What you need to know

Although Irish consumers are generally very satisfied with their current car insurance policies, price remains the most important factor when it comes to choosing a policy or insurer. Most consumers shop around at renewal time, which suggests that customer loyalty towards insurers is not particularly prominent, while there is a high level of willingness on the part of consumers to embrace new and emerging technologies if doing so results in lower premiums. Although premiums have fallen slightly of late, they remain high by historical standards, which is likely to keep consumers keenly focused on ensuring they are receiving the best possible value for money.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour and market dynamics in the car insurance sector.

  • Car insurance ownership and the types of policies owned.

  • Consumers’ renewal behaviour and how they pay their premiums.

  • Consumers’ tendency to shop around, compare prices and switch insurers.

  • Consumers’ attitudes towards new technology and electric vehicles, and general satisfaction with existing policies.

Issues covered in this Report

This Report explores the private car insurance market in Ireland. It includes an analysis of the main drivers impacting the sector, including the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, drawing on extensive consumer research (Dynata, January 2021), this Report assesses and discusses ownership of car insurance among Irish consumers, ownership of cars among Irish consumers, the types of car insurance owned, renewal behaviour, how consumers pay their premiums, shopping around and price comparison, attitudes towards new technologies, and general satisfaction with existing policies.


  • Motor insurance includes cover for motor vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, vans, etc. This includes the following types:

  • Third party – covers liability for injuries to other people (including passengers), damage to other people’s property, liability of passengers for accidents caused by them and liability arising from use of a caravan or trailer.

  • TPFT (Third party, fire & theft) – as above plus cover for fire damage and theft of vehicle.

  • Comprehensive – is the most popular form of motor insurance and includes protection of the policyholder’s vehicle in addition to the cover available through a TPFT policy. Policies may also offer additional benefits such as medical expenses and legal costs.

  • Other terms used in the Report include:

  • GWP (Gross Written Premium) – premium income accepted during the year, which is quoted gross of reinsurance ceded, but net of reinsurance accepted.

  • NWP (Net Written Premium) – premium income net of reinsurance ceded but gross of commission and excluding premium tax.

  • Reinsurance – the cover insurance companies can purchase to protect themselves against large losses or an unexpected aggregation of losses.

  • Underwriting result – the profit or loss achieved by an insurer on insurance underwriting activity, calculated as premium income less the cost of claims and the insurer’s expenses in connection with that business. It has been common for insurers to make underwriting losses since they also receive investment income, which generally offsets the underwriting loss.

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