According to a survey on motor insurance by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the savings that can be made vary depending on the level of cover required and the individual’s circumstances.
For comprehensive cover, the difference in quotes received was found to be €156 to €1,249, while for third- party fire and theft the difference in quotes ranged from €137 to €975.
The study compared motor insurance quotes from eight insurance companies based on nine driver profiles which vary in age, location, driver experience and other lifestyle factors.
It found potential savings across all of the profiles. For example for a 67-year-old, driving a Ford Fiesta in Dublin there was over €170 in the difference between the lowest and highest quote.
For one of the profiles, an increase in penalty points from two to six points resulted in a rise of 37% for comprehensive cover and 49% for third-party fire and theft. Just two of the eight insurers surveyed provided a quote for a driver with six penalty points.
The survey also revealed a wide variation in benefits offered and the range of excesses included in policies.
Excesses (the amount which a consumer will have to pay in the event of a claim) for comprehensive policies ranged from €200 to €550 and for third-party fire and theft the policy excesses varied between zero and €500.
In terms of no-claims bonuses, the survey found there were differences across each of the companies in the application of the bonus. For example, there were variations in the number of years over which the bonus can be earned and the maximum bonus discount that could be earned varied between 50% and 75%.
Seven of the eight insurers who participated in the survey allow consumers to pay for their motor insurance by installments.
The charge for paying using this method ranged from 9.5% to 20.1% of the policy premium.
Director of communications and consumer help at the commission Fergal O’Leary said the study showed how worthwhile it is to research your options and get quotes from more than one company when buying a new policy or renewing existing motor insurance policy.
“Our research shows potential savings of up to €1,249, so not taking time to consider your options could mean you are paying more than you need to.
A new address or, in some cases, a new profession, can have implications in terms of the cost of your motor insurance policy — if the change increases the risk of accident or theft. So remember to contact your insurer and tell them about any significant changes, not doing so could mean your policy is invalid,” he said.
Mr O’Leary advised consumers that, when comparing policies, it is very important to not just compare costs but also the benefits and conditions, to make sure people know exactly what they are paying.