At the time of motor insurance renewal, many people will shop around for a cheaper quote, but if you find a cheaper premium than your renewal, please check carefully that you have the same cover. We hear so many times that a client has "the same" or "better" cover for a substantially lower premium, only to find on investigation that they have been offered Third Party Only when their present policy is Comprehensive.

Insurers will generally offer new comprehensive policies for vehicles only up to a maximum age of car depending on their own terms at the time of the policy start date. Most Portuguese insurers will restrict comprehensive for a new policy to cars that are under 8 years old, but may consider up to 10 years; Ibex will offer comprehensive for cars up to 15 years old at inception.

Even when a car passes the age at which a new comprehensive policy would not be available, insurers will normally maintain comprehensive for as long as the same car continues to be insured under the same policy and the premium is paid annually, although that cover will almost certainly cease when the car becomes 20 or 25 years old unless specifically agreed by the insurers.

This means that in many cases where you have comprehensive cover on your present policy, a new insurer may offer just Third Party Only for the same car so changing your insurer would indeed mean a lower premium.

Do not automatically assume that Third Party Only is the same as Third Party, Fire & Theft which is basically a UK level of cover, and these are two distinct and different policies. Third Party Only will cover you for claims made for recompense for anyone or anything that you hit. In addition to the third party liability, a Third Party, Fire & Theft policy will include cover for the theft or spontaneous combustion of your car. Portuguese insurers do not offer Third Party, Fire & Theft - the options are Comprehensive or Third Party Only, whereas Ibex does offer third Party, Fire & Theft for most vehicles with a value of under €7,500, although certain classes of vehicle are excluded from this level of cover irrespective of value, and our advisors will be happy to explain and offer advice.

Glass cover is usually included in motor policies, but some insurers will allow this to be excluded for a reduced premium. The saving is only around €30 per year but the cost of a replacement windscreen can be over €400 for a standard production model car so ask yourself is it worth saving such a small amount?

Because it is illegal to tow a car in Portugal, most motor policies include breakdown cover but there are some exceptions, generally for commercial vehicles or motorhomes, so check that your policy does include this cover and make a note of the breakdown number which is to be found on your certificate and/or schedule.

If you break down outside normal office hours it will not be possible to contact us, so it is important that you are aware of the procedure for contacting the breakdown assistance company and the number to call. This may seem fairly straightforward but we regularly receive calls from clients asking how to get breakdown assistance, and often have complaints that we didn’t answer the telephone late at night or at weekends so they didn’t know what to do when they broke down.

It is a legal requirement in Portugal to carry your car ownership and insurance documents when driving so the information should always be readily available but every insurer places the information in a different place so it is worth checking and making sure you know how to make contact. Ideally, store the breakdown assistance number in your mobile phone directory.

It is worth considering paying the additional premium (usually around 10% extra) to add protected No Claims Discount to your policy. No-one wants to have to make a claim, but if you do and you have protected No Claims Discount your premium will not be affected within the terms of the particular policy. This involves a change to your cover and policy so can only be done at inception or renewal, but worth asking your Ibex advisor to quote to include this.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to call into one of our offices in Almancil or Tavira to get the most suitable policy to meet your needs or call us on 800 860 708 / 289 399 774 for Almancil or 281 325 842 for Tavira. Or if you prefer, send an e-mail to