Irish Breakdown Cover

European cover from just £6 per day

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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 Ireland

Off on a trip to Ireland and planning to drive while you’re there? If so, you’re in for a real treat. Ireland is a beautiful country, blessed with inspiring landscapes that provide some truly scenic drives, particularly along the coastlines.

However, before you get behind the wheel and enjoy the freedom that driving brings, it’s worth checking up on the rules of the road, the motoring laws in Ireland, and any particular items of equipment your car may need to carry. While driving in Ireland is similar to driving in the UK, there are some differences to be aware of.


What happens if I break down in Ireland?
Preparing for your visit to Ireland
Important contact numbers to store in your phone
Rules of the road in Ireland
Other important considerations before travelling in Ireland

What happens if I break down in Ireland?

If you’re driving in the Republic of Ireland, you need to have specific breakdown cover that applies when you’re there. Although it may feel close to home, remember that it’s not in the UK and so your UK breakdown cover policy won’t be valid in the Republic of Ireland.

So, if you have taken out RAC European breakdown cover, call us and we’ll come out to you at the roadside, aiming to have your car repaired and running again as soon as possible. The contact number you need to call us is 0800 942044.

If you’ve broken down and don’t have European breakdown cover with the RAC, you can still call us. From the Republic of Ireland, our contact number is 1 800 535005 - this is a freephone number from a landline.

Preparing for your visit to 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. 

Important contact numbers to store in your phone

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

Rules of the road in Ireland

Republic of Ireland may be classified as being in Europe in terms of breakdown cover, but it 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 in 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.