IT can cost you €1,300 more to insure your car, depending on which company you use.
A new survey by the National Consumer Agency shows that insurance prices for men and women are now equal after the European Union banned price discrimination – but premiums still vary enormously with different insurers.
And with one in four drivers still failing to shop around, that means thousands of drivers are paying way more than they need to for cover.
The biggest price difference was €1,335 for third party, fire and theft cover for a 20-year-old driver – with quotes ranging from €954 with FBD up to €2,289 with Liberty Insurance.
Meanwhile, comprehensive insurance for the same 20-year-old driver ranged from €1,362 with FBD to €2,400 with Liberty Insurance. Several companies – AIG Europe, Allianz, RSA and Zurich – refused to quote for 20-year-old drivers.
For a 25-year-old teacher, the price of comprehensive cover ranged from €443 with Aviva to €1,068 with AIG Europe.
The variation in price between different insurers tends to reduce as drivers age and so are considered less of an insurance risk, but there are still savings of up to €166, the survey shows.
For a 50-year-old driver with two penalty points, comprehensive cover ranged from €298 with AIG to €464 with Aviva.
NCA director of research Fergal O'Leary said the results showed it was well worth shopping around, particularly for younger drivers.
"The NCA's consumer research shows that one in four consumers are still not shopping around for their motor insurance and may be missing out on large savings," he said.
The impact of penalty points on the price of insurance varied, although all insurers provided a quote for drivers with two penalty points.
However, only three of the eight insurers quoted for cover where the same driver had six penalty points, with Axa adding nearly €100 to the cost, Liberty adding nearly €80 and FBD not adding anything extra – though in such cases, drivers usually have to phone rather than get an online quote.
Some insurers also provided breakdown cover as standard or as an optional extra. However, the level of this varied, with some only providing roadside assistance and limited driveway assistance and others also providing a tow-away service and help to enable the driver get to their destination.
Mr O'Leary urged drivers to check carefully which benefits were provided and what they cost.
"If you have bought a separate breakdown-assistance package, you should compare the benefits of it to that provided as standard by your motor-insurance policy to ensure you are not paying twice for the same cover.
"It is important, though, to carefully check and compare the options on a like-for-like basis."
The full survey – and tips for getting a better deal on car insurance – are available at www.nca.ie