Is my no-claims bonus still valid after a break between policies?

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.

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.

Alex Hasty
Insurance and finance expert
6
minute read
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Last Updated 1 NOVEMBER 2022

What is a no-claims discount?

A no-claims discount is a perk that encourages safer driving. If you go a year without making a claim on your car insurance policy, you’ll receive a no-claims discount, sometimes called an NCD or no-claims bonus (NCB). This could mean money off your premium when you next renew.

Each year’s worth of NCD gives you a discount on your car insurance premium. So, the more consecutive years you drive without claiming, the bigger the saving you could make.

Does a no claims bonus expire?

No claims bonus expiry dates aren’t really a thing, but there are ways you could lose your discount. The first one is obvious, if you have an accident and are forced to make a claim, you’ll lose part or all of your no claims discount. The second way your no claims bonus can expire, is if you have a long gap between cover periods.

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

That depends on your insurance provider and how long it’s been since you last had insurance. If it’s been less than two years between policies, most insurance companies will restore your no-claims discount when you take out new cover.

But if there’s a break in your car insurance cover of two years or more, your no-claims discount will usually expire, meaning you’ll have to build up your no-claims bonus again from scratch.

If you stand to lose a big discount, it’s always worth getting in touch with your previous insurance provider when you’re shopping around for cover. 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.

Who accepts an expired no claims bonus?

As a general rule, car insurance providers won’t accept a no claims bonus that’s older than two years. This may vary depending on the insurance provider, but there are very few who will accept a no claims bonus that’s lapsed for more than two years. In this case, you’d need to find a specialist policy provider.

How to find out how many years no claims you have

If you want to check how many years no claims bonus you have, you can start by logging onto your car insurance provider’s online account and finding your policy information. It’s worth checking your policy documents first, but you might need to call your insurance provider and ask. If they don't know either, they should be able to access your information through the Motor Insurance Bureau database.

Can a named driver get a no-claims discount?

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 car insurance with them at a later date.

Can I transfer a no-claims bonus from a company car?

If you’ve been driving a company car and your employer has been paying your insurance, it’s worth telling your insurance provider that you’ve had no previous claims. This could save you money when it comes to sorting out 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. Typically, you’ll 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).

Similarly, if you’ve been living abroad, you could transfer any NCD earned – although this is at your insurance provider’s discretion. As with company cars, the new provider will want to see evidence (in English) of your insurance history, along with confirmation of your name, car and when your policy ended.

If you suddenly find yourself without a car, you don’t need to worry about losing your no claims bonus for two years. This gives you the time you’ll need to find a new car to get covered for. After this, you will probably struggle to find an insurer who will accept your no claims discount.

  • There’s no standard maximum period over which you can build up a no-claims bonus. Some insurance providers cap it at five years, others at nine or more. Something to bear in mind when comparing policies…
  • Be warned, if you have an accident and you’re at fault, your no-claims discount could come to an end. However, your insurance provider may reduce your number of years’ no claim discount, rather than wiping it out in one go (sometimes called ‘stepping back’.) This can vary among providers, so do check.
  • 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 who’s at fault.

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.

How to get proof of no claims bonus

If you’re switching car insurance providers and need to get proof of your no claims bonus, you may need to ask your previous insurer to send it to you. Car insurance providers won’t always send you proof of no claims automatically when you switch to a new policy.

If your new insurer is asking for proof of no claims bonus, you may find it on a renewal or cancellation letter from your old provider. If not, give them a call and ask them to send you the proof you need.

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

What is a protected no-claims discount?

Some insurance providers offer a protected discount policy. 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, though, and it may affect the cost of your premium.

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 transfer it to a spouse or partner, and you won’t then be able to use that NCD on another policy.

Can I switch my no-claims bonus to another insurance provider?

Yes, 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. Occasionally, you may be asked to provide proof of your bonus. Your old insurance provider can give you this.

Can I earn a no-claims bonus with multi-car cover?

If you have a second car on a multi-car insurance, each policy holder has their own no-claims bonus. If you claim on one car, it won’t affect the discount of the other policy holders.

Can I get a no-claims discount for my classic car?

Generally speaking, classic car insurance policies don’t let you build up a no-claims discount. The premium is based on information like the car’s age and value, rather than your claims history. So, if you decide to swap your classic car for a more modern one, you won’t have a no-claims bonus to transfer.

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