You build up a no-claims bonus by not making a car insurance claim for a year or more – and it can slash your annual premiums by hundreds of pounds. The longer you go without making a claim, the bigger the discount you should be offered.
You can keep the discount when you switch to a new insurer, but you’ll have to prove how many years you’ve gone without making a claim. Here’s how to do that.
How do I know how much no-claims bonus I have?
Your no-claims bonus depends on how many years you have car insurance without making a claim. If you go five years without making a claim, you should benefit from a five-year no-claims bonus.
However, there are exceptions. So check with your insurer if you can’t remember how many years you’ve made no claims, or are unsure how much bonus you have.
The exceptions include:
- Not all claims affect your no-claims bonus. Windscreen repairs are generally exempt, as are accidents where you can prove you were not at fault
- Many insurers, including Admiral and Diamond, allow customers with several years of no-claims bonus to keep some of their bonus after one claim. So if you have five years of bonus built up, making a claim will reduce it to three, not zero
- Most companies only recognise no-claims bonuses up to a certain number of years. They also cap the discount you can receive. At Aviva, for example, the maximum no-claims bonus is five years and the top discount is 50%
Do insurance companies ask for proof of no-claims bonus?
Yes, most insurers ask you to prove your no-claims bonus within a couple of weeks of giving you a quote. If you do not provide proof within the time limit, your policy could be cancelled – leaving you uninsured.
How can I get proof of my no-claims bonus?
There are three main ways to get proof of your no claims bonus and claim a discount on your car insurance:
- From the letter you receive when your policy is due for renewal
- From the cancellation letter you receive when you switch to a new provider
- By contacting your existing insurer by phone, by post or online
Most insurers will include details of your no-claims bonus in the letters they send out when your policy is due for renewal, or when it is cancelled. In this case, a copy of this letter will usually suffice – although some providers want new customers to provide the original.
If neither letter includes details of your no-claims bonus, you’ll have to ask for proof to be sent to you separately – unless your new insurer offers to ask your existing provider for the proof directly.
How should I send proof of my no-claims bonus?
If you have to send proof of your no-claims bonus to your new insurer yourself, check first whether you have to send the original letter (in which case you should keep a copy for your records) or whether a photocopy will do.
Once it’s sent, look out for a letter or email confirming it has been received. You may only have a week or so to prove your no-claims bonus, so it’s worth checking if you don’t hear anything.
How quickly do I have to prove my no-claims bonus?
You must generally provide proof of your no-claims bonus within a certain timeframe when you switch to a new insurer.
Some companies give you 21 days to do this. Some only give you seven days. So make sure you know how long you’ve got; your policy could be cancelled or become a lot more expensive if you miss the deadline.
Can my no-claims bonus expire?
Your no-claims bonus is only usually valid for two years after your policy comes to an end. So if you don’t drive for a few years, you will have to build up a new no claims bonus from scratch.
This will usually also be the case if you only appear as a named driver on someone else’s car insurance policy, although you may be able to use a no-claims discount built up on a company car – as long as it’s in your name and you are the only driver.
What happens when I provide proof of my no-claims bonus?
When you ask an insurer for a quote, it will apply a discount based on the number of years of no-claims bonus you say you have.
Once you provide proof of your no-claims bonus, the cost of the policy should therefore remain the same, as long as the information matches up.
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