Common car insurance questions answered - Part 2
Sarah Rigney
Staff Writer

This is the second part of our guide series on common car insurance questions answered.

At we know that taking out a car insurance policy isn’t as straightforward as motorists would like it to be. In this guide, we aim to combat confusion you may have by answering frequently asked questions about car insurance.

This is the second part in our 2-part guide series on common car insurance questions. In this part, we discuss classic car insurance, the impact emigration has on your premium, and insurance on imported vehicles.

You can take a look at our Part 1 guide here, which deals with more general car insurance queries related to how your premium is calculated, your no claims bonus and making a claim.

This guide is also the fifth guide in our eight-part series on taking out car insurance on You can find the rest of the guides in this series linked at the end of this article.

1. Does my vehicle need to have a valid NCT to be insured?

Yes, your vehicle must hold a valid NCT and be roadworthy for your policy to be valid. In the event of a claim, an insurer may refuse your claim If your car has no valid NCT.

2. Can I get car insurance if my car is imported?

If your car is imported, you should be able to get insurance, however it may be difficult to do so and some insurers may refuse you.

There are two types of imported car

  • Grey imports: These are vehicles that haven’t been approved in the EU and are typically imported from outside the EU from countries such as Japan or the USA. 
  • Parallel imports: These are brought into Ireland from other EU countries with similar specifications and as a result, are approved.

Grey imports tend to be of a higher specification and statistically are more likely to be involved in accidents. This can have a knock-on effect on the premium for car insurance. 

If you find an insurer who is willing to offer you cover for a grey import, you’ll need it to be tested, under the Individual Approval Scheme before it can be driven on Irish roads.

If you’re buying an imported car from a dealer, this may have already been carried out. 

Contrastingly, as parallel imports have been made for the EU market, they will have passed an appropriate set of standards. Repair costs may vary, which can impact insurance costs.

If a parallel car is a left-hand drive, you may be charged more for insurance. However, parallel imports are still cheaper than insuring grey imports.

To learn more about why you could be refused car insurance if you have an imported car, take a look at our guide on reasons why you could be declined car insurance.

3. Will my gender affect the price of my premium?

Statistically, women are safer drivers. Up until 2012, women typically were given cheaper car insurance quotes than men because of this. 

However, in December 2012, the European Court of Justice found that the practice of charging women less for car insurance was in fact in breach of gender equality. This resulted in new guidelines against gender discrimination being put in place and gender equalisation legislation was introduced for insurance products in Ireland.

​​​Consequently, insurers are now not allowed to use a person’s gender as a factor in determining their car insurance premium. 

When the new laws came into effect, women found themselves paying substantially more, while men found their monthly premiums lowered.

4. Can I insure a car that isn’t registered in my name?

You can insure a car you do not own, however, you must inform the insurer that you are neither the owner of the car nor its registered keeper. 

You can:

  • Become a named driver: By adding yourself as a named driver, you’ll be able to drive someone else’s car. However, you must avoid ‘fronting’, which is when someone pretends to be a named driver and not the main driver on an insurance policy. This is considered to be insurance fraud.
  • Buy a short term insurance policy: This lasts between 1-28 days.
  • Buy your own insurance policy: You will need to inform the insurer you do not own the car. 
  • Check your current insurance policy: Certain fully comprehensive insurance policies provide third-party cover to those who drive cars that they don’t own. 

Some insurers will only provide non-owner insurance to the partners, children, or employees of the registered keeper or car owner.

Lastly, you may find that insuring a car that isn’t registered in your name is quite costly. Insurance companies believe that when you don’t own the car you’re driving that you’re more likely to get into an accident and make a claim than the person who owns the car.

5. If I emigrate will my insurance increase when I return?

As mentioned above, your no claims discount will expire after two years of you not being insured. 

If you emigrate and aren’t driving while abroad, you may struggle to find affordable car insurance upon your return, or may not be able to obtain cover.

Those living outside of Ireland for more than 2 years will have lost their no claims discount. Even if you were insured while abroad and had driving experience, some insurers in Ireland won’t recognise this and it may be disregarded. 

If you’re worried about this happening, you could continue to pay car insurance in Ireland while living abroad, however, this will also prove costly. 

6. What can I do If I am declined car insurance?

Insurance Ireland operates a Declined Cases Agreement (DCA) and if you are unable to obtain car insurance, you can appeal to the Declined Cases Committee (DCC). 

To appeal, you must have received 3 letters of decline from 3 different insurers. The DCC will then appoint an insurer to insure you. In most cases, this will be your most recent insurer or the insurer you were first declined cover from.

7. I don’t have a no claims bonus - can I get insurance?

This will vary on each insurer's acceptance criteria and risk appetite. 

Certain insurers may not offer you a quote if you don’t hold an NCB or have no driving experience. Other Insurers in the market will be willing to quote you but will charge a high premium in return for no proof of experience.

If you are a named driver on somebody else’s policy, insurers will accept proof of this named driver experience (NDE) and will apply a discount to your quote based on this.

8. I have an open claim - can I move to a new insurer?

No, if you have an existing open claim you must stay with your current insurer. 

No new insurer will be able to quote you on a new business policy until your open claim is settled. 

9. Can I get insurance on a classic or vintage car? 

Yes, you can. Usually, if you have a car that’s 20-30 years old or older, you must acquire classic car insurance on vehicles. This specialist insurance is designed to protect older, higher value cars that are only driven from time to time. 

Car insurance companies differ in their definition of what makes a classic or vintage car. For instance, one insurer might only consider a car to be eligible for classic car insurance if it is 30 years old, while another may consider a car that is 25 years old to be a classic. 

Classic car insurance is often lower than regular car insurance, as classic cars are expected to be driven fewer miles and therefore are less likely to be in an accident.

A classic car will more than likely have had modifications carried out for them to be roadworthy. However, unlike regular car insurance, classic car owners aren’t negatively impacted for this in their policy. 

Take a look at Part 1

If you found this guide helpful, make sure you check out Part 1, which covers answers to more common car insurance queries. 

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Take a look at our other car insurance articles 

Become an expert in car insurance by reading some of the other helpful car insurance guides in our eight-part series:

    Keep up to date with the latest car insurance news and learn more about it by checking out our blogs and guides page. 

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