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Car Insurance Getting On The Road

Congratulations, you have just passed your driving test after successfully completing a series of hurdles involving theory testing, rules of the road, acquiring a learner licence, completing the twelve lesson training, taking pre-tests and finally walking away from the driving test centre with your coveted Certificate of Competency proudly in hand. Your driving licence is a well-earned document and now that you have the difficult part completed, the next challenge is getting your car on the road.

First Cut is the Deepest

As having car insurance is a legal requirement to drive in Ireland, young drivers need affordable and reliable car insurance especially when getting your first policy. Typically, car insurance for young drivers is more costly as the risk of being involved in a road accident tend to be higher with younger drivers.   Shopping around for car insurance can seem daunting, especially when you start delving into the assortment of policy types and associated ‘jargon’ being advertised in the marketplace. Even more alarming, are the costs associated with first time policy holders, which can vary considerably depending on factors like vehicle age and value; location; driving experience; and profession.

That is why your starting point, should be with your local Insurance Broker who will help you navigate through the minefield of car insurance policy types and provide some balanced advice and direction in helping you secure a policy that is right for you.

Cutting Through the Jargon

Third Party/Third Party ‘Fire & Theft’ Insurance

Generally, third party including third party fire and theft insurance is cheaper than comprehensive insurance because it offers less protection for your car.  Third party insurance covers the damage caused to a third party, but not your own vehicle.  In the event of an accident, third party will offer additional cover to the costs of any damage or injury you cause to someone else or cover your vehicle against accidental fire or theft. 

Although third party insurance is usually the lowest and cheapest option of cover available, its cover is basic and as a rule of thumb, should only be used for drivers with older/lower value vehicles.  However, if you have an older car, have low annual mileage or are new to driving, then third party cover might be the right option as it could be cheaper than replacing your vehicle in the event of an accident than it would be to purchase the higher level of cover.  Its’ also worth noting that not many insurance companies offer third party insurance.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive car insurance provides a greater level of cover and protection and includes the same level of insurance while also covering damage incurred to your car.  Depending on your insurance provider, comprehensive cover often includes a range of additional benefits like windscreen repair and protection; loss or damage to personal items and breakdown assistance which are often included as standard features.   

Comprehensive insurance is usually the most expensive option as it provides the highest level of cover. The difference between Third Party and Comprehensive is simply the level of cover you get. Very  often when you compare the benefits of both types of cover, the difference in cost can be minimal especially when you consider the additional assurance and peace of mind that a comprehensive policy provides  .

Telematics Insurance

Another affordable car policy route is Telematic Insurance which is available through some Insurers and is typically geared toward first time policy and young drivers.  A box is fitted into your car which reports your driving data to your insurance company. Using a GPS, driving behaviour is monitored and reported for safeness and based on this tracked data, you are awarded a score by your insurer which determines your premium price at renewal time.   Although it can be considered a slightly more restrictive option, it is a cost effective option which encourages and rewards young drivers to establish safe driving habits.  

Insurance Brokers – Steering You in the Right Direction

Doing your homework on car policies, can be eased if you talk to your local Insurance Broker who will happily steer in the right direction and take the stress out of shopping around for car insurance by using their extensive knowledge of the market to find you the right cover at the best price. An Insurance Broker has access to the entire marketplace and can offer you an extensive product choice from various insurers.

Car Theft – Staying Vigilant & Tips to Keeping your Car Safe

Motor theft is a serious problem in Ireland, in 2022, there were more than 4,000 vehicles reported stolen and the issue continues to show a significant increase year-on-year, with a 52% increase on 2021 and a 17% increase on 2019. This not only causes financial loss for car owners but also has a wider impact on society, including increased insurance premiums and the cost of policing. Combatting motor theft requires a coordinated effort from law enforcement, government, and individual car owners.

Stolen-to-order vehicles have become a growing concern in Ireland in recent years. Criminal gangs are known to steal high-end vehicles, such as luxury cars and vans, to order for export or resale. These vehicles are often dismantled for parts or shipped out of the country to be sold on the black market. Stolen-to-order vehicles are difficult to trace and recover, making them an attractive target for organized crime groups. The Irish government and law enforcement agencies are working to combat this issue by increasing public awareness and investing in new technology to better track stolen vehicles.

Mass market cars and vans are increasingly being targeted for parts by thieves in Ireland. Criminal gangs often steal these vehicles and dismantle them for valuable parts, such as engines and catalytic converters, which can be sold on the black market for a profit. This trend has caused concern among car owners and the wider community, as it not only leads to financial loss but also poses a risk to road safety. It is important for car owners to take steps to protect their vehicles and for law enforcement agencies to take a proactive approach to combatting this issue.

Keyless vehicles have become a popular target for thieves in Ireland. Criminals are using electronic devices to intercept the signals between the key and the car, allowing them to unlock and start the vehicle without the owner’s knowledge. This method of theft is known as “relay theft” and has become a growing concern for car owners. Thieves are able to steal high-end cars and luxury vehicles with keyless entry systems in a matter of seconds, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track and recover these stolen vehicles.

Here are some ways in which you can add extra protection to your vehicle:

  1. Always lock your car: It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember to lock your car, even when you’re only leaving it for a short time. An unlocked car is an invitation to thieves.
  2. Park in a safe, well-lit area: Park your car in a well-lit area that is visible to other people. Avoid parking in isolated areas, especially at night.
  3. Use an immobilizer or steering wheel lock: An immobilizer or steering wheel lock is an effective way to deter thieves. These devices make it difficult for a thief to start your car, which reduces the risk of theft.
  4. Don’t leave valuables in your car: Don’t leave valuables in your car, such as wallets, laptops, or mobile phones. Thieves are more likely to break into a car if they can see something valuable inside.
  5. Install a car alarm: A car alarm is a great way to deter thieves. Make sure the alarm is loud enough to be heard from a distance and that it’s installed by a professional.
  6. Keep your keys safe: Don’t leave your car keys lying around or in an obvious place, such as on a hook by the front door. Keep them in a secure location.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings: Be aware of your surroundings when you’re approaching or leaving your car. If you see anyone suspicious, stay in a safe location and call the Gardaí.
  8. Consider installing a tracking device: A tracking device can help locate your car if it’s stolen. This can also help the police to recover your car quickly and increase the chances of catching the thief.

In conclusion, preventing motor theft in Ireland requires a multifaceted approach. While law enforcement agencies have a role to play in cracking down on criminal gangs and investing in new technologies, individual car owners can also take steps to protect their vehicles. By locking your car, parking in well-lit areas, and investing in security devices, you can minimize the risk of your car being stolen. It’s important to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, and to report any suspicious activity to the authorities. By working together, we can combat motor theft in Ireland.

Insurance Brokers – Steering You in the Right Direction

Doing your homework on car policies, can be eased if you talk to your local Insurance Broker who will happily steer in the right direction and take the stress out of shopping around for car insurance by using their extensive knowledge of the market to find you the right cover at the best price. An Insurance Broker has access to the entire marketplace and can offer you an extensive product choice from various insurers. Talk to your local Insurance Broker today.

Ghost Brokers – Don’t Get Scammed!

Consumer Awareness Campaign to tackle ‘Ghost Broking’

Liberty Insurance has launched a new public awareness campaign in conjunction with Brokers Ireland to raise awareness of the illegal practice of ghost broking. This places Irish motorists at risk of insurance fraud and invalid insurance cover.

New research, conducted among 1,000 consumers by Core Research, shows that 70% of motor insurance customers in Ireland are unaware of the practice.

What is a Ghost Broker?

Ghost brokers are professional fraudsters who sell forged or falsified documents to unsuspecting motorists. In the event of a claim arising, these policies leave the motorist liable. Liberty’s research suggests they disproportionately target immigrant communities, many of whom don’t speak English as a first language or are unfamiliar with Irish insurance practices. “At Liberty we live by our value of ‘Putting People First’. We were the first insurer in the Irish market to publicly call out this practise in 2017, and since then we have sought to work with An Garda Siochana, the Department of Finance, Brokers Ireland and other industry peers to tackle this growing problem. ” says María Eugenia Mugueza, Claims and Operations Leader for Liberty Seguros, the company that operates as Liberty Mutual Global Retail Markets in Europe“Ghost broking is a form of insurance fraud that needs to be tackled to not only to protect consumers, of whom almost 40% of those aware of the practice report having been approached, but also legitimate insurance providers and legitimate brokers.”

Too Good To Be True’

The survey found that among motorists aware of the practice, 21% are either unsure or unaware that policies purchased via Ghost Brokers may be invalid.

Identifying a Ghost Broker is the first step; warning signs include broker contact details that neglect to include a physical business address or business landline number. Also, if the offer appears too good to be true, this should serve as another red flag.

Cathie Shannon, Director of General Insurance at Brokers Ireland says: “Consumers always need to be alert and this research shows that a large proportion of consumers don’t even know they need to have their guard up. We urge consumers to think twice before purchasing insurance from sources such as social media sites and carefully check any insurance documentation for accuracy.”

Identifying Legitimate Insurance Brokers 

According to the survey, 43% of consumers have searched for their Broker online but 32% have not taken any steps to verify that their Insurance Broker is fully regulated.

Liberty advises all motorists to always check the authenticity of any person or company selling or administering insurance policies.

There are some easy and cost-free steps consumers can take to locate a genuine Broker:

“This is a much-needed resource for consumers,” according to Seán Fleming TD, Minister of State with Responsibility for Insurance, who has welcomed this awareness campaign, “not only to identify genuine brokers, but also to identify the types of insurance that brokers may provide.”

María Eugenia Mugueza welcomes this governmental support, saying that “Liberty shares the government’s goal of bringing greater transparency to the insurance market and tackling ghost broking is a key part of this effort.”

 Online Security 

According to the survey, almost 40% of those aware of the practice have been directly approached by a Ghost Broker, either in person or via social media, and a further 3% know someone who has.

“While conducting business over the web is now the norm, the web is also an easy marketplace for fraudsters.” says Brokers Ireland’s Cathie Shannon.

As part of this campaign, Liberty is also calling on online platforms such as social media outlets to verify that any person or company advertising insurance policies on their website is verified as being legitimate

*Research commissioned by Liberty Insurance and carried out by Core Research as part of an online survey. 1,000 adults in Ireland aged 18 and over were interviewed as part of the nationally representative research between 23 – 30 September 2020.