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Compare car insurance in Northern Ireland

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Compare car insurance in Northern Ireland

Getting a car insurance quote in Northern Ireland is quick and easy. You’ll need your personal details, driving history and information about your car. With that information, you’ll be ready to find the best and cheapest Northern Ireland car insurance for your profile. 

If you’re not ready to start comparing, our guide will explain everything you need to know about car insurance in Northern Ireland, including whether you can drive in the Republic of Ireland.

Do I need different car insurance in Northern Ireland?

Broadly, what car insurance does and does not cover is consistent across the UK. So, car insurance in Northern Ireland is the same as in England, Scotland and Wales.

You can choose from three levels of cover:

  • Third-party: as in the rest of the UK, this is the legal minimum cover required, meaning that if you have a car in Northern Ireland, you’ll at least need third-party insurance. This insurance covers you if you damage someone’s property or injure or kill them in a motor accident
  • Third-party, fire and theft: with third-party, fire and theft insurance, you’ll be covered if your car is stolen, damaged in an attempted theft or damaged by fire, in addition to the coverage included in third-party insurance
  • Comprehensive: with fully comprehensive car insurance, you can claim for everything covered by the lower levels and for accidental damage to your car. This cover will also likely include other benefits, such as personal accident, key and courtesy car cover

The option you choose will depend on the minimum level of cover you need.

Is UK car insurance valid in Northern Ireland?

Most likely, if you take out car insurance somewhere in the UK, you can drive in Northern Ireland with the same level of cover. 

However, this won’t always be the case. Some car insurance policies purchased in England, Scotland or Wales may exclude driving in Northern Ireland because some insurance providers view Northern Ireland as a higher-risk location.

Will I be covered getting the ferry to and from Northern Ireland?

To be sure you’re covered when getting the ferry to and from Northern Ireland, you’ll need to read your car insurance policy documents carefully.

Not every provider automatically covers you for this kind of travel, and not all breakdown cover providers cover ferry travel if you need to get your car from Northern Ireland following an incident.

If you’re unsure, contact your insurance provider to ask if your cover extends to ferry travel.

Can I drive in the Republic of Ireland?

Since the UK, including Northern Ireland, is no longer part of the European Union, using your car in the Republic of Ireland is considered driving abroad. 

By law, if you have a valid UK car insurance policy, you’ll only have third-party cover when driving in the Republic of Ireland, meaning if your car were stolen or accidentally damaged while driving in the Republic of Ireland, you wouldn’t be covered.

However, certain policies include 60 to 90 days of “driving abroad” at the same level of cover as purchased in Northern Ireland. So, if you frequently cross the border into the Republic of Ireland, it is worth searching for a car insurance policy that includes this enhanced driving abroad cover.

Is car insurance more expensive in Northern Ireland?

Historically, the average car insurance premium is higher in Northern Ireland than in England, Scotland or Wales. Typically, only London is more expensive than Northern Ireland when it comes to insurance premiums.

Below are a few reasons why car insurance in Northern Ireland has tended to be higher than elsewhere in the UK:

  • Younger population: aside from London, Northern Ireland has the youngest population in the UK, meaning the average car insurance premium in Northern Ireland will cost more, as younger drivers pay higher premiums
  • Rural landscape: Northern Ireland has a more rural landscape than other countries in the UK, increasing the average annual mileage and creating a higher accident risk
  • Less choice: although things have changed over the last decade, Northern Ireland has a small pool of providers, and less competition means higher costs

How can I get cheaper car insurance in Northern Ireland?

Despite high car insurance costs in Northern Ireland, you can take several steps to reduce the cost of your cover:

  • Shop around: by comparing as many quotes as possible, you can find the best and cheapest premium
  • Don’t auto-renew: while your current provider may end up being your best option, allowing your policy to auto-renew means you miss out on the chance to shop around
  • Increase your excess: by increasing your voluntary excess, you can decrease your premiums. However, you should strike a balance between reducing your premium and committing to an excess you can afford
  • Pay annually: paying for your car insurance upfront instead of monthly means you won’t pay interest on your cover
  • Reduce your mileage: reducing your annual mileage will decrease the cost of your policy. Low-mileage car insurance offers cheaper premiums
  • Consider telematics cover: for young or new drivers, opting for black box insurance, which involves having a device installed in your car that tracks your driving habits, can prove that you’re a safe driver, leading to cheaper cover in the future
  • Maintain your no-claims bonus: building and maintaining your no-claims bonus is one of the best ways to keep costs low in the long term. This may mean paying for small repairs out of pocket instead of claiming
  • Add a named driver: if you’re a young driver, adding a named driver with more experience can decrease your premiums
  • Install security features: installing security devices, such as dash cams and immobilisers, can make your vehicle safer and less expensive to insure 
  • Be careful with optional extras: being selective with the optional extras you choose to add to your policy can keep the costs low
  • Look into a smaller car: if you’re looking to purchase a new car, checking its insurance group can help you avoid picking a vehicle that’ll cause your premium to spike

Car insurance in Northern Ireland FAQs

When taking out car insurance in Northern Ireland, it might be worth considering the following optional extras:

  • Breakdown cover: breakdown cover can give you the added peace of mind that if your car suffers a fault, you’ll be able to get home
  • Motor legal protection: motor legal protection usually allows you to claim up to £100,000 in legal expenses to recover uninsured losses following a non-fault accident
  • Hire car cover: hire car cover can provide a temporary replacement vehicle in more situations than standard courtesy car cover. You may also be able to get hire car cover that provides a vehicle the same size as your damaged, stolen or written-off car
  • No-claims discount protection: if you’ve built up a no-claims discount over at least four years, you may be able to include an add-on that will allow you to make a certain number of claims before affecting your bonus

If you have purchased a car insurance policy in mainland UK, you’ll likely be insured to drive in Northern Ireland. However, you should check your policy to be sure. 

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Molly Dyson


After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.