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How long does a no-claims bonus last without insurance?

Building your no-claims discount is one of the easiest ways to lower the cost of your car insurance. But how does it work if you’ve taken a break in cover? And what happens if you drive a company car or switch insurance providers? 

Here’s the lowdown on how long a no-claims bonus lasts without insurance.

Building your no-claims discount is one of the easiest ways to lower the cost of your car insurance. But how does it work if you’ve taken a break in cover? And what happens if you drive a company car or switch insurance providers? 

Here’s the lowdown on how long a no-claims bonus lasts without insurance.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance expert
Last Updated
10 JUNE 2024
5 min read
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How long does a no-claims bonus last?

As a general rule, car insurance providers won’t accept a no-claims bonus or discount (NCD) that’s older than two years. This may vary depending on the insurance provider, but there are few who’ll accept a no-claims bonus that’s lapsed for more than two years.

Some insurance providers may still accept your no-claims bonus after this time. But it largely depends on how much no-claims you’ve built up and how long you’ve been without insurance.

Does a no-claims bonus expire?

A no-claims bonus doesn’t have an expiry date, as such. As long as you have a valid car insurance policy without any claims, or go for less than two years between policies, your NCD should remain active.

However, there’s a time limit on the maximum number of years you can build up your no-claims. This can vary among providers, but most will cap the maximum no-claims bonus at around nine years. Once you reach this, you won’t get a bigger discount on the following no-claims years.

Can you lose your no-claims bonus?

Yes, there are ways you could lose your no-claims discount.

If you have an accident and are forced to make a claim, you’ll lose part or all of your no claims-discount.

Even if you claim for an accident where you’re not to blame, it could still affect your no-claims discount – unless you can reclaim all costs from the person at fault.

You might also lose your no-claims bonus if you cancel your car insurance and don’t take out a new policy within the next two years.

How to check your no-claims bonus

To check how many years no-claims bonus you have, you can start by logging onto your car insurance online account and looking at your policy information.

If the information isn’t on your policy documents, call you insurance provider and ask. They’ll be able to access all the information about your no-claims through the MIB No Claims Discount Database.

How to get proof of a no-claims bonus

You may be able to find proof of no claims on a renewal or cancellation letter from your insurance provider. If not, give them a call and ask them to send you the information you need.

Car insurance providers won’t always send you proof of no claims automatically when you switch to a new policy.

If you have a gap between policies, can you carry over a no-claims bonus?

If there’s a break in your car insurance cover of two years or more and you stand to lose a big discount, it’s worth getting in touch with your previous insurance provider. There’s a chance they might agree to honour some of your expired no-claims bonus if you take out a policy with them again.

Ultimately, the aim of a no-claims bonus is to get cheaper car insurance. But in some circumstances, it might not be possible to use your NCD.

Named driver on someone else’s policy

It’s usually only the policyholder or main driver who gets a no-claims discount. So if you’ve been driving someone else’s car as a named driver and later take out your own car insurance, you won’t reap the rewards of not making any claims on their policy.

That said, there are some insurance providers who will let you build up a no-claims bonus as a named driver. But you’ll only be able to use it if you take out your own policy with them at a later date.

Temporary car insurance

A no-claims bonus only applies for every full insurance year you go claims-free. If you take out a short-term temporary car insurance policy, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to add your existing NCD.

Second car

No-claims discounts only apply to one car at a time. If you buy a second car, you won’t be able to use the NCD you have on your first car for that one as well.

If you have two or more cars, it’s worth considering a multi-car policy. Many providers offer a discount for insuring more than one car with them. It might work out cheaper than separate policies for each car. You can also keep your no-claims discount for each car separate.

Classic cars

Most classic car insurance policies don’t allow you to build up a no claims bonus. You won’t be able to transfer your existing NCD either.

No-claims discount while living abroad

You might be able to transfer any NCD you’ve earned abroad – although this is at the discretion of your UK insurance provider.

Your new provider in the UK will want to see evidence (in English) of your insurance history, along with confirmation of your name, car and when your policy ended.

A car you don’t drive

If you want to protect your NCD, you might think it makes more economic sense to find a cheap insurance deal and keep it running.

The problem here is that you can’t insure a car you don’t drive just to keep your NCD. You need an ‘insurable interest’ to take out a policy. In other words, you need a valid reason to insure it.

You also need to be the main driver of the vehicle, so if you insure a car in your name but someone else drives it all the time, you won’t be protecting your NCD. What you’ll actually be doing is committing a type of insurance fraud called ‘fronting’.

How to keep a no-claims bonus with a company car

If you’ve been driving a company car and your employer has been paying your insurance, a no-claims history could save you money on your private car insurance.

The insurance provider will usually want to see confirmation of your no-claims bonus from the provider who covered your company car.

You’ll typically need to have been the sole driver of the vehicle and insured for social, domestic and pleasure use (as opposed to using a company pool car).

Protecting your no claims bonus

Some insurance providers offer No-Claims Discount Protection, which can be added to your policy for an additional fee. This lets you make a certain number of claims over a set period without it affecting your no-claims bonus.

Some providers may require you to have a certain amount of NCD accrued before you can take out this type of policy.

How to transfer your no-claims bonus

It’s standard practice to take your no-claims discount with you when you switch to another provider.

During the online application process, you’ll be asked how many years of no claims you have (which you can find on your renewal letter).

Your new provider will normally apply your discount and get confirmation from your previous provider. If you’re asked to provide proof of your bonus, your old insurance provider can give you this.

How do I get the right deal on my car insurance?

Comparing with us could be the best way to find a cheaper deal. And the good news is that you can take your no-claims discount with you when you switch to another provider.

Get a quote in minutes and find out if you could save on your car insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Can I keep my no-claims bonus if my car is SORN?

If you declare your car SORN and cancel your insurance, your no-claims bonus will remain valid for up to two years. If you keep your car off the road for longer than that, any discount you had will be lost. 

Also be aware that you won’t be earning a no-claims bonus while your car remains SORN.

Can I transfer my no-claims bonus to my partner?

Yes, many insurance providers will let you transfer your no-claims bonus to another person. But there may be specific criteria. For example, many will only let you do it once and only let you transfer it to a spouse or partner. However, you won’t then be able to use that NCD on another policy.

Can I transfer my no-claims bonus to a different type of vehicle?

Some providers are happy to transfer your no-claims bonus to a different type of vehicle, such as a motorbike or van.

Not all providers will let you do this, but it’s worth asking. Also be aware that you can only use your NCD on one vehicle at a time.

What if my insurance provider unfairly increases my premium, despite my no-claims bonus?

If you’re not happy with the way your insurance provider has handled your no-claims bonus, the first thing you should do is take it up with them.

If you make a complaint, your insurance provider has eight weeks to give you their final response. If you’re still not happy, you can then take it to the Financial Ombudsman.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

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