Car Hire Knowhow

Can I drive a hire car across the border in Ireland?

Can I drive a hire car across the border in Ireland?

The two parts of Ireland are divided by a national border. The Republic of Ireland covers most of Ireland. The northeast area, known as Northern Ireland, is part of the UK. It’s important to let the rental company know that you’re planning to cross the border in their car, to make sure you’re protected by insurance/cover in the other country.

What do I need to do to drive over the Irish border?  

Rental companies in both parts of Ireland usually allow their cars across the border. But do tell the car hire company if you plan to travel into the other country. Then they can extend the insurance/protection you have so it covers taking the car ‘abroad’. 

The counter staff will fill in a VE103 form for you, which allows you to take a hire car into a new country temporarily. The car will then be covered for both the Republic of Ireland and the UK and you’re free to explore.

Without this extension, you won’t have any damage, theft or third-party cover while you’re over the border, and you’d be charged for the full repair costs if anything goes wrong. You may also be charged a large fine – up to £500/€500 – by the car hire company for taking their car abroad without letting them know. 

Will I pay a fee to cross the Irish border? 

The rental company will probably charge a ‘cross-border fee’ when you pick up the car. This fee will extend your rental’s basic damage, theft and third-party protection across the border. 

The fee varies by rental company, but it’s usually around £25/€30 per rental.

If you book your car online, you’ll be able to check the rental company’s specific terms for taking the car across any borders. The terms and conditions of the car should tell you how much the cross-border fee is.

Tip: On Rentalcars.com you’ll find what you need to know about driving across borders within the rental company’s specific terms, in ‘Extra Services (Payable at Counter)’, in a section called ‘Cross-border and Boundary rules’.

Driving tips for crossing the Irish border 

You may not see any road signs to let you know you’re crossing the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. 

Speed limits in the Republic of Ireland are in kilometres per hour, while those in Northern Ireland are in miles per hour. It’s worth being aware of how they convert, to avoid accidentally breaking the speed limit. 

Speed limits in the Republic of Ireland, with miles per hour equivalents 

Republic of Ireland speed limit (km/h)

Miles per hour equivalent

30 km/h

19 mph

50 km/h

31 mph

60 km/h

37 mph

80 km/h

50 mph

100 km/h

62 mph

120 km/h

75 mph

Speed limits in Northern Ireland, with kilometres per hour equivalents

Northern Ireland speed limit (mph)

Kilometres per hour equivalent

20 mph

32 km/h

30 mph

48 km/h

40 mph

64 km/h

50 mph

80 km/h

60 mph

96 km/h

70 mph

112 km/h

To find out more about driving your rental car, see Driving your rental car.

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