Car Insurance Northern Ireland

Get cheap car insurance in Northern Ireland

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Car insurance premiums in Northern Ireland are lower than the UK average. But what are the reasons behind this?

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Car insurance in Northern Ireland has historically been more expensive than in the rest of the UK – at one point by as much as 11%, according to the Office of Fair Trading.

Last decade, premiums soared by 73% over a two-year period, which caused the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland to investigate in 2011.

And although car insurance prices have risen steadily in Northern Ireland since then, costs have risen faster elsewhere in the UK – making premiums less expensive, relatively speaking.

How much is car insurance in Northern Ireland?

The average price of car insurance quotes varies in Northern Ireland according to where you live. The most expensive place to insure a car is County Tyrone, with County Down the cheapest.

Car insurance NI

According to MoneySuperMarket correct as of March 2019


The average price of fully comprehensive car insurance in each county of Northern Ireland is:



Average cost of fully comprehensive cover

County Down


County Fermanagh


County Armagh


County Londonderry


County Antrim


County Tyrone


According to MoneySuperMarket correct as of March 2019

Prices by region

Premiums for motorists in Northern Ireland have become cheaper than some of the UK’s other regions, and it now sits somewhere in the middle.

Data shows that Scotland and Wales both have cheaper insurance than Northern Ireland, but this is perhaps due to the fact Northern Ireland has a statistically younger populace.

Premiums for younger and less experienced drivers – especially those aged between 17 and 24 – are higher because they are statistically more likely to be in an accident or make claims on their car insurance, and because when they do have accidents, they tend to have more passengers.

In fact, the average car insurance premium for younger drivers in Northern Ireland is £1,453 for those aged 17 to 19 and £1,009 for the 20-to-24 category. These is considerably higher than the UK-wide average of £1,052 for the former category and £966 for the latter.

Age groups in Northern Ireland

As with other parts of the UK, there is a huge disparity in Northern Ireland when it comes to pricing between age groups. The younger generation of drivers are paying an awful lot more for their insurance, while the older drivers are getting a fairly cheap rate.


See how age affects price of car insurance in Northern Ireland

According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of March 2019

For example, even though the youngest drivers, those aged 17 to 19, pay an average premium of £1,453 per year to insure their car, the 50-to-64 age group, pay an average of just £302 a year. People in this age group are considered the safest drivers on average and are the least likely to have an accident or make a claim.

Driving prices up

The unfortunate thing about motor insurance premiums is that rises can and do have knock-on effects, such as increasing the numbers of uninsured drivers and personal injury claims.

Just because insurance is unaffordable doesn’t prevent some uninsured drivers from getting behind the wheel and on the road. And when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, claims are made to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) which then takes the pay-out from a centralised pot, paid for by all insured drivers (around £20 a year).

As the number of law-abiding drivers falls, so too does the amount in the pot – even though the number of drivers and accidents will remain more or less the same.

So the only way insurance providers can tackle dwindling funds is to increase the premiums of those drivers who do buy car insurance, thus covering the gap. But this in turn means more people are priced out of affordable insurance.

Personal injury claims

Just as we’ve seen in England, Scotland and Wales, there has also been an increase in the number of personal injury claims in Northern Ireland – both real and fraudulent – which has forced insurers to up their prices to cover the cost of expensive pay-outs.

This added pressure has made a significant impact on car insurance within Northern Ireland, as it has elsewhere in the UK.

However, research conducted on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly also contends that, because its legal system differs from the rest of the UK, compensation pay-outs tend to be much higher in Northern Ireland.

This has pushed up the price of car insurance in Northern Ireland because insurers have to balance the price of their premiums to cover potential compensation pay-outs, though this does now appear to be changing for the better.

Female and male motorists pay different prices for car insurance in Northern Ireland

According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of March 2019

Get cheaper car insurance

If you live in Northern Ireland, the good news is there are still ways to keep your car insurance premiums affordable. Here are a few examples of how to bring the cost of cover down:

  • Add an older, more experienced driver to your policy. a ‘named driver’ can help to bring your premiums down because, theoretically, it reduces the amount of time you’ll spend behind the wheel – 35% of young drivers across the UK already have a named driver on their policy.
  • But don’t make them the main driver just to get a cheaper quote. This is called ‘fronting’ and it’s illegal – if you are caught fronting you both risk fines and court appearances, and you could struggle to get car insurance in the future.
  • Consider telematics insurances. Young drivers are normally hit quite hard by car insurance premiums, so you might want to consider fitting your car with a GPS-enabled tracking device that measures how you drive and charges you for insurance accordingly. If you’re a careful driver covering fewer miles, you could save a lot of money – 17- to 24-year-olds could save around £360 a year, for example.
  • Watch your driving. You’ll earn a no-claims discount just by driving carefully and sensibly, bringing your premiums down over time.
  • Keep your vehicle parked in a secure location and make it harder to steal. This should also reduce the amount you pay, as will installing insurer-approved alarms and immobilisers.
  • Try to avoid modifying your car.
  • Always compare car insurance quotes and switch insurers each year come renewal time. The best deals are reserved for new customers, and you won’t be rewarded for your loyalty by sticking with the same insurer – so shop around using our car insurance comparison service.

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