Does Car Insurance Cover Accidents When NCT Has Expired?

Caeva O'Callaghan | October 16th, 2020

Car Insurance cover without NCT

There are many reasons why you might drive without an NCT. Unfortunately, none of them are likely to be looked on kindly by your car insurance. But will they cover you if you have an accident?

In short, it depends. How long has your NCT been out of date? Did a lack of roadworthiness cause the accident – or make it worse?

If your car was in a good roadworthy condition, you should be fine. This is even if you had an accident shortly after your NCT expiry. But negligence on your part will invalidate your claim.

In this article, we’ll discuss questions like:

  • My NCT is out of date – can I still drive?
  • Will my insurance cover me if I have an accident with an expired NCT?
  • How does COVID-19 affect NCT testing?

In any event, the insurance company will have to deal with the third party element of your claim. This may be property damage or injury to a third party. This is even if they refuse to pay out for your part of the claim.

Your car must be roadworthy

Roadworthiness is always more important than having a valid certificate on hand. Of course, this is no excuse for not having an NCT. In most situations, driving without a valid NCT certificate is illegal and any insurance claim is void.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions are in place. Also, the deadline on everybody’s NCT test has been given a 3 month extension as of August 2020. This means you can get away with driving without an NCT if you haven’t been able to book one. However, your car still needs to be roadworthy.

But what does “roadworthy” mean? It means the responsibility is on you to make sure your car is fit for the road. Say you had a collision because your steering was faulty due to wear and tear. The third-party aspect of the insurance claim will be paid. But, your insurance company probably wouldn’t pay for the damage to your vehicle because it was not roadworthy.

The COVID-19 extension to NCTs

If you were due to submit your vehicle for an NCT between 28 March and 30 June, your test date has been extended for 4 months.

If you were due to submit your vehicle for an NCT before 28 March 2020, you may now book a test. NCT offices are now open.

For Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test (CVRT) test, the extension is for 3 months. This gives you extra time to make sure your vehicle is up to scratch.

For example, if your car was due and NCT in August and you went online to book, it would give you a date in December. This is because test centres are currently dealing with those people whose cars were due for their NCT in April.

The NCTS will be reopening test centres on a phased basis. This is subject to final approval from Government on Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap for reopening Society and Business. If information or guidance changes, they will reassess and change the protocol.

Vehicles with a test due date prior to 28 March and those who were unable to complete their test due to the defects with vehicle lift equipment earlier in the year can book the NCT online. If you have made a booking and Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap does not proceed, your booking will cancel and the provider will advise you on what to do next.

Driving with an NCT booking

Let’s say your NCT expires next week, but you forgot to book it in time and the only date available was two weeks from now. This would leave you for a week without a valid NCT certificate, even though you have a valid appointment at a test centre. If you can show proof that you’ve booked a test, can you still drive? Or will you risk a fine and penalty points?

Unfortunately, you absolutely shouldn’t drive without a valid NCT test, if you were able to book it within good time. Forgetting isn’t a good excuse, and neither your car insurance company nor the Gardai will regard it as one.

If you print out a confirmation of your booking and keep it within the car, this will at least stand in your favour if a dire emergency means you must drive. But unless it’s truly a life or death scenario, you’re unlikely to get away without at least some kind of penalty.

For more advice on driving during COVID-19 and how car insurance interacts with the NCT test, give us a call today. You can contact us at 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. We look forward to helping you.