A simples guide

Switching insurance

It’s a bit of a harsh reality, but as you get older your car insurance premium may start to rise – even if you haven't made a single claim. So comparing and switching car insurance with us at each renewal is more important than ever. It takes a matter of minutes to quote and compare but could save you a lot of money.

 

In 2015 just over 44% of comparethemarket.com customers saved around 41% on their car insurance by switching with us**. But if, like many people, you're hesitant about switching in case your no claims bonus is affected, don't be. Here, we'll explain how no claims bonuses work, so that when you switch you won't lose out.

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Your current no claims bonus probably isn't what you think it is

Believe it or not, the total claim free years you have may not be the same as your number of no claims years. Confusing, eh? This can be for a number of reasons:

Insurers have different maximum no claims limits. Say your faithful insurer of many years offers you nine years no claims – whilst others only offer 5 or 6 as a maximum. That could put you off switching, couldn't it? But you'll probably find that the amount of discount on offer will be very similar.

So when you’re comparing insurance, add in the number of no claims years you’ve had and look at the prices you get back.

You took a break from driving for over two years. Most insurance companies will allow you to keep your no claims bonus for up to two years if you take a break from driving. There are some which will allow a three year break and some won’t allow a break at all – it’s best to speak with the insurer directly.

Of course this is frustrating if you haven't actually stopped driving, you've just simply stopped having your own policy. But you may find although your no claims bonus won't be valid, some insurers will still take into account that you've been driving, which may help.

You make a claim. You might assume that as soon as you make a claim that you'll lose all your no claims bonus. But that's not necessarily the case – often you'll just lose a proportion.  However, it's likely to affect your premium at the renewal following your claim.

You moved abroad. If you continued to drive overseas without making a claim, you might assume that you can include those years. It's not impossible, but you'll have to fulfil certain criteria for that to be considered. You'll need to speak to your provider to find out exactly what you’ll need to prove your NCD abroad.

You may not have had a policy in your own name, been a named driver the whole time or had a company car and so may not have built up your NCD.

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Be clear and honest

When you complete your car insurance search with us, be very clear about the amount of no claims bonus you have. Whatever you state will usually need to be proved. Don't try and guess, it could affect your premium if you're wrong.

So how do I find out what my up to date no claims is?

What really matters at the point of switching is the length of no claims your current insurer states you have. Before you start your car insurance search, make sure you have this information – it will save any confusion later.  You can ask your insurer to give you this information over the telephone but they may also provide it by:

Including it on your renewal policy.

Including it on a separate letter with your renewal.

Sending you a 'proof of no claims' letter at your request.

Keep hold of this information as your new insurer may need it as proof. Most insurers will want to see the original document within a certain time limit – usually 7-21 days. If you fail to do this they may cancel your policy or start it without your no claims bonus, so you'll end up with a higher premium. They'll inform you of exactly what will happen at the time they request the supporting information.

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Don't forget to switch again

Remember to compare your car insurance every year before your renewal is due. This will give you plenty of time to find the best deal. We'll still have your information from last time so once you’ve entered your details it won't take long to update your quote and see the impact your no claim discount has.

**This average saving is achieved by 44.38% of consumers with comparethemarket.com Motor Insurance, according to independent research carried out by Consumer Intelligence during November 2015.

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