Can I Get Car Insurance If I Hold A Foreign Driver’s License?
Caeva O'Callaghan | May 8th, 2023
Welcome to Ireland! If you want to drive while you’re here, you will need to have a valid license. But can you get car insurance with a foreign driving license?
Yes. In Ireland, it’s possible to drive on our roads if you hold a license from a EU or EEA member state. Otherwise, you can convert your license to an Irish one.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- What car insurance do I need to drive in Ireland?
- Am I able to drive in Ireland with a foreign license?
- How do I exchange my foreign license for an Irish one?
As long as you obey the laws of the road and are a courteous and responsible driver, you’ll be welcome to drive in Ireland.
What car insurance do I need to drive in Ireland?
Third party car insurance is the minimum legal level of cover needed to drive a car in Ireland. It covers you if you damage someone else’s property or injure them while driving. It will also cover your passengers.
Basically speaking, third party car insurance covers anyone involved except you. It will help pay for the costs of repairing damage and mitigating the impact of injuries.
Every driver on the road has, at a minimum – or should have – third party cover. If they do not then they are committing an offence.
Buying third party only car insurance is ideal for drivers who can afford to pay repair costs for their own car without needing to claim on their insurance. The other party will be taken care of by the insurance claim, but you will need to pay for any damage to your car or costs arising from personal injuries yourself.
Third party only insurance will not cover you for:
- Damage to your car if it’s stolen, damaged or destroyed by fire
- Damage to your personal belongings
- Your windscreen
For extra peace of mind, it’s best to get third party, fire and theft cover, or comprehensive car insurance. These will cover more risks and help you feel safer on the road.
Am I able to drive in Ireland with a foreign license?
Yes. If you have a driving licence issued by an EU or EEA member state you can drive in Ireland as long as your existing licence is valid and you have the proper insurance.
If you are resident in Ireland and have a UK driving licence, your licence is no longer recognised in Ireland. You should exchange your licence for an Irish licence as soon as possible. You cannot exchange a UK licence if it has been expired for more than one year. You will continue to be licensed during the exchange process. The NDLS (National Driver Licence Service) will give you a receipt to confirm you are exchanging a licence.
You can exchange your foreign driving licence issued by an EU member state or an EEA member state (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) for an Irish driving licence. Doing so costs €55, but any required eyesight tests or medical examinations are not free of charge.
If your driving licence was issued by a country that is not recognised for driving licence exchange, you cannot exchange your licence for an Irish one and you’ll need to start from scratch and take your theory test to obtain a learner’s permit. However, if this happens, you will only need to take 6 essential driver training lessons instead of the usual 12 lessons.
How do I exchange my foreign license for an Irish one?
You can apply to exchange your licence online or in person at an National Driving License Service (NDLS) centre.
If you’ve lost your license, or it expired, you’ll need a letter of entitlement from the licensing authority in the state that issued your licence, and it needs to be properly translated into English with a certified service.
Once that happens, it’s imperative that you check your insurance is in place before you take to the roads. As long as you have valid third party only cover, you’ll be safe and legally allowed to drive.