talk to us today on1890 24 7 365

In the Driver’s Seat with Matthew a young driver!

Matthew Daly Young Driver

Matthew comes from a big family of experienced drivers. They all wanted to teach him when he first got insured.

He remembers his first trip, practicing with his mother. He wasn’t able to get the car going while trying a hill start. After 10 minutes of trying, his mother told him to release the hand brake, amid a fit of laughter! Matthew then decided it was time to try the professionals!

Matthew’s friend recommended ISM. When Matthew found out about the AXA learner driver offer there was no question in his mind. He feels totally confident with his driving now, even the “dreaded hill start” and is looking forward to taking his test.

One of the reasons Matthew wants to drive is to get to and from college but he is also very competitive and is getting tired of his girlfriend (who passed her test on the first attempt) calling herself the Lewis Hamilton of the relationship!

Matthew is recommending the deal to all his friends and says one friend who didn’t take his advice is already regretting it!

If  like Matthew, you are a young driver looking for ways to save some money when buying your car insurance, we have plenty of options for you.

Terms & Conditions apply.

*Matthew has received a gratuity for his time.

In the Driver’s Seat with Sean Kennedy a learner driver!

Sean Kennedy a Learner Driver

Sean Kennedy is a learner driver. His first driving experience was with his mam. But his mam kept complaining he was driving too fast! Sean decided to get lessons with The Irish School Of Motoring (ISM). He has now finished his 12 lessons and is looking to book his test. He admits that he is nervous and worried about the reverse around the corner – but after surviving the Leaving Cert, he is confident he can get through anything!

Sean chose ISM because of their reputation. He started off with double lessons with his instructor Damien, and after 12 lessons Sean is delighted with the experience. He gets on great with Damien, who he says helped him to relax and enjoy his driving. Sean describes his first lesson as his hardest, when he was on the dreaded hill start! It took him the best part of 20 minutes to crack it. Sean describes that day as a “steep learning curve”!

Book your 12 lessons and Learn to Drive with ISM and you could save up to €400 off your car insurance with AXA or try ISM TEST DRIVE and save up to 20% off your car insurance.

Do you want to save yourself some money when you’re looking for young drivers insurance ?

Terms & Conditions apply.

*Sean has received a gratuity for his time.

In the Driver’s Seat with Amy O’Rourke an AXA DriveSave customer!


Amy O’Rourke from Arklow, is an AXA DriveSave  customer, and she shared her driving experiences with us.

AXA Insurance and the DriveSave product was recommended to Amy by a friend. Amy was particularly delighted when she found out  she could get a further discount by opting for our DriveSave product. On top of this she enjoys the rewards and benefits of our customer loyalty programme, AXA Plus, especially her discount in Woodies!

Amy feels our DriveSave app has helped  improve her driving, she checks her performance after every trip to see how she can improve. One year later she is a lot more confident but still checks in to make sure she is keeping a steady score.

Amy is now so much more comfortable on the roads! When she was learning to drive with her uncle she once got so stressed she forgot her right from her left! Things got so bad that her uncle wrote left and right on her hands to help her remember!

Warning: In the event that the terms and conditions for mobile phone app use are not adhered to, or if AXA considers your driving behavior to be unsatisfactory, AXA has the right to cancel your policy or remove your DriveSave discounts which will result in an increase in your premium.

Terms & Conditions apply.

*Amy has received a gratuity for her time.

Unique risks that van drivers face on the roads every day

At AXA we understand that your van is at the heart of your business and having the right van insurance policy will help keep you and your business on the road.  Van drivers are our everyday hero’s, so at AXA we want to take care of them.

Did you know that van drivers are a massive 142% likelier to crash while reversing than other motorists? Reversing your van can be tricky; it’s bigger, weightier and your view is restricted.

Our colleagues in AXA UK teamed with their partners at Road Safety Analysis to present a study of British van drivers, as they felt there was a crying need for definitive data on the unique risks that van drivers face on the roads every day.

Some of the key facts identified in this UK study are:

UK Van report Infographic


Full UK report available at

At AXA we know that time is money for van drivers, so our van insurance experts take just minutes to put together a seriously competitive quote. AXA love vans and we want to give them the credit that they deserve!

Join thousands of van drivers across Ireland and give your van the protection it deserves with AXA Van Insurance Cover.







How Fraudulent claims affect your policy


car insurance crash

More and more Irish motorists are feeling the sting of increased motor insurance premiums, even those with a perfect driving history.  It is really worrying that the number of insurance scams and fraudulent claims in Ireland increases each year as more and more offenders try their hand at exploiting the system, and therefore commit criminal offences.

There are many different ways in which false claims are attempted but some of the more common types include:

  • Inducing collisions by driving and braking erratically – in some cases disconnecting the car’s brake lights or even, deliberately crashing into other vehicles.
  • Pursuing personal injury claims from these ‘staged accidents’ and also, fabricating ‘whiplash’ injuries from genuine minor impacts.
  • Introducing ‘phantom’ vehicle occupants to make injury claims despite not being directly involved in the crash with fake witnesses to back-up their statements.
  • Getting rid of a car and then claiming it was ‘stolen’.


image keys and moneyAlso, claims caused by those that drive without insurance add to the costs of your car insurance.  If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you could still lose your no-claims bonus or experience increased renewal costs.  During 2013, 2388 such claims were reported, made up of 1464 uninsured and 924 untraced vehicles.

Why You Pay the Price

As shocking as these scenarios are, the most frustrating aspect is that the blameless, safe drivers out there are footing the bill for these criminal activities. The unfortunate reality is that the more claims and associated legal costs that are paid out, the more your premiums go up to compensate for it.

Any Solutions?

Here at AXA we understand that the vast majority of our customers are truthful and law abiding citizens and it’s in order to protect these customers, that the  company takes a firm stance against people who commit Insurance Fraud. We are dedicated to fighting Insurance Fraud, we have a specialised team of investigators who are highly trained and qualified in investigative techniques. If you are aware of people committing Insurance Fraud let us now in confidence by contacting the Special Investigation Unit at .

image car

We want to support honest drivers by offering them protected no-claims if they are involved in an incident with an uninsured driver. We also reward safe drivers with offers like our no-claims discount at 75% – the highest in Ireland.

The simple advice is to remain vigilant when out on the roads, to help avoid these scheming fraudsters, slow the increase in these negative statistics, and stop costing you time, worry and money.

Our Campervan is off on the Wild Atlantic Way

John Creedon VW 2Van before and after

The Wild Atlantic Way, the magnificent West Coast of Ireland – John Creedon is about to travel its full length in this new 3 part RTE One series, Creedon’s Wild Atlantic Way. This will take him from Kinsale in Cork right up to the very top of our island – Donegal’s Malin Head.

 Episode 1 of this Series will launch this Sunday on RTE One at 6.30pm and cover areas of Cork and Kerry.

The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal drive in the world, coming in at two and a half thousand kilometres and John Creedon is determined to travel it by hook or by crook.John Creedon will set off on this coastal drive in our prized possession, the VW Campervan.

Launch of Camper Van at Darndale
Our Volkswagen Type 2 1967 split screen campervan fondly known as ‘Splitty’ by enthusiasts has come along way since we first purchased this in 2004. AXA sourced this Irish registered campervan that needed alot of restoration  and donated this for use as an educational programme at the Darndale Belcamp community training centre.

In 2004 students got to grips with restoring this classic vehicle and ACE Autobody,our approved repairers provided the students with assistance and technical support.

In January 2008, four years after the project began , the restored vehicle was unveiled to the public. Our campervan has become a permanent feature at many Vintage car shows around the country !

Telematics – A Boost in Popularity Among Car Drivers

image car

A significant number of young and first-time drivers are turning to an alternative means of bringing their car insurance costs down. By using ‘telematics’ – a technology similar to GPS – many are finding themselves making significant savings on their otherwise costly premiums. So what exactly does this technological system involve and how does it work?

What is ‘Telematics’?

This technology can be found with most car insurers under different names and descriptions. To summarise broadly, it involves installing a device in your vehicle that monitors aspects of your driving and relays them back to your insurance provider.

The information it monitors is determined by your insurer, but can include:

  • Speed
  • Mileage
  • Driving style – braking, acceleration and handling
  • Time of day
  • Location and routes

This information is then used to calculate your current and future discounts, and the more safely you drive, the more you save.

Drivesave App From AXA

With our DriveSave app, drivers get an initial 20% discount. if you score over 70 in a 3 month period you can earn up to 3.3% additional in extra discounts every 4 months (up to 10% over a 12 month period of insurance).

Why is it so Popular?

The most apparent reason telematics is proving to be so popular is for the potential savings young and first-time drivers can make.




The Bigger Picture

Along with this comes the belief that if your driving is monitored, you will be a safer driver – in particular benefiting inexperienced and occasional drivers. While critics may argue telematics could perhaps be too invasive, insurers will argue that the more safe drivers we have on the roads, the lower the amount accidents will be.

At the same time, telematics is said to also offer drivers increased security. This is because the GPS style tracking systems can help find a vehicle if it is stolen, and by monitoring driving habits, they have evidence against any fraudulent ‘crash-for-cash’ incidents.

Drive Like a Boss: Perfecting Your Driving Technique

L plate

Perfecting your driving technique is important on several levels. The way you drive can affect the safety of you and those around you, your fuel consumption, as well as your insurance premium. Take a look at how perfecting your driving technique can make you a better driver and lower your insurance premiums.

Driving Economically

There are  courses that you can take that teach you to drive economically. BMW, for example, offers training courses for driving safely as well as driving economically. Driving economically will mean that your car will last longer in a better condition, and you’ll spend less on fuel without losing any of the pleasure of the diving experience. Learning to drive economically will help you if you have our DriveSave app too.

Prove You’re a Good Driver

If you’re a young driver, then you may be faced with a huge insurance premium, mainly because of the number of young drivers that have accidents within a year of passing their test. However, there is a way to prove that you’re a good driver.

Many insurers use telematics or ‘black box’ technology to record speed, acceleration and braking, as well as the time of the day that the car is on the road. The safer the driver, the better the score, and the lower the insurance premium. If you’re recorded driving poorly, however, then your premium will go up.

Here at AXA, we use an app to record the way you drive with our DriveSave policy. There’s no black box to install in your car; instead, you simply download the app on to your smartphone. Just downloading the app for your Apple or Android device takes 20% off your premium, and good driving could give you a 10% discount during the year.



In the driver seat with … an AXA DriveSave customer

Driving car. Driver's hand on a steering wheel of a car

Featured AXA DriveSave Customer: John Blake, Dublin

In this installment of our ‘In the Driver Seat’ feature we spoke with a learner permit holder John, to get his take on what it’s like being a first time driver on our  roads.

John explains the reasons why he chose the AXA DriveSave product along with some funny experiences he had learning to drive.

“I rang up AXA Insurance and they offered me the best price on my insurance.They offered me the drive safe app with the policy which could get you up to 10% return off your car insurance. This was the big influence for me in choosing this product as it is a great way for young/learner drivers to save on their car insurance”

“I was in a line of traffic waiting for the lights to turn green. I felt a sneeze coming on, and as soon as I was starting to move on, when the lights turned green, I sneezed really loud and the car conked out. Everyone in the car jumped because they weren’t expecting it”

1. Who influenced your decision in choosing this product?

When I first started driving I was ringing different car insurance companies to find the best quote. I was getting quoted mad prices. I rang up AXA Insurance and they offered me the best price on my insurance. They offered me the drive safe app with the policy which could get you up to 10% return off your car insurance. This was the big influence for me in choosing this product as it is a great way for young/learner drivers to save on their car insurance.

image keys and money
2. What features of the DriveSave product appealed to you?

What appealed to me most about the product was the layout of the profile. It has your overall score and underneath, it has 4 different categories such as anticipation, smoothness, pace and calmness and has a score beside each one. Each category has driving advice when you click on it. I found this very helpful for me because it helped me understand what I needed to improve on in my driving.
3. Do you regularly monitor your driving scores?

Yes. After each trip or at the end of the day I check to see what my driving score is to help improve my overall score.

4. Does the App make you a safer driver?

I would consider myself as a safe driver, but yes I would say the app has made me more cautious of my driving as I know my driving is always being monitored whilst using the app.

Drivesave App From AXA 5. Has your driving behaviour changed since using the App?

Since I have started driving I have always used the Drive Safe App but I have found that the app has made me more aware and cautious on the roads.

6. Any funny stories you experienced learning to drive?

When I very first started to drive I was on a hill and had to do a hill start with a long line of traffic behind me. The lights went green and I kept conking out. I was mortified as the lights then went red and all the cars started to beep their horns at me.

There was another time not so long ago, I was in a line of traffic waiting for the lights to turn green. I felt a sneeze coming on, and as soon as I was starting to move on, when the lights turned green, I sneezed really loud and the car conked out. Everyone  in the car jumped because they weren’t expecting it.

7. Describe your daily journey?

My daily journey would consist of either driving to work or if I am bored and sitting around doing nothing, I would go on a drive to help improve my score on the Drive Safe App

Why not see for yourself?

Our DriveSave product allows you to get up to 20% discount off your AXA premium just for using a FREE smartphone app and as long as you continue to drive safely, you could earn up to 10% additional discount during the year.

Why not take a few minutes to see what’s on offer for young drivers insurance cover, talk to us today on 1890 24 7 365 or drop into your local insurance branch where one of our dedicated team will be happy to discuss your insurance options with you.

Warning: In the event that the terms and conditions for mobile phone app use are not adhered to, or if AXA considers your driving behavior to be unsatisfactory, AXA has the right to cancel your policy or remove your DriveSave discounts which will result in an increase in your premium.

Terns & Conditions apply.

*John has received a gratuity for his time.

The 5 Best Vans from Film and TV

Vans get no glory but when you think about it, they are sometimes way more deserving of it than cars!

Some of the most iconic vans have featured in films and on TV, whether appearing on the streets of New York fleeing a heist or saving lives as an integral part of a heroic team. AXA Ireland has delved into the world of vans to provide you with our five best vans from film and TV.

The A-Team – GMC Vandura

Source: Paul Stringer/

Source: Paul Stringer/

“I love it when a plan comes together!”The A-Team van – the authentic one used in the 1983-87 television show – was a 1983 GMC Vandura cargo van. This iconic van really is one of the best ever and fans even rebuild replicas of it, which you can see on this site. 


Scooby Doo – The Mystery Machine

Source: Patrick Herd/

Source: Patrick Herd/

“If it weren’t for you meddling kids”he van of choice for arguably the world’s most famous detectives, a brightly coloured van by Chevy or Volkswagen called “The Mystery Machine” featured in the Scooby Doo cartoons and film. The exact van varies; the cartoons featured a rear engine van suggesting it was a VW or Corvair van. Other variants were based on the Chevy G10, whilst in the movie The Mystery Machine is a Ford Econoline.


Ghostbusters – Ecto-1

Source: Darren Brode/

Source: Darren Brode/


“I ain’t afraid of no ghost”  – The 1959 Cadillac professional chassis van aka The Ecto-1, built by the Miller-Meteor company, was the vehicle of choice for the Ghostbusters. It’s customized for tackling ghouls of all sizes and is very iconic.





Only Fools and Horses – Reliant Regal (Trotters Independent Trading)

Source: Dario Vuksanovic/

Source: Dario Vuksanovic/


“Rodney, you plonker!” – The van of choice for Peckham’s most famous dodgy trader, Del Boy used a Reliant  Robin to flog fake Rolex’s and knock-off jewellery. This little 3 wheeler is an English icon!





Little Miss Sunshine – VW Camper

Little Miss Sunshine’s road trip is action-packed and long, hence making our list of the best vans. The van, you ask? Well it’s a 1950–1967 Volkswagen T2 Microbus (Camper or Bus) painted in yellow. There were five of these used in the film and only three actually had engines – the other 2 were on the back of trucks for filming.

Source: Keith Bell/

Source: Keith Bell/




At AXA we may not have insured any of these iconic, unique vans but we can give you a 30% discount off your van insurance if you or your spouse’s car is insured with AXA – or a 20% discount if you or your spouse’s car is insured with another Irish motor insurance company. Minimum premium €316 applies.

Call AXA today on 1890 273 372 or drop into one of our 42 local insurance branches across Ireland or why not get yourvan insurance quote online now!

If we missed your favourite van out, don’t forget to let us know!

Best-selling van makes and models in 2015

BazFigures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) registrations were up 54 % (2,846) on March 2014 (1,852) and are up 59% in the first quarter compared to 2014.

SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan said: The LCV statistics are extremely positive reflecting the significant improvement in the business environment, particularly in the home market, which had been so impacted over recent years.

Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kildare and Limerick have the highest number of light commercial vehicle registrations to date in 2015.

The top 10 selling van makes in 2015 are:

  • Ford
  • Volkswagen
  • Renault
  • Toyota
  • Citroen
  • Land Rover
  • Peugeot
  • Nissan
  • Opel
  • Mercedes-Benz

The top 10 selling van models in 2015 are;

  • Ford Transit
  • Volkswagen Caddy
  • Ford Transit Connect
  • Toyota Landcruiser
  • Land Rover Discovery
  • Citroen Berlingo
  • Volkswagen Van Series
  • Renault Master
  • Renault Traffic
  • Peugeot Partner

The trusty van is the workhorse of many businesses and sole traders the length and breadth of Ireland.

Finding the right van insurance is an important decision for any van owner as having good cover in place will help you get back on the road quickly if anything happens.


At AXA we know that time is money for van drivers, so our van insurance experts take just minutes to put together a seriously competitive quote

AXA love vans and we want to give them the credit that they deserve!

AXA gives you a 30% discount off your van insurance if you or your spouse’s car is insured with AXA or a 20% discount if you or your spouse’s car is insured with another Irish Motor Insurance company. Minimum premium €316 applies.

We believe that our van deserve more.  AXA Plus is our customer loyalty programme which allows you to save money with leading retailers on van accessories, fuel, puncture repair, parking and much, much more!

Why not join thousands of van drivers across Ireland and give your van the protection it deserves with AXA van insurance cover.

Drop into one of our 42 branches across Ireland or call us on 1890 24 7 365.

New NCT Rules now in place !

Since December 8th, the penalty points system has changed. There are on the spot fines and penalty points for driving without a valid NCT disc displayed.

Previously, NCT offences were dealt with through the district courts, but the new legislation allows the Garda to impose fixed charge notices on the spot.

NCT Image


You will be able to have your vehicle tested 90 days before your test is due without any affect on your expiry date. You can also have a voluntary early test and, depending on the age of the vehicle, get a certificate for one or two years from the date of the successful test. The testing procedure is computer controlled and automated, making it highly accurate.

What is the NCT?

The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) is a government service, independent of the garage or motor traders, who don’t benefit whether your car passes or fails. The test is aimed at improving road safety standards. There are 47 operating centres nationwide. The test costs €55 and takes between 40 minutes to an hour to complete, both manually and automatically.

 What Does the Test Cover?

The test covers:

  • Brakes
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Lights
  • Steering and suspension
  • Chassis and underbody
  • Electrical systems
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Transmission
  • Interior
  • Fuel system



Minor things such as broken wing mirrors and misaligned headlights will fail you just as easily as major things. The NCT recommends that you make sure that you pay attention to common failure points beforehand. Check your headlights for alignment and condition, your front, rear and hand brakes and your exhaust emissions for effectiveness. You should also prepare for the test by making sure that your vehicle is clear of personal belongings, reasonably clean and the seat belts and clips are fully visible.


AXA Plus Card for Blog

As an AXA customer you can get great savings on all your motoring essentials and also receive free puncture repair and wheel balancing from our AXA Plus partners


We understand that the running costs associated with driving can be high, – you will need to pay for servicing, NCTs, road tax and, of course, fuel. All of these costs can add up quickly, which is why we are striving to make car insurance more affordable. Don’t forget to check out our great offers on car insurance or to get an AXA car insurance quote online.


5 Iconic Movie Cars from Yesteryear

5 Iconic Movie Cars from Yesteryear, which do you remember?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 1961 Ferrari GT250

1961 Ferrari GT250

Image: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Only 55 of these cars were ever made, so the Ferrari is a real icon. However, the cars in this classic 80’s movie were replicas, so there’s no need to panic about that car crash scene.

Back to the Future:  1981 DeLorean DMC-12

1981 dElOREAN

Image: Back to the Future
Built in Ireland and shipped to America, the DeLorean looks futuristic, even now. With its gull-wing doors, it’s the perfect car for a time machine.


Rebel without a Cause:  1949 Mercury Coupe

1949 Mercury Coupe

Image: Rebel without a Cause
The classic that made James Dean a star, Rebel without a Cause features a 1949 Mercury Coupe, and was released a month after James Dean died in a car crash.


The Love Bug: 1963 Model 117 Volkswagen Type 1


Image: Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
The famous Volkswagen Beetle has starred in seven different movies and TV series, the most recent being in 2005. Several cars were used in the filming, but the racing car had a Porsche 356 Super 90 engine.




Bullitt: 1968 Mustang GT390


Image: Bullit
Steve McQueen’s Bullitt is one of the coolest films, not only because of McQueen himself, but because of his car. Two Mustangs were used for filming the iconic chase scene, and while one was scrapped after the film was finished, rumour has it that the other was stored in a barn in the Ohio River Valley.


At AXA we love vans too!!

At AXA we love vans too!!

Meet Barry aka Baz, plumber and owner of Barry’s Bathrooms. He has just insured his van with AXA.

Barry loves his van; it’s his car, office, workshop, storage unit even a temporary home at times all rolled into one.

He got a 20% discount off his van insurance all because his wife had her car insured with another insurance company.  Barry has invested his saving in a few little ‘blingtastic’ extras for his van.


At AXA we love vans and we want to give them the credit that they deserve.

At AXA, we give you a 30% discount off your van insurance if you or your spouse’s car is insured with us or a 20% discount if you or your spouse’s car is insured with another Irish Motor Insurance company. Minimum premium €316 applies.


The standard van insurance package will get you going with a host of benefits including

  • Rewards for safe drivers with up to 50% no claims discount for drivers with 4 years claims free consecutive driving in their own name
  • Unlimited cover for injury to other people
  • Third party trailer cover – should your trailer be attached and cause loss or injury to other people
  • 24 hour claims service
  • AXA Approved Repairer network
  • Flexible payment options

When insuring his van Barry also learned that we offer Tradesman insurance. Another box ticked off from his to do list, while sitting in the van between jobs. Our tradesman policy offered him the all in one package protecting him, his employees (the lads – Jack & John) and members of the public, as well as keeping his equipment and other business property safe.

Finding the right van insurance is an important decision for any van owner, so what are you waiting for – call us today on 1890 273 372 or drop into one of our 42 branches across Ireland.

AXA & ISM save young drivers up to €400 off insurance

EUROSPAR 5 Star Awards

At AXA, we have partnered with Ireland’s longest established driving school, Irish School of Motoring (ISM) to keep new year’s resolutions to learn to drive on track, whilst helping save young drivers up to €400 off your insurance premium.
With the new mandatory Essential Driver Training (EDT) road safety programme now in place, AXA are launching a new initiative with The Irish School of Motoring (ISM) to support safer driving amongst learners and help young drivers get started on the road and continue the journey with us.

ISM Clare 1
Established 54 years ago in 1961, the Irish School of Motoring (ISM) is Ireland’s largest and longest established Driving School and boasts an overall 90% test pass rate. The Irish School of Motoring are a national organisation consisting of over 120 highly qualified Driving Instructors throughout Ireland who are all “ADI” Approved.
Young Drivers can get a great deal from AXA when they book the 12 driving lessons through ISM. This includes:
· 12 driving lessons with a highly qualified ADI Instructor for €369.00
· Any named driver charges reduced by 50% – up to €400.
· If policy in own name, premium will be reduced by up to €400

ISM Clare 3
Colm McGrattan, Executive Director at AXA stated ‘We are doing our best to get young drivers started safely. Getting started on the road is not cheap between, lessons, Insurance and fuel costs. At AXA we are focusing on driving down the costs by offering competitive lessons, with the skills and knowledge learned through The Irish School of Motoring whilst rewarding these young drivers with cheaper insurance.’
Adding to this, Karl Walsh, Managing Director at ISM, said: “After 54 years in the business, ISM is proud to partner with AXA Insurance for these great offers. Over the years it has been our privilege to set tens of thousands of students on the road to being safe and competent motorists. We are delighted with this partnership which will give our learner drivers and AXA Insurance customer’s significant savings on their driving lessons and their motor insurance policies”.

The World’s Most Extreme Road Trips

Road trips can be one of the best experiences of your life. They’re a great opportunity to learn about different countries across the world and experience them in a unique and personal way.
One of the ideal times to go on a road trip is during a gap year; you’re young, fresh-faced and more importantly will have the time to plan a proper journey. Along with this, you’ll probably be more willing to be a bit more adventurous with your route.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the world’s most extreme driving routes for the adrenaline junkies out there.

Trans Siberian image

Trans-Siberian Highway, Russia
This rather substantial network of highways will take you across the whole of Russia. You start from the Baltic Sea and finish over 11,000 kilometers later at the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the country. On such a long journey you will see some incredible sights and sounds but the changing terrain and severe weather conditions make this quite a challenging drive.
The asphalt motorways of the more developed east quickly vanish as you travel west and in their place come dirt tracks, quagmires and blasts of arctic weather. You’ll need a sturdy vehicle as well as survival gear if you breakdown or get stuck.
Adrenaline Rating: 4/5

Highway Route 5

Highway Route 5 (Ruta Nacional 5), Chile
This road is famed for being the longest in Chile and stretches more than 3000km up the length of the country to the Peruvian border. The southern roads are said to offer some of the most beautiful views and forest areas in South America.
A large proportion of the roads are simple two lane highways, with only a handful of petrol stations on the way. You will also travel through the Atacama Desert, with steep inclines and equally steep drops that can catch drivers off guard. The weather is known for being very unpredictable too, incredibly dense fog is said to often suddenly descend on you without warning. The best advice for this route is to take a car with excellent MPG.
Extremity Rating: 3/5

Sichuan- Tibet Highway

Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China
This particular section of the G318 National Highway in China is absolutely breath-taking and at the same time incredibly nerve-wracking to drive on.
This stretch will see you travelling up and down thousands of kilometres of roads that carve their way across mountainous terrain. As fun as this sounds (and it is) you are facing the almost constant threat of landslides and in the harsh winters, avalanches. At the same time the long, sudden drops at your side mean you’ll need to take it slow, so be prepared for a long trip.
Be wary of the locals too, as they’re used to driving these roads and are quite ‘carefree’ with their driving style.
Extremity Rating: 4/5

Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass (Passo dello Stelvio), Italy
You don’t need a travel agent to tell you that a road trip around the Italian Alps would be an amazing thing to do. There’s a certain section of road though that combines beauty with an extreme driving experience: the Stelvio Pass. A smooth ribbon of tarmac snakes its way down the side of Ortler Alps and will offer you stunning picturesque views whatever the time of year.
You definitely need to be a competent driver to tackle this mountain road, or more specifically its 48 hairpin bends and its narrow straights. Another thing to consider is other drivers, unfortunately a number of accidents have been caused on this popular route by overzealous individuals who underestimate the skill required to handle these sharp corners.
The best advice is to take it easy (and make sure you take your camera).
Extremity Rating 3/5

North Yungas

North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Bolivia is a fantastic driving destination if you want to experience the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest as well as a variety of interesting cultures from the indigenous peoples. However, in order to do so you will have to cross what has often been referred to as the most dangerous road in the world – the North Yungas Road.
It may only be a relatively short stretch at just under 65 km, but this single track of rocky terrain perilously winds and twists its way around mountain sides. To make matters worse, most of this route is unprotected and water damaged, meaning the only thing stopping your car from falling hundreds of feet is a small, crumbling bank of rubble.
The ‘fun’ doesn’t stop there though; there are only a handful of passing points meaning you will probably have several standoffs with on-coming traffic. Be warned, the local drivers take no prisoners! This definitely isn’t one for the faint-hearted or inexperienced driver.
Extremity Rating 5/5

Car Boot Emergency Pack Essentials

When you pass your test and begin independently driving around, you immediately take on a wealth of responsibilities. There are the obvious ‘proper’ driving requirements but there is also ensuring you are safe and prepared for any unfortunate situations, including things like breakdowns, accidents and different weather conditions.

AXA - Car Boot Emergency Image
So whatever the situation, from your casual commute, to visiting the family over the winter, or driving you and your friends around on a summer road trip, we’ve put together all you need to be completely covered for every situation – including some situations you might not have thought about!
Our guide to what needs to be included in your car boot emergency pack essentials is a must-read for any young (or even old!) driver.

Basic Maintenance
First and foremost, you need to be ready and stocked up for any potential maintenance issues which includes the repairs you may have to carry out should you breakdown or get a flat tyre.
Car Owner’s Manual: This can direct you on where and what certain parts of your vehicle are and what particular specifications they require – for example your tyre pressure and light bulb types.

Tyre Changing Equipment: This includes a full spare tyre, a car jack, foot pump, tread measurer and (if all else fails) a tyre inflator which can temporarily repair your tyre by filling it with a sealer to plug the hole while you get you to a garage.

Replacement Fluids: Screen wash (with anti-freeze in winter) and appropriate engine oil for topping up levels.

Jumper Cables: A set of red and black cables to jump-start your car should you suffer a flat battery.

A Tow Rope: In case you need a friend or family member to come and get you to tow you to a garage. This isn’t ideal, and you should always use a breakdown recovery service where possible, but having a tow rope will make sure you’re covered in all situations.

Ensuring Your Safety
Along with the maintenance of your vehicle, to ensure the safety of you and your passengers you should invest in the following:
Comprehensive Emergency Safety Kits: In these you should find basic first aid equipment as well as a road safety triangle, and emergency contact details.

Torches: You’ll need to see what you are doing if it’s dark, or even if you need to look under your vehicle, a simple solution is to get a few torches – dynamic wind-up ones preferably.

Scrapers and De-icer: A must for the Irish winter months, if you are travelling you need to be prepared for any snow and ice that might settle on your car.

Spare Blankets, Jackets and Shoes: Should you get caught in a cold snap or even be trapped in your car overnight, have enough blankets and jackets to keep everyone in the car warm. Equally, some decent boots or wellies are important for poor weather and road conditions.

Hi-vis Jackets: to ensure you can be seen clearly if your car has broken down.

A Shovel: Not just for digging yourself out of snow, but if you’ve ever been to a muddy festival you’ll know you potentially need one for getting your car unstuck from the mud.

Food and Water Supplies: A few bottles of water and some long-lasting snack food like breakfast bars or chocolate can be enough to help you and your passengers get through any long waits if you become stranded.

A Power Pack Phone Charger: A portable phone charger is a must, especially if you’re travelling long distances, as they can be charged up before the journey, providing a safety blanket when your phone battery dies.

Maps and Keeping in Contact: It might sound obvious maps are a tried and tested way of helping you find your way home should you get lost – remember out in the country your 3G or 4G signal probably won’t be the best. At the same time there’s no harm in just simply letting someone know where you are going on your trip and when you intend to arrive.

Spare Change: Keep some money in your car for unexpected toll roads or if you need to use a roadside payphone.

Umbrellas: You’ll be surprised how important these can be should you breakdown or be stuck on the roadside in the rain.

Writing Equipment: In other words a pen and paper. Another surprisingly important little extra that can go a long way, particularly if you don’t have an electronic device to hand.


All the serious stuff aside, we can now look at preparing you for some other emergencies you might not have thought about, starting with:

Work Emergencies
Imagine you’ve got a meeting with the boss, or an important presentation to deliver and you’ve spilt coffee or your breakfast all down your front. Worse still you’re already at the office! We’ve all been there, so to save yourself from this your car boot emergency pack should include:
Fresh Work Clothes: From shirts and shoes, to trousers, dresses and blouses. Have a spare set of appropriate attire ready for you.

Deodorant: You might have worked up a panicky sweat, be sure to mask that with some spare deodorant.

Make-up: Again, you can freshen yourself up with a touch of make-up if you think you’re looking a bit stressed.

Lads/Ladies Trips
We’re thinking for those lazy summer afternoon drives with your friends here, it’s definitely worth having the following:
Sunglasses and Hats: Keep out the sun’s glare and of course look incredibly cool at the same time.

Sports Gear: Footballs, tennis rackets, rugby balls and the rest. As well as some spare trainers for whatever sporting preferences you might have.

BBQ: You might want to be sure of the forecast first before you make this an essential, but having a disposable BBQ kit and lighter at the ready can ensure you top off your summer’s afternoon the right way.

Young Families
When kids get bored in the back seat, you certainly know about it. Equally, parents of young babies will appreciate how a fresh nappy can be a life saver, so be sure to consider:
Baby Products: Everything you can think of from nappies, spare clothes, wipes, rubbish bags and already made up milk/formula.

Gadgets: Keep the kids happy by having an iPad, tablet or gaming device ready as a means to help pacify their boredom.

Sweets and Treats: It goes without saying that kids love sweets and much like the gadgets above can be a great means of helping them to get through a long journey. Plus, you can treat yourself if you like!


AXA Motor Rescue

Final Back-up Cover
To be fair, this isn’t strictly something you can keep in your car boot, but as a final means of protection – and peace of mind – our breakdown cover is there for you from local to European recovery. # ad To talk to us today about AXA Motor Rescue or Breakdown Cover call AXA Assistance on 1890 25 31 87 or drop into your local branch or get a quote online.

So follow these helpful checklists and tailor them to suit the time of year and your planned journeys. By doing so you can rest assured you will be ready for whatever the roads might throw at you.

Remember to check out our AXA Plus page for free puncture repair and wheel balancing from Fast Fit
You can also pick up all your motoring essentials from Halfords, where all AXA Customers get a 10% discount.

Five Best Value Cars for Young Drivers


image keys and money


Unless you happen to be very lucky, or very wealthy, most young drivers face a bit of a battle when it comes to finding and buying a car. You’ll want to find something inexpensive, economical, reliable and safe to drive – which can be quite a struggle.
You should always remember to take into consideration the mileage, NCT and service history, as well as any work done to the car before making your purchases.
To help you in your search, we’ve done the hard work for you and have found five of the best value cars out there for young drivers. These cars can be found in the more affordable second hand markets and are smaller in size, which again brings down your costs.

#5 Toyota Yaris (2005-2009)
A popular car across Europe, this generation of the Yaris is one of the most successful models of Toyota’s vehicles. The compact size makes it easier to drive and park but this 3-door hatchback is surprisingly spacious. While the engine may be modest, it can see you making great savings with its fantastic fuel economy.
Body: 3-door hatchback
Engine: 1.0L Petrol
MPG: up to 63
Adult Safety Rating: 5*
Price: €1000-4000

girl at driving seat

#4 Opel Corsa (2006-2010)
The Corsa is a steadfast choice of car amongst young drivers. The previous generations of the Opel Corsa from the mid to late 2000s can provide you with excellent drivability and pace despite their relatively small size. While these may suit the more car-loving young driver, they still come with a top safety rating. Also depending on the age, you could find one with a variety of gadgets and conveniences.
Body: 3-door hatchback
Engine: 1.2L Petrol
MPG: up to 51
Adult Safety Rating: 5*
Price: €3000-9000

guy in car with keys#3 Seat Ibiza (2008)
If you want a reliable vehicle that is a little more stylish than your typical small car, this range of Seat Ibizas is perfect. The sleek design of this car gives it a sporty edge which is matched by the nippy petrol engine and excellent handling. Like the Corsa, this also has a top safety rating, but can give you better mileage.
Body: 3-door hatchback
Engine: 1.2L Petrol
MPG: up to 55
Adult Safety Rating: 5*
Price: €5000

#2 VW Polo TDI (2006)
This model of Volkswagen Polo is a superb choice for young drivers. The precision engineering that goes into all VWs means you are getting a durable, comfortable and well-made car. This 1.4 diesel may only have a four star safety rating, but it is an excellent car to drive and can give you great fuel economy. Their popularity and the VW prestige means they can also hold on to their value much better than other smaller cars.
Body: 3-door hatchback
Engine: 1.4L Diesel
MPG: up to 60
Adult Safety Rating: 4*
Price: €5000-7000

#1 Ford Fiesta (2010)
Arguably the best value car you can buy is this generation of Ford Fiestas. They are very similar to the current new models but can be found at more affordable prices. Much like VW, Fords are expertly built, and again their popularity means they hold on to their value well. This particular model boasts the convenience of the 5-doors and superb fuel economy that can see you make great savings. Also if you shop around you can find Fiestas with the mod-cons you tend to find on most new cars.
Body: 5-door hatchback
Engine: 1.4L Diesel
MPG: up to 69
Adult Safety Rating: 5*
Price: €5000-7000

Why not see for yourself?

Get a quote for yourself using these suggested cars and see how much you could save!

Our Drivesave product allows you to get up to 20% discount off your AXA premium just for using a FREE smartphone app and as long as you continue to drive safely, you could earn up to 10% additional discount during the year.Take a few minutes to see what’s on offer here, talk to us today on 1890 24 7 365 or drop into your Local Branch.One of our dedicated team will be happy to discuss your insurance options with you.

If you are a student aged under 26 you could save 20% in year with StudentFirst policy.

Glossary of Terms

Adult Safety Rating – How safe the vehicle is based on the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). Vehicles are crash tested and give a star rating out of five, based on how well the car protects passengers, pedestrians and the effectiveness of its safety assist devices.

Body – Is the style of the car, in this case the number of doors listed in the vehicle specifications.
Engine – The size and capacity of the engine in litres. The number of litres giving an idea of the power the engine could produce.
MPG (Miles per Gallon) – Is the suggested amount of miles the car can offer from one gallon of fuel.

Warning: In the event that the terms and conditions for mobile phone app use are not adhered to, or if AXA considers your driving behavior to be unsatisfactory, AXA has the right to cancel your policy or remove your DriveSave discounts which will result in an increase in your premium.You have chosen a StudentFirst package. Your premium will be adjusted quarterly either up or down based on your claims experience on this policy. Your premium will cease to be reduced on a quarterly basis when you reach our maximum no claims discount.

Terms and Conditions apply.

Winter Driving Tips

Stay safe on the road this Winter

As winter approaches we have some simple tips that you can follow to help keep yourself and other road users safe when driving in the snow and ice.

AXA would like to make drivers aware of the following:

  • Slow down! Speed limits are set for normal driving conditions.
  • Use a de-icer to thaw your complete windscreen before you drive off
  • Always make sure your mobile phone is charged before you start your journey & pack some snacks , water , snow boots and a blanket in case you get stuck or need to abandon the car.
  • Make sure you give enough distance to brake from the car in front in icy conditions, three times more than usual is a safe distance.
  • For freezing fog conditions, please use fog lights and remember to turn off when weather improves
  • The glare from the sun can be dazzling in the winter when the sun is low in the sky, so wear sunglasses in these conditions
  • If you come across icy conditions, remember to stay calm and slow your car down by lowering your gear instead of braking. If you drive in a higher gear, this will stop the engine revs and your wheels from spinning.

When the winter weather hits home:

  • Check that attic pipes are well insulated and leave the attic door ajar, Hot air rises!
  • Locate your water stop cock. In the event of burst pipes, this will help you to turn the water off and stop the damage.
  • Keep gutters and drains free of leaves
  • Set your central heating to constant at a minimum of 13 centigrade to keep the house warm.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer damage to your car or home just call us on our dedicated 24 Hours Claims Line 1890 24 7 365.

A-Z of Driving


Car Image map of World

Hill starts…three point turns…observation…all words you’ll be familiar with when trying to get your Driver’s Licence, have a look at some interesting facts on driving from Ireland and abroad.

A – Abroad

If you have an Irish driving licence, then you don’t have to do anything extra to be able to drive in Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland. You can also drive in Australia, Japan, South Africa and Switzerland for 12 months before switching to a local licence.


B – Bans

In 2014, almost 13,000 people were disqualified from driving.


C – Carjacking

In Brazil, you have to complete self-defence as part of your driver’s training, thanks to the prevalence of carjacking.


D – Drink Driving

The Institute of Advanced Motorists have calculated that a drink driving conviction could cost between €27, 000 – €68, 000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job.


E – Endorsements and Penalty Points

In Ireland, there are 62 road traffic offences that attract penalty points.


F- Ford

Henry Ford didn’t have a driver’s license until he was 56.


G – Good Parking

Up to 86% of drivers consider themselves good at parking.


H – Hungary

You have to complete a first aid course to get a driver’s licence in Hungary.


I – Insurance

From 2014, the Circuit Courts were able to order pay-outs of up to €60,000, compared to the €37,000 limit of previous years.


J – Japan

If you don’t bend down low enough to check for cats underneath your car, you can fail your driving test.


K – Karl Benz

The inventor of the modern motor vehicle, Karl Benz was the first person to be issued with a driver’s licence. He had to receive written permission in 1888 from the German government after residents complained about his car’s smell and noise.


L – L Plates

If you’re a learner driver, then you must have your L Plates conspicuously displayed on the vehicle you’re driving.


M – Mobile Phones

Over 30,000 people were caught driving while on their mobile phones in 2014.


N – Novice Plates

Once you’ve passed your test, you’re required to display N Plates for two years.


O – Opportunities

52% of jobs in Ireland necessitated a full driving licence, according to a survey by Enterprise Rent-a-car and Grad Ireland.


 P – Pass Test Rates

Average pass rates show that if you want to pass your driving test, Ennis is the best place to be, and Rathgar the worst!


Q – Quad Bikes

Along with other types of motorcycles, quad bikes are not subject to roadworthiness testing.


R – R Beere

The first man to pass the driving test was a Mr R Beere on March 16th 1935.


S – Speed Limits

The first speed limit in Ireland was introduced in 1876 under the Dublin Traffic Act, with a national maximum speed limit of 12mph or 19km/h.


T – Test

You can apply for your test to be conducted through Irish if you complete the Irish language version of the application form.


U – Under the Influence

The maximum penalty for drink driving is €5,000 and 6 months in prison.


V – Visibility Vests

It is compulsory to carry high visibility vests in Ireland and other parts of the EU.


W – World War II

In World War II, the driving test was suspended and examiners became supervisors of fuel rationing and traffic duty.


X – Exhibitionists (Almost X!)

In Russia, a number of groups of citizens have recently been banned from driving, including exhibitionists.


Y – Young Drivers

5,678 young 17-24 year old road-users were killed or seriously injured on Irish roads in the period 1997 to 2009.


Z – Zebra Crossings

They were introduced in 1951.



B –

G –

H –

I –

M –

O –

P –

Q ––quads/

X –

Y ––Behaviour-of-Young-Drivers/

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