| 8.7°C Dublin

How the cost of driving is putting these motorists off the road - 'I'm better off getting the bus'

  • 'It's cheaper for me to get insured as a rally driver'
  • 'They wouldn't insure my car as it was too old'
  • 2,764,069 licences issued, but many being deterred from driving
  • Less learners on the road


Almost three million people in Ireland currently hold driving licences, yet many are struggling with the cost of running a car.

The average price of motor premiums has surged by 60pc since 2010 according to the Central Statistics Office.

On the other hand, some people who have learner permits or cars which are older than eight years can't get quotes from certain insurance companies.

Independent.ie spoke to a number of people about their experiences of trying to stay behind the wheel.

From learner drivers to those with full licences, the feedback was mostly negative, with the cost of insurance being a common problem. 

Jess Gilroy (25) - 'Some insurers refused to give me a quote'



Status: Learner driver

From: Dublin

Drives: 2000 Volkswagen Polo, 1 litre

Career: Health care assistant

I got my first car in January and it was an absolute nightmare trying to get insured as a learner. I rang about 30 different places, some refusing to even give me a quote, and eventually ended up going with the AA, which cost me €1,720 for the year - the cheapest I could find.

The most expensive quote I got was over €6,000 with First Ireland. It's an absolute joke.

I was insured as a named driver for six months on my mam's policy but nowhere counts that as it has to be strictly a year.

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of business.

This field is required

I think being 25 helped bring the cost of mine down slightly, I don't know how younger drivers are going to get on the road without having full-time jobs or parents willing to pay crazy money for insurance.

Sean Rooney - 'It's cheaper for me to get insured as a rally driver'

Status: Full licence

From: Donegal

Drives: Can't afford a car or insurance

Career: Student

I could drive on the roads of Donegal at 2 or 3 times the speed limit for €20 for the weekend and then not be able to drive during the week because it costs €2,500 to insure the car for everyday use.

I can't afford to insure a car in order to be on the road as a regular user. My uncle gave me his rally car as a present a few years ago, but I wouldn't be able to drive myself in a normal car, I have to have my father drive me.

At the end of a rally event, I have to load up all the stuff onto the trailer and then wait for someone else to drive me home.

Tara Mary Watson-Lawless (28) - 'I couldn't get a quote because my car was 16 years old'



Status: Full licence

From: UK but living in Ireland

Drives: 2002 Nissan Micra

Career: Team leader at financial company

I first got my licence in 2010 and was put on my parents car for 3 years, my parents car was then sold and I did not have my own car until 2015 when I got a better job and could afford it. I assumed that I could use my previous driving experience (3 yrs) to help reduce my own policy - I was wrong.

Apparently there can be NO GAP at all in policy and was a new driver with no experience for insurance purposes, meaning a lot of insurers would not unsure me as I was deemed too risky.

This raised my quote from €370 odd to about €700. Next year it comes up for renewal and with 1 year No Claims Bonus my quote was €1,300 .Another thing was that my car was 16 years old - another reason I could not get quotes was because of this. Some companies (FBD) do not insure cars over 8 years of age. My quote this year with 7 years licence and 2 years No Claims Bonus was €1,050. All these quotes are 3rd party - so a very hefty price. I cannot get a car over 1 litre as I am afraid that the price will be even higher.

I am lucky and have a good job so I am able to afford it. The whole reason I got a car in the first place was to avoid public transport as it was so slow and expensive for this slow service. But if I had to take a lower paid job I would definitely not be able to afford a car. Iwas in a very low paid job before and it would have been impossible to afford, especially with the price of rent.

Less learners on the road

Figures published in the Road Safety Authority's 2015 Annual Report show that there has been a significant decrease in the number of people who hold learner permits.

In 2005, 404,607 people had a provisional licence, while in 2015, only 240,442 held learner permits.

A spokesman for the RSA said this is down to the backlog for driving tests being reduced, meaning more people now have full licences.

However, some learners admit that they feel there's "no point" getting a full licence.

Enya Martin - 'I'm better off getting the bus'



Status: Learner driver

From: Dublin

Drives: Can't afford a car or insurance

Career: Comedian/Advertising and marketing

I just did my theory test but all these horror stories I'm hearing off people about insurance is just making me put it off even longer. I'm self-employed, I can't afford to be paying €4,000 on a car.

I want to do all the lessons so I can get my insurance a bit cheaper but I feel at this stage the costs will only get higher and I'd be better off saving a fortune and just getting the bus. It's especially expensive for people who only use a car for leisure, when you put every other bill on top of it.

I also know my insurance will be higher because I live in Clondalkin and I've been told it's a liability to have a car parked overnight in my area.

Most Watched