggy conditions have subsided! Use dipped headlights, as with snow, high beams will be reflected back at the driver, and make conditions worse. Stay in lane and avoid overtaking. Pay close attention to road markings to avoid disorientation.

Snow and ice conditions - when possible, carry a can of de-icer, a plastic windscreen scraper, a first aid kit, a mobile and charger, a torch and batteries, jump leads & tow rope, a warning triangle, a high visibility jacket, your car tool kit and winter clothes. A simple, but invaluable addition is a small shovel to allow you dig out snow and clear in front of wheels. In advance, check your battery, anti-freeze, lights/bulbs, tyres, wipers, fluids, fuel, heater and demister - in addition to your normal recommended vehicle checks. Try to avoid hill climbs or descents by planning your journey in advance. Descend an incline in a lower gear, allowing the engine to control speed.

Flood conditions - if you live in an area where flooding may occur, move your vehicle to higher ground. Do not drive unless your journey is absolutely necessary. Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of the depth - 50cm of water can float a car. Observe other vehicles, kerbs, posts, railings, hedging or fences as indicators of water depth. If in doubt, stop!

Be researched - if you're planning to drive a long way to your destination or even to go on a driving holiday, work out your route in advance and make sure you have the relevant maps.

Be lawful - know the laws and regulations for each country you plan to travel to. In France, for example, drivers must carry a high-visibility vest in their vehicles. In Vienna, it's illegal to use your car horn while it’s against the law to run out of fuel on an autobahn in Germany. If you're heading to Spain or France you must carry a spare bulb kit by law.

Be insured - Your policy automatically provides you with cover within the EU for up to 31 days. If further cover is required, please contact us prior to travelling. Always carry your insurance certificate with you.

Be seen - when driving on European roads, motorists must use headlamp converters by law. This is due to the fact vehicles travel on the right-hand-side - the opposite side of the road to Ireland and the UK - meaning motorists could dazzle oncoming traffic with cars designed for Irish and British roads. Fitting headlamp converters will reposition the angle of your beam, ensuring the safety of other road users and giving you the right visibility of the road ahead.

Be compliant - a Euro sticker number plate may appear to be quite a small car accessory to be worrying about, but it is compulsory to have this displayed on your vehicle when travelling on the continent.

Voluntary excess - Consider how much you'd be prepared to pay out if you have to make a claim. The voluntary excess is the amount you volunteer to pay in the event of an accident. If you can afford to pay another €300 as a voluntary excess your annual premium costs may come down. Simply the higher your voluntary excess, the lower your quote will be.

For more useful tips read our blog on How to Save on Car Insurance.