Why Insurance in Northern Ireland is Different

Insurance across the UK is generally the same for cars of all types but there are some differences in policies in Northern Ireland. One of the biggest differences is the price – car insurance is around 11% more expensive than in other parts of the UK. So why is the market a little different in Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK?

Why It Costs More

There are several factors that influence car insurance and make it cost more in Northern Ireland, according to a paper released by the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Library Service.

Lack Of Choice

Top of the list of factors is a lack of choice. Unlike the rest of the UK, the car insurance market is a relatively restricted one with only a few companies offering policies. As with any market, the less competition there is, the higher prices are. Lack of competition means insurers have little motivation to offer good deals.

Uninsured Drivers

As a result of rising costs, more and more people have turned to simply driving uninsured. This means that when these people are involved in an accident, the pay out comes from a central pot that all insured contribute towards. Fewer drivers paying insurance means less goes into the pot, meaning the insurers raise their premiums to cover the amount of money required to add to the pot. This creates a kind of vicious circle.

Legal Matters

The Northern Ireland laws covering insurance are a little different to those in the rest of the UK. One of the biggest rule differences is that insurance pay outs tend to be higher in the province than in the rest of the country. This means insurers need to collect more money to cover these pay outs and hence the increase in premiums.

Other Factors

The study in 2011 also highlighted the relatively high number of young drivers in Northern Ireland compared with England, Wales and Scotland. As younger drivers are statistically more likely to have a claim and therefore generate higher premiums, this can make the whole market seem higher. Other factors include the high traffic on rural roads and a higher than average annual mileage, all of which drive up the cost of insurance.

How To Bring Prices Down

So, what can Northern Ireland drivers do to reduce the price of their insurance where possible? There are always things that can be done to keep prices down while still ensuring that the policy is valid and covers everything you need.

The choice of car can have a factor – the bigger the engine, the more expensive the car will be to insure as it is a bigger risk. Smaller engine cars or electric hybrids are the lowest to insure so you can consider this when buying a car.

No claims discount is the best way to reduce insurance cost and this is built up over time. So driving responsibly and trying to avoid making claims where possible can result in your insurance cost going down.