Car Insurance FAQ
Your Car Insurance Questions Answered
WHAT TYPES OF CAR INSURANCE ARE THERE?
Generally speaking, there are three types of Car Insurance policy available to motorists. These are:
- Third Party Only
- Third Party, Fire & Theft
- Fully Comprehensive Cover
This is the minimum level of cover needed to legally drive on Irish roads. It only covers on claims against you for damage or injury due to your driving. You are not able to claim for any damage or loss to your own vehicle. Furthermore, you cannot have any addons like No Claims Bonus Protection or Windscreen Cover. This cover is the same as Third Party Only except that you are able to claim if your vehicle is lost or stolen as a result of fire or theft. However, if your vehicle is damaged and you’re at fault, you cannot make a claim. Third Party, Fire and Theft Cover costs more than basic Third Party Only cover, but it gives greater protection. For example, all policies can have extras such as Breakdown Assistance, Windscreen Cover and No Claims Bonus Protection. Comprehensive Cover provides all the protection of Third Party, Fire and Theft Cover. But it also allows you to make a claim for any damage caused to your vehicle – it doesn’t matter who is at fault. It is the highest level of Car Insurance available in Ireland. As a result, it is also the most expensive type of cover. However, it offers the greatest protection and can come with a variety of extra benefits, such as:
- Breakdown Assistance
- Windscreen Cover
- Replacement or Hire Car
- Driving Other Cars Extension
- Damaged or Stolen Personal Belongings Cover
- No Claims Discount Protection
- Named Driver On Vehicle
- Open Driving
- Personal Accident Cover
WHAT BENEFITS CAN YOU GET WITH A POLICY?
Windscreen Cover usually comes as standard with all Comprehensive policies. It is an available benefit for Third Party, Fire and Theft policies at a small, additional cost to the insured. It covers the insured for a repair or replacement of your vehicle’s windscreen. The cover also extends to repairing chips, cracks and scratches. A repairer approved by your insurer must carry out the necessary work. However, we will handle all of the hard work for you. The benefits available are very good and include:
- 24 hour nationwide service
- Generally no payment or excess
- We handle the paper work for you
- No limit on cost of repair or replacement
With Top Insure, making a claim is easy. Simply call us with your unique broker reference number or policy number and we’ll take it from there!
Breakdown Assistance is a vehicle recovery service that will have your vehicle towed to the nearest garage or home (whichever is closer). It covers a range of mishaps like the car not starting, braking down on the road, flat tyre or battery, running out of petrol or locking yourself out of the car. While most insurers offer round the clock service 365 days of the year, there are some things to bear in mind with cover in general:
- The length of roadside labour offered can vary between 30 minutes and 1 hour
- This service that comes in handy if you run out of fuel or help with wheel changing in the event of a flat tyre. The recovery agent can lend a hand if you get a puncture when you are not in a position to change it yourself. However, they will not supply a spare wheel – you have to have your own at the ready!
- Some insurers require your vehicle to be 2km away from your home address before they can recover the vehicle
- Some insurers will offer home start cover which will have your vehicle towed from your house to a garage within the specified maximum distance noted on your policy
- Journey Completion is covered under some of our products which will allow you to get to your destination
Below is the list of Breakdown Assistance numbers from the companies for whom we offer policies so you’re never stranded:
Aviva Insurance Ltd
Cover Centre Insurance Ltd
Light Commercial Vehicle
Footprint Underwriting Ltd
KennCo Underwriting Ltd
Breakdown Assistance Add On
Patrona Underwriting Ltd
Flexi Car 1*
Flexi Car 2*
Flexi Car 3*
Flexi Car 4*
Flexi Car 5*
Flexi Van 1*
Flexi Van 2*
Flexi Van 3*
Flexi Van 4*
Flexi Van 5*
Wrightway Underwriting Ltd
Zurich Insurance Plc
This feature covers you for any damage you do to another car or person while driving someone else’s car. It does not cover any damage you do to the car you borrowed or personal injury you may suffer. Some insurers may exclude the use of your spouse or employers vehicle under this section. Make sure you ask us as companies vary their exclusions.With this feature, your insurer covers the cost of a temporary replacement vehicle if your own vehicle is being repaired due to an accident that you are claiming for. This provides cover for items stolen from a locked boot or glove compartment. Note that items left in the open are not covered (on the seats etc).
WHAT TO DO IN AN ACCIDENT?
If you are unlucky enough to have a motor accident, here’s a step by step guide for you to stay safe, abide by the law and do the right things to allow us to be as efficient as we possibly can.
- Make sure the vehicle has come to a complete stop. Apply the handbrake to prevent the vehicle moving.
- DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE. It’s an offence to leave the scene of an accident.
- Relax and breathe. You are in a tizzy but you will be better off to be calm.
- Hopefully you are not injured, if you are, don’t move as it could cause further injury.
- If you have passengers, make sure they are not injured and in an unsafe position.
- In the event of injuries, call the emergency services & wait for their help.
- If there’s no injuries, watch for oncoming traffic and exit the vehicle when it is safe to do so.
- Check on the third party to ensure they are well.
- Should all be well, call An Garda Síochána to report the incident.
- Swap insurance details with the third parties. Ask for the following information:
- Vehicle Registration Number
- Make & Model of Vehicle
- Their Insurance Company’s Name
- Insurance Policy Number
- Document the number of passengers in the third party vehicle, names and contact details.
- Get the names, contact details and address of any witnesses at the scene.
- Take note of the date, time and exact location of the accident.
- Take Photographs of the scene, damage caused to the vehicles & road markings at the scene.
- Take photographs of any property damage such as street lights, walls, fences, road signs etc.
- Get the name, contact number and the station address of the Garda that calls to the scene.
- Do not discuss liability at the scene, your Insurer will deal with any liability settlement for you.
- While it is fresh in your mind, document the events that caused the accident. (Sometimes details are omitted or become hazy after time)
- Phone us to register the claim: (try to do this within 24 hours if possible). If you have all of the above information we can immediately act without you being asked to gather further information.
- Should your vehicle be non-driveable: An Garda Síochána may have organised for a vehicle recovery agency to collect your vehicle and bring it to a local compound.
- If you have Comprehensive cover: By finding out where the vehicle has been taken, tell us and we may be able to arrange for the vehicle to be brought to one of our approved repairers.
- Most insurers operate an approved repairer scheme: So remember that you will lose benefits because you want to use a non-approved repairer. Benefits include courtesy car for 5-10 days (Depending on the insurer), direct billing, lower policy excess, speedy repair time.
- Give us a call with the estimate of repairing your vehicle, we will have the insurer organise a motor engineer assess the damage on the insurer’s behalf.
- Complete, sign and return the motor accident report form we send you at your earliest convenience along with the other documents requested in the letter.
- Your car will be in a compound after being recovered from the scene
- Tell us where your car is immediately to ensure that you aren’t liable as it may be incurring storage costs
- You may be entitled to a courtesy car from your insurer. Be careful as this will be limited to either 5-10 days, depending on the insurer.
- The claim may not be settled within the 5–10 day period that you have the courtesy car so timing is important as the insurer will only pay for the time specified.
- Organise for a mechanic to view the vehicle and offer an estimate after a visual inspection
- The insurer will have an independent motor engineer appointed to assess the vehicle and determine if the vehicle is a write off, or what category write off the vehicle is. (See category write off explanation below)
- The motor engineer will be in contact with you with the book value offer for your vehicle once he has completed his report and submitted it to the insurer for review
- The offer may be split one of two ways:
- The insurer may make the settlement payment to you and take ownership of the vehicle
- The insurer may make the settlement payment to you which will be less the salvage figure. This means that your written off vehicle has been placed on the salvage dealers market. You will receive the name and contact details of the dealer that has the winning bid.
- If option a settlement is offered by the insurer, in the settlement of a claim with a settlement figure of €2,000, your policy excess will be deducted and the insurer will offer you the remainder. i.e. €2,000 – policy excess of €250 = €1,750.00 settlement payment. *** NB: These figures are fictional, they do not represent any one particular claim, does not represent any one insurer, it does not represent the policy excess on every single policy (Policy excess differ, depending on the insurer, product and criteria), and is a fictional example of how a claim can be settled by an insurer ***
- If option b settlement is offered by the insurer, in the settlement of a claim with a settlement figure of €2,000, your policy excess and the salvage will be deducted from the payment offered by the insurer. You will then receive the salvage settlement from the salvage dealer separately. i.e. €2,000 – €250 (Policy Excess) – €500 (Salvage offer) = €1250 payment by the insurer. The remaining €500 will be settled separately by the salvage dealer once you contact them, so the total claim you get paid out on is the same as option a, just a different route taken by the insurer. *** NB: These figures are fictional, they do not represent any one particular claim, does not represent any one insurer, it does not represent the policy excess on every single policy (Policy excess differ, depending on the insurer, product and criteria), it does not represent the method in which the insurer engages with a salvage dealer, it does not represent the figure offered by a salvage dealer for the value of your written off vehicle and is a fictional example of how a claim can be settled by an insurer ***
- You do not have to sell the vehicle to the salvage dealer. Should you wish to accept the claim settlement and not sell the written off vehicle to the salvage dealer, depending on the category write off, you must have the vehicle repaired fully and your insurer will insist on a report from a motor vehicle engineer which confirms that your vehicle is roadworthy before it can be insured by the insurer.
- Your vehicle will be deemed and recorded as a write off or as the insurers call it a ‘total loss’ resulting from theft or damage related insurance claims.
- Your vehicle may not be economical to repair, which will deem it as written off
- The damage may be too extensive to the vehicle which will not allow the vehicle to be roadworthy if a repair is attempted
- If you purchase a vehicle that was previously involved in a theft claim paid out by an insurer, that particular insurer actually is the legal owner of the vehicle should the claimant failed to notify the vehicle was recovered. We would recommend that you do a background check on any second hand vehicle purchased so you will not be in a compromised position.
- If you are re-insuring a vehicle after it is deemed as a write off by an insurer, you must disclose that to every insurer you engage with for either a quotation or policy as it is a material fact. Failure to do so may result in a decline of a claim, or cancellation of the policy due to non-disclosure
The vehicle must be scrapped with no components or parts to be sold. All parts must be scrapped by a salvage dealer or breaker. These vehicles will be damaged beyond repair resulting from either complete burn-out from a fire, damaged by a flood with no salvageable or serviceable parts. You will receive an end of life certificate once the vehicle has been destroyed in an authorised treatment facility
The vehicle cannot be repaired and is not capable of being roadworthy again, however any non-structural and roadworthy components can be sold for parts. You should take precaution in reusing parts from a category B write off. Parts that are critical, in particular, parts that have integral safety functions should not be reused. Like Category A write-off’s, category B write-off’s will have to be destroyed at an authorised treatment facility however parts can be removed for use or sale. You will receive an end of life certificate from the treatment facility proving the vehicle is no longer is use
This write off is because it’s ‘beyond economical repair. This means that the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than the value of the car. This type of write off will allow the vehicle to be repaired, however the insurer will require a motor engineers report showing that the vehicle is full repaired and roadworthy. The Motor Insurers Anti-Fraud and Theft Register defines category C write-off’s as a repairable loss where repair costs including VAT is more than the pre-accident value of the vehicle.
This isn’t as common as the other three category write-off’s. This means that the vehicle is economically repairable but other circumstances such as vehicle hire payable by the insurer, storage costs incurred because of the replacement part taking a long time to be delivered and installed etc. has made the total claim exceed the pre accident value. This type of write-off is a repairable salvage like category C. Again, this must undergo an inspection from a motor engineer before it is accepted by the insurer.