Drive a hard bargain – Car Insurance

insuranceGetting an insurance quote can be a stressful experience and it’s tough to compare like with like when there are so many different options available.  Suzanne Keane explains some of the key terms so you can pick and choose what you actually need to get the best cover!

Third Party, Third Party Fire and Theft or Comprehensive

I always recommend comprehensive – no matter what the value of your car is. Of course if you’re on a budget third party will be a cheaper option. The main difference is that if you’re involved in an accident comprehensive will cover both your car and the third party. Remember if you only have third party you aren’t covered for fire or theft!

No-Claims Bonus

The longer you’ve been driving accident free the cheaper your insurance should be – this is where a no claims bonus comes in. If you’ve got a few years built up it’s worthwhile protecting. Depending on the company this usually means you can have one claim in a year without having it affect your no claims bonus. Windscreen claims usually shouldn’t affect your no claims bonus.

Windscreen Cover

Stonechips can be a pain, and can mean having to fork out for a new windscreen if they crack the glass. Windscreen cover will mean you can either get a new windscreen or get a chip repaired if it hasn’t spread free of charge. This option is usually included in comprehensive policies.

Breakdown cover

It’s always important to check the t&cs of your breakdown cover. Some companies will bring your car to the nearest main dealer or a garage of your choice whereas others will only take it to the nearest garage. If you spend most of your driving time more than 50 miles from home it may be worthwhile buying standalone breakdown cover that will take your car home rather than relying on basic cover from your insurance company – you can save on your premium by not taking their cover and put it towards a standalone policy.

This will usually cover your expenses (up to a certain limit) if you need to defend yourself against a driving conviction or if you need to make a civil claim following an accident.


Always compare the standard excess on different policies. If you need to make a saving somewhere on your premium you can usually opt for a higher excess in exchange for a cheaper price.


Here is our top Ten Tips to reduce the cost of your car insurance


  1. Evaluate insurance costs before you buy your vehicle then consider the year, make and model.
  2. Reduce Insurance Coverage.- Think about dropping Fully Comprehensive Insurance for Third Party Fire and Theft as it is normally a lot cheaper. It is not an option for everyone but certainly it is one to consider if your car is worth less than €2,000. Also for young drivers it may be the only option when it comes to prohibitively high premium costs and once insured you can start building your no claims discount.
  3. Don’t modify your car – the more changes you make the more additional costs you risk accumulating, so inform your insurance company BEFORE you make any changes as some may even invalidate your policy
  4. Raising your excess – If you have been accident free for a number of years than a way to reduce your overall premium may be to raise your excess. (The excess is the amount you have to pay if you make a claim on your insurance ).
  5. Ask about other discounts. You also might be able to pay less depending on your age, or if you’ve had no accidents. Some insurance companies offer discount for completion of advanced driving courses, e.g. The Aviva Ignition driving course or First Ireland offer DRIVEsafe a driving tuition programme for learner drivers.
  6. Think twice about paying in instalments. Pay your premium in one payment, if at all possible as it is always more expensive to pay in stages.
  7. Shop around for Insurance Quotes. The more you get the better your chance of finding the cheapest quote. Remember to compare all insurance quotes on a like-for-like basis though e.g. Some may offer breakdown cover as an optional extra for others it may come with the policy so check all these details.
  8. Parking – The safer your car is tucked away at night the happier your insurance company will be and in some cases can save you 5% on your car insurance.
  9. Put a realistic value on your car. When asked to value our cars most of us have a pretty inflated price in our mind. Remember in the case of an accident the insurance company will only pay out what the car is actually worth at the time of the claim. There are numerous car sites selling used cars that can be used to access the true market value of your car.
  10. Reduce Annual Mileage – The more you travel throughout the year the more of a risk you are to an insurance company so if you can limit your annual mileage this will be reflected in the cost of your premium.


Suzanne Keane

3rd February, 2014


Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for Retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @_suzannekeane

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