Emerald Isle

Third Week – Buying a Car

When the whole family is coming along for the relocation, there is a need for a car. Public transportation in Ireland, especially in Dublin is top notch compared to what we have in Penang. On top of that, it can be more expensive to drive because of parking and petrol prices. However, nothing beats the convenience of getting around when you need it. It is advised to get a car if you want to explore Ireland. Outside of Dublin, the public transport is pretty bad.

Got the Nissan Serena mid 2018 and has been everyone’s favourite car. We took it down to Johor and had great dreams of going places. Unfortunately pandemic hit and most of the time it was parked. The kids went with us to see the car in the showroom and they gave the thumbs up.

Where To Start

There are a few sites that you can visit to see prices of cars, but we kinda like https://www.carsireland.ie/. We find it easier for us to filter out the desired cars on that site. We always have the impression that cars in other countries are far cheaper than Malaysia. I don’t feel it is the case for Ireland. Not many cars that fit our requirement and budget. We settled for a second hand Peugeot from a dealer in Navan, one hour away from Dublin. We wanted something affordable, end up with a Peugeot 2008 from 2019 that cost €19,450. Convert to that to MYR, that would come to around RM100,000. Either way, I don’t think it’s cheap but we just have to bite the bullet. I would have preferred a VW Passat but that’s adding more than €10k to the existing budget.

The reason we get a car from a town 1 hour away is because there is a shortage of second hand cars in Ireland, especially Dublin. News was saying that prices of cars has increased more than 20% since October 2021. It just seems there is a shortage of everything in Ireland when we came.

The General Steps

Buying a car is easy, we just call the sales person in the car shop. From what we can observe, it seems that the car shop normally sells new and used car. In my case, the Navan dealer sells new Hyundai and Nissan, then they have this huge used car lot behind their shop. We have to call ahead so that they can bring the car out front for us to check out and test drive.

When we confirm we wanted the car, the sales man said they need to get it checked out and service so we have to collect it another day. He explained that I need to get an insurance for the car before he can hand it over to me after the service. This is the important part that I will cover in the next section. This is the part where it can be tricky and the difficulties are hidden in the details.

We went back to collect the following week and wanted to pay for the car. Since we are new to the country, we did not try to get a loan. When I wanted to pay for the car, apparently I needed to get a bank draft since the debit card limit is only €2500 a day. I only found out when I was trying to pay for the car. Lucky the salesman was patient with this foreigner, pointed me to the nearest bank that so happen to still be open. Getting the bank draft is easy, just fill a form and the counter cashier will issue the bank draft. It is a good 1KM walk to town from his shop though.

And with that.. the car is mine and I drive it home.

Getting Quotes for Auto Insurance

It sounds simple but really there’s a lot of work to get an auto insurance especially if you do not have an Irish driving license. Our Malaysian license can be used in Ireland for a year and we can only register for driving classes after 6 months in Ireland.

There are only a handful of insurance companies in Ireland. The sales person recommended An Post, AXA and FBC. All these companies ask you to start to get a quote online.

In my case, we started to get a quotation from An Post online, when it came to the question of the type of driving license (ours being from Malaysia), they asked to call the center and not able to proceed online. I called the center and they took down my information, what is the registration plate of the car.. my personal details.. etc.. I thought all went well. Only after the weekend, they called me back to say they won’t provide a quote as they don’t insure drivers without Irish license.

Purchasing Auto Insurance

I read in facebook groups that sometimes Axa will insure depends on my “luck”. So I proceed to call Axa who asked me to fill up the online form so that they can process quickly. I still have to fill up the online form and then call them back with the reference number. They quoted me €1400 to provide comprehensive insurance for both drivers. I didn’t hesitate to accept since it’s difficult to get an insurance. To give a perspective, my relocation agent who drives a BMW is paying €400 for insurance. I hear people say insurance without Irish driving license is expensive, if you get insured in the first place, but I was not expecting it to be so much more expensive

The story sounds simple except that it was coming to the Easter / Good Friday weekend. I was not sure if I could get the insurance and the car in time before I have to return the rental car that was provided with my relocation. I was not able to get a car till I get my bank account and remit the money from Malaysia. It is all a sequence of events that need to happen, and all have to be done within the time that I was provided in my relocation benefits.


I was told, after the car was handed to me, the salesman will send the vehicle registration form to government. I will get a new vehicle registration certificate. Once I get that certificate, I am supposed to go to motortax.ie, login using the car plate number and the certificate number, and pay for the tax.

When I did that, it said the disc is on the way, which is weird because I did not pay anything yet. So I called up motortax office and they said the vehicle had exemption. So we are asked to download a form (RF100A), fill it up and send it to them by post. Looking at the form, there are some fields we don’t know such as the previous tax expiration so that we are not liable for the previous owner’s dues. It got too complicated so we called back the shop to get it sorted. Seems pretty easy, we just declare which month we want it taxed. Since we bought it mid April, our tax starts from the first day of April. The form only has the month for the tax, no date unlike Malaysia.

We have filled up the form and posted, hope to get the disc soon.

Display Tags

Cars in Ireland need to display (like Malaysia road tax) 3 types of disc. One is for the insurance, one for motor tax and the third is for “MOT”. The third tax is only valid for cars that are more than 5 years old after they get clearance from MOT. Need to bring car into workshop to get it checked out for the MOT approval.

Hi, I’m neeshen

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