Breakdown Cover in the Republic of Ireland

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Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1.

Breakdown Cover in the Republic of Ireland

If you’re planning a trip from the UK to the Republic of Ireland, having breakdown cover in place can bring you peace of mind. While our UK breakdown cover applies to Northern Ireland, it’s important to remember that you’ll need a separate European breakdown cover policy if you’re travelling to the Republic of Ireland. 

To make sure your trip goes to plan, here’s more information about driving and breaking down in the Republic of Ireland. 

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Do I need separate breakdown cover for the UK and the Republic of Ireland?

The RAC’s UK breakdown cover applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland only. So if you’re going on holiday to the Republic of Ireland, you should buy a separate European breakdown cover policy to make sure you’re covered if you break down there.

Just so you know...

If you live in Northern Ireland, have UK breakdown cover, and you break down in the Republic of Ireland, the RAC can still rescue you. 

Depending on the level of cover you have, we can tow you up to 10 miles (with Standard cover) or an unlimited tow to your home address or a garage in Northern Ireland (with Advanced or Ultimate cover).  

What to do if you break down in the Republic of Ireland

If you break down the Republic of Ireland, what you do next depends on whether or not you have European breakdown cover.

See below for more information

If you have RAC European Breakdown Cover:

1. Call the RAC on 0800 942 044 – lines are open 24/7 
2. Our team will arrange roadside assistance for you  
3. When help arrives, they’ll fix your vehicle at the roadside, or tow you to the nearest garage for further repairs
4. Depending on the level of cover you have, we’ll also pay towards garage labour costs, onward travel expenses and accommodation fees while your car’s being fixed. 

If you don’t have European breakdown cover:

You’ll need to find a recovery company to come out to you, and to tow you to a garage if needed

If you need repairs at a garage, you’ll need to find a garage you can trust 

In addition, you’ll need to cover all recovery, labour and repair costs yourself

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I live in Ireland, what’s the best breakdown cover for me?

 If you live in Northern Ireland: you should buy our UK breakdown cover. This will cover you in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. We can also rescue you if you break down in the Republic of Ireland – depending on the level of cover you have, we can either tow you up to 10 miles, or an unlimited distance to your home address or a garage in Northern Ireland.

 If you live in the Republic of Ireland: the RAC’s UK breakdown cover doesn’t apply to the Republic of Ireland. If you’re travelling from the UK to the Republic of Ireland, you can buy our European breakdown cover. 

Breakdown cover in Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, the RAC’s UK breakdown cover is ideal for you. This will also cover you in England, Wales and Scotland. 

In addition, if your home address is in Northern Ireland and you break down in the Republic of Ireland, the RAC will provide you with roadside assistance and a 10-mile tow as standard. If your breakdown cover includes an unlimited tow (or ‘recovery’), we can tow you from the Republic of Ireland back to your home address, or to a garage in Northern Ireland.

At the RAC, it’s good to know we offer a complete breakdown service as standard for new members – including roadside and home rescue, and garage support and alternative transport with all cover levels.

Important contact numbers

Keep these numbers in your phone just in case you need them

RAC European Breakdown: 0800 942044

Emergency Services: 112 

The British Embassy in Dublin: +353 (1) 205 3700

Irish breakdown cover - FAQs

Q. Will the RAC provide me with a replacement vehicle?
Yes - if your cover allows. With the RAC, our Comprehensive policy will provide a hire car whilst your vehicle is being repaired, and will cover costs up to £125 per day, and a maximum of £1,500. Our top level of European breakdown cover, Comprehensive Plus, extends that to a maximum of £3,000 making sure you’ve got transport in case repairs take longer.  Terms and conditions apply.
Q. Does RAC European breakdown cover apply in all countries?
Again, this depends on the type of cover you have in place. RAC European Breakdown cover is arranged, by country, into zones; Republic of Ireland is in zone 1, alongside countries such as France, Belgium and Germany. Other European countries, like Italy and Spain, are in zone 2, so if your cover is only applicable for zone 1 and you wish to drive in a zone 2 country, you’ll need to change your cover.

Preparing for your visit to the Republic of Ireland

In many European countries, it’s a legal requirement to carry certain equipment in the car. In comparison, it’s a little more relaxed in Ireland and there are similarities with the UK in this regard - but it’s still best to be prepared. Have a look through this checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared for driving in Ireland.

Documents and paperwork

You’ll need to have a valid driving licence with you when driving in Ireland, and your motor insurance documents, too. In addition, you should display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, so it shows where your car is registered. The exception to this is if your car is fitted with a registration plate with a circle of 12 stars on a blue background - known as Euro-plates.

Vehicle equipment

In many European countries it’s compulsory to have certain items of kit and equipment with you when driving - or risk the possibility of a fine. Republic of Ireland is more similar to the UK, in that many of these items aren’t stipulated, by law, to be carried in a car but it’s still advisable to have them with you - especially in the case of a breakdown.

It’s a great idea to find room in your car for things like a warning triangle - ideally two - which can be placed in front and behind your broken down vehicle to advise other motorists that you’ve pulled over and require assistance. High visibility vests or jackets might also be useful, particularly if you’re visiting Ireland in the winter, when evenings are darker earlier. Make sure you have enough for everyone in the car; if you need to get out of the vehicle while you wait for help, you’ll all be clearly visible to other motorists.

What else? A first aid kit, torch and fire extinguisher are all recommended. Take a look at our selection of European Driving Kits which can provide everything you need.

Vehicle maintenance

It can be really beneficial to give your vehicle a bit of TLC before you travel. Run through some maintenance checks to make sure your car is in tip-top condition, and to avoid any minor issues causing major problems. Checking the condition of your tyres - that they’re fully inflated and not worn below acceptable levels - can help to minimise the risk of an accident. Also, check the fluid levels of your car - water and coolant - and inspect your windscreen wipers closely, looking out for any nicks and tears which might then affect their performance.

You could also book your vehicle into a garage for a service before you travel. Whether one is due or not, having a professional look over the car to deal with any potential problems can really help to ensure it’s ready for a road trip. 

Rules of the road in the Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland doesn’t share the same rules of the road as many other countries in the continent. In fact, it’s broadly in line with the UK, certainly in terms of which side of the road motorists drive on. Just like the UK, you drive on the left-hand side of the road, and give way to cars approaching from the right - which makes it easier for UK motorists to adapt.

However, as in Europe, speed limits are presented in kilometres format so be aware of this when reading signs and understanding the difference between that and miles, which is used in the UK. This applies particularly with speed limits. In Ireland, the limit in towns and city centres is 50 km/h, 80 km/h in regional roads, and 120 km/h on motorways - approximately 30 mph, 60 mph and 75 mph.

Seat belts must be worn by everyone in the car, and something else to bear in mind is the difference at traffic lights. In Ireland, the lights go from red to green; amber is used before a red to advise stopping unless it’s unsafe to do.

Many motorways in Ireland have tolls on them, so it’s worth looking these up before you travel to check your route and pre-empt any potential delays and likely charges.

Read more about road rules in Ireland and driving in the country here.

Other important considerations before travelling to the Republic of Ireland

Driving is just one consideration when you’re visiting another country. There are other things to think about, too, not least travel insurance. This is just as important as the vehicle-based documents detailed earlier in this guide; you need to ensure you have cover in place for the length of your trip. It’s a good idea to let your bank know you’re away from home, too, so when you withdraw any money or use your debit or credit card, your bank understand it’s not a potentially fraudulent use. If you haven’t told them, they may flag it as a security issue. Get in touch with your mobile phone provider too, so you’re sure you can use your phone as normal without any restrictions.

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