Getting motor insurance when you return to Ireland
By law, you must have motor insurance to drive in Ireland. Motor insurance (also known as car insurance) protects you against liability in the event of an accident.
If you have a foreign driving license, you may be able to exchange it for an Irish licence when you return home, depending on the country it is from.
This page has information on buying car insurance when you return to Ireland, how to show evidence of your driving history abroad and what to do if you are refused cover by Irish insurance providers.
Can I use my previous no claims bonus when I return to Ireland?
A no claims bonus (also known as no claims discount) is a percentage discount on car insurance given to drivers who do not have any claims on their record. You can build up a no claims bonus over the years and it will lower the cost of your car insurance.
If you have been abroad for more than 2 years
If you have been abroad for more than 2 years and your previous Irish motor insurance policy expired over 2 years ago, you cannot use your previous Irish no claims bonus when you apply for car insurance in Ireland.
If you have been abroad for less than 2 years
If you have been abroad for less than 2 years, your no claims bonus will still apply. Your no claims bonus is based on your previous driving experience in Ireland in your own name. Insurance Ireland has published information on using a no claims discount when returning to Ireland (pdf).
Do insurers take my driving history abroad into account?
Each motor insurer will take different circumstances into account when giving you a car insurance quote.
A protocol agreed between the Department of Finance and Insurance Ireland means that insurers will take overseas driving experience into account as long as you can provide proof of claims-free driving experience abroad.
In general, motor insurers will take your no claims history into account from the EEA, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, South Africa, and the USA. Some insurers may accept your no claims history from other countries not included in this list.
When buying car insurance in Ireland you may be asked for proof of your driving history and no claims record. Make sure you have the following documents:
- A no claims discount statement
- An additional letter or other official document from your last insurer stating the circumstances of your insurance cover (dates and type of cover) and your no claims driving history
- Records of your previous driving experience in Ireland, if you have any
Before you return to Ireland, you should make sure your current insurer can give you these documents and arrange translation if necessary.
What can I do if I am refused motor insurance?
If you cannot get motor insurance from any insurer in Ireland, then you can use the Declined Cases Agreement. Under the Agreement, if you are refused quotations from at least 3 insurers, you can email the Declined Cases Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. and they will get an insurance quote for you.
You must provide the 3 refusals in writing (letter or email) to the Declined Cases Committee. An insurance provider must give you a reason for a refusal if you ask for one.
If you would like to make a complaint against a motor insurance provider that operates in Ireland, read how to do so from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Insurance Ireland has more information on what to do if you are refused motor insurance cover.
If you have any queries or complaints on getting insurance cover in Ireland, you can email Insurance Ireland at email@example.com. This is a free information service.