Claims, Excess and Fault - Our Car Insurance Jargon Buster

Published on 19 April 2024

Insurance can be complicated, but we work hard to make it easy. Our team of 400 people supports more than a quarter of a million Irish customers every day, delivering them simple, straightforward protection when they need it. How do we do it?  

By talking about insurance in plain English, with minimum complexity and maximum cover. To help you get a clear picture of our car insurance products, we’ve put together a quick cheat-sheet of common phrases you might see or hear when you’re buying car insurance in Ireland.  

Policy: This is the specific protection that you purchase from an insurance company. It will detail exactly what is covered, for how long, and at what cost (often referred to as the ‘premium’ which is usually paid annually or monthly). It’s important that you take the time to read the terms and conditions of your policy to ensure the details are correct, in case you have to make a claim in the future.

Third-Party Cover: This is the minimum level of insurance cover required under Irish law. It will usually cover injuries to other people (including your passengers) and damage to other people’s property (including their cars), but not your own car.  You can upgrade the policy to Third Party, Fire and Theft, which will also cover you if your car is burned or stolen, but not damaged in an accident you were involved in.

‘Fully Comp’: This is shorthand for a Comprehensive car insurance policy, which is much more extensive, covering third party, fire and theft as well as damage or loss caused to your car in an accident (subject to the terms and conditions of the policy). This means you won’t be left out of pocket if you need to repair or replace your car, which is particularly important if you drive a high-value vehicle.

Renewal: Insurance policies are usually valid for 12 months only, so they need to be renewed at the same time every year. You can renew your motor insurance policy online quickly and easily, and your new disc will be available to download via your Customer Portal. Don’t forget to update your personal details, especially if your driving circumstances or choice of car has changed.

Open Drive: This is a very useful benefit that many families like to add onto their car insurance policies. It provides cover for other drivers to use your vehicle if the driver is between the ages of 25 and 70, has your consent or is acting on your instruction as the policyholder, holds a full Irish, UK or EU driving licence and has not had any accidents, claims, convictions or penalty points in the last three years.

Breakdown Assistance: At Liberty Insurance, we know how frustrating it is to be stuck at the side of the road with a broken-down car. That’s why we offer optional breakdown cover with 24/7 roadside assistance, including home start (with a maximum of three call-outs per year). Breakdown assistance includes mechanical breakdown, flat battery, fire, attempted theft, malicious damage, punctures and lost or stolen keys. Breakdown Assistance is an optional extra and does not impact your No Claims Bonus.

No Claims Discount: If you have no claims on your motor insurance policy, you may be eligible for a No Claims Discount, which is a reduction in the cost of your premiums as a reward for safe driving. Otherwise known as a No Claims Bonus, it builds every year up to a limit of nine years — so the more you drive without any claims, the bigger your discount will be.

Excess: This refers to the portion of any insurance claim that you must pay yourself before the insurance company will cover the rest. The standard excess on Liberty car insurance policies is €300, so if a claim is made on your policy, you have to pay this sum before your insurer makes any payment. Increasing the excess on your policy can be a good way to lower the cost of your insurance premiums.  

Fault: A small word with big consequences, this refers to who is at fault for an accident or damage, from an insurance point of view (i.e., whose insurer will have to pay). Deciding who is at fault isn’t always easy, particularly in cases of road traffic accidents, so you should always contact your insurance company for guidance. If you’re wondering what to do in a car accident, you can read our comprehensive advice here.

Claims: Motor insurance policies are designed to help soften the effects of the unexpected. Should you find yourself with a stolen, damaged or crashed car, you will need to make a claim against your insurance policy to help pay for repairs or replacement. Making a car insurance claim with Liberty Insurance is easy, and 97% of claims settled without hassle or confusion.  

Courtesy Car: Often found under the ‘Loss of Use’ section in your policy, this is a benefit that helps keep you on the road while your car is being repaired due to a covered loss.  Depending on your Liberty Insurance motor policy, if your vehicle is involved in an accident and is repairable, you may be provided with a courtesy car for up to 10 days while your vehicle is being repaired by one of our recommended repairers.

If you’re still figuring out the differences between policies and premiums, dive into our helpful ‘Insurance Explained’ videos, which talk you through motor insurance, home insurance, making a claim and buying insurance in Ireland. They’ll help demystify the process, but if you still have questions, check out our FAQs page or reach out to our friendly team.

If you’re looking for affordable car insurance policies in Ireland, our comparison page can help you choose the right policy for your needs — whether you’re a young driver, female driver, experienced driver or anything in between. Plus, you can get up to €300 off when you get a quote and buy your car insurance online. (Acceptance criteria, terms & conditions apply).

And don’t forget, you also have the option to personalise your cover with a range of extra features and benefits. That’s real freedom. That’s Liberty.