Car Insurance Northern Ireland

Get cheap car insurance in Northern Ireland

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Changes in premium prices have seen Northern Ireland’s rates finally go below the UK average. But what are the reasons behind this?

Giants causeway northern ireland

Historically, car insurance in Northern Ireland has been more expensive than the UK – by as much as 11%, according to the Office of Fair Trading.

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

Although prices have risen steadily in Northern Ireland since the report, big gains elsewhere have meant that it’s no longer more expensive. In 2017 the average cost of a fully comprehensive policy in Northern Ireland was £539*, which is below the UK average price of £577*.

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 Antim, with County Down being the cheapest. 

Car insurance NI

MoneySuperMarket data showing the average price for fully comprehensive premiums in Northern Ireland. Correct as of October 2017.


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


MoneySuperMarket data showing the average price for fully comprehensive premiums in Northern Ireland. Correct as of October 2017.

Prices by region

Premiums for motorists in Northern Ireland have become cheaper than some of the UK’s regions, sitting somewhere in the middle. As ever, London has the most expensive car insurance at £801* each year, while Belfast’s drivers pay on average £538* per year for their policies.

Data shows that Scotland and Wales both have cheaper insurance than Northern Ireland, but perhaps this is due to the fact Northern Ireland has a statistically younger populace. The Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Service Briefing Paper suggested that because the population is relatively young compared the rest of the UK, the average overall price of car insurance is increased.

That’s because young and inexperienced drivers aged 17 to 24 are statistically more likely to be in an accident or make claims on their car insurance. In fact, the average car insurance premium for younger drivers in Northern Ireland is £1,360* per year, which is considerably more of the UK average of £1,242*, for the same age group.


See how age affects price of car insurance in Northern Ireland

MoneySuperMarket data showing the average price for premiums in Northern Ireland. Correct as of October 2017.

Age groups in Northern Ireland

As in other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland has a big disparity when it comes to the difference in price between age groups. The younger generation of drivers are paying an awful lot more for their insurance, while the older, more experienced drivers are getting a fairly cheap rate.

For example, the youngest drivers aged 17 to 19 must pay an average premium of £1,697* per year to insure their car. This is due their being the highest risk to make a claim from the insurer - and the bigger the risk, the higher the price.

Conversely, when you go up the age scale to the 50 to 65 age group, they have to pay just £296* a year for their premium. This age group are considered the safest drivers on average and the least likely to have an accident or make a claim.

This is a huge difference in price (£1,401), and could seem unfair to an 18 year old in County Armagh. But, statistically-speaking, 19% of 17 to 19-year-olds have made a claim across the UK, often stemming from an accident due to inexperience.


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

MoneySuperMarket data showing the average price for fully comprehensive premiums in Northern Ireland. Correct as of October 2017.

Driving prices up

The unfortunate thing about motor insurance premiums is that any rises can and often do have a number of knock-on effects, such as an increase in the number of uninsured drivers and an increase in personal injury claims.

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

The big problem is, as the number of law-abiding drivers reduces, 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 this dwindling fund 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, the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Service Briefing Paper also suggested that, because of differing legal systems compared to the rest of the UK, compensation pay-outs tend to be much higher in Northern Ireland.

This pushed up car insurance in Northern Ireland, because insurers have to balance the price of their premiums to cover potential compensation pay-outs. But this should change with the proposed introduction of a capped compensation fee, which was suggested by the government in 2017.


19% of 18 & 19 year olds have made at least one claim on their car insurance policy

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of June 2017.

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: as a ‘named driver’ can help to bring your premiums down. This is 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.
  • Just be aware you must never put the older, more experienced driver as the main driver if you are actually the main driver 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.

Young drivers aged 17 to 24 could save an average of £363.25 when they take out a telematics car insurance policy.

MoneySuperMarket data showing the average quoted savings for drivers aged 17 to 24 when they take out a telematics policy, between January and March 2018.

  • Young drivers are normally hit quite hard by car insurance premiums, so if you fall into this category, you might want to consider telematics insurance. Telematics is when a GPS-enabled tracking device 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.
  • You’ll earn a No Claims Discount just by driving carefully and sensibly, bringing your premiums down over time.
  • Keeping your vehicle parked in a secure location and making it harder to steal should also reduce the amount you pay, as will installing insurer-approved alarms and immobilisers.
  • Try to avoid modifying your car as this can cause your premiums to rise.
  • Finally, you should 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.

*MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and October 2017


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