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No-claims bonus proof guide

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You could save up to 60 per cent on your car insurance if you haven’t made a claim for five years, according to the Association of British Insurers. But you’ll usually need to offer proof of this to get a no-claims discount when you switch providers.

Read on to learn about how to check your no-claims bonus and provide proof of it to your new insurer.

How do I get proof of my no-claims bonus?

When it’s time to renew your car insurance, it’s worthwhile to shop around. You could save a significant amount of money by switching providers instead of renewing your current policy.

If you’ve gone for a number of years without making a claim on your policies from current and previous providers, you’ll want to make sure you get a no-claims bonus from your new insurer.

Providers can verify your no-claims data by checking the Motor Insurers’ Bureau no-claims discount database or contacting your previous provider. But they may ask you to send proof yourself of the number of years you’ve gone without making a claim on your car insurance. You can respond to their request by sending them one of these documents:

  • The renewal letter from your current or previous insurer, which should state the number of no-claims discount years you’ve accrued
  • A cancellation letter from your previous provider that includes your number of no-claims discount years
  • A letter from your current insurer that says how many no-claims discount years you’ve accumulated. You’ll need to ask for this letter by phone or through your provider’s website

You may receive these documents via email or post, or you may get online access to them. You may have to obtain them through an online portal you could lose access to. So it’s a good idea to get them from your current provider before cancelling your policy.

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How long do I have to provide proof of my no-claims bonus?

When you’re gathering quotes, providers will base the prices they offer you partly on the number of no-claims discount years you say you’ve accrued. They believe the longer you’ve gone without making a claim on your car insurance, the less likely you are to make one in the future.

You’ll need to declare any previous claims. Insurers may only ask you to declare the claims you’ve made in the past five years. If you don’t, your insurance could be invalidated. So it’s important to respond truthfully to providers’ questions about this and other subjects.

When pricing your policy, insurers consider other factors besides your no-claims history, such as where you live, where you keep your car and what your driving habits are.

When you’re ready to buy your new policy, your new insurer will need proof that you’re telling the truth about the number of no-claims discount years you’ve accumulated before honouring the price it quoted.

Providers will usually give you between seven and 28 days from the start date of your new policy to prove your no-claims discount. Make sure to submit your proof within the required timeframe.

If you don’t, you could lose the discount and have to pay a higher price than you were originally quoted. Or your insurance policy could be cancelled. You may also have to pay an admin fee for the change to your policy.

Many insurers allow you to upload your proof through their online portal or email them a photo or scan of it. Some providers may want you to send them the original document through the post. If they ask you to do so, make a copy of the document before posting the original to them.

How can I check how many years of no-claims bonus I have accrued?

The renewal letter your provider sends you before your current policy ends will state the number of years of no-claims bonus you’ve accrued.

If you haven’t yet received your renewal letter, you can look for last year’s number on last year’s renewal letter. As long as you haven’t made any claims in the past 12 months, you can add one year to the previous total. 

Or you can ask your insurer how many years of no-claims bonus you’ve accrued.

Having proof of your no-claims discount before you shop around for car insurance will help you get accurate quotes. And if you need to send your new provider this proof, you’ll have it on hand so you can meet the deadline for doing so.

You can keep your no-claims discount even when you don’t own and insure a car for a while. Your no-claims bonus is usually valid for up to two years after your last car insurance policy expired.

What will insurance providers accept as proof of a no-claims bonus?

Different insurers have different criteria concerning what documents they accept as proof of your no-claims bonus and how you can send those documents to them. If your provider hasn’t already told you what these criteria are, look for them on its website or ask the insurer what they are.

Your new provider may specify exactly what information needs to be in the document, such as the vehicle details and the date your last policy expired. Your new insurer may ask you whether the car is in your name as the policyholder and may want the document to be on your previous provider’s headed paper.

Your new insurer may also ask you to include information such as your name, address, postcode and date of birth in the email or letter that accompanies your proof.

It’s wise to phone your new provider if you don’t get confirmation that your document has been received within a few days after you sent it. Otherwise, you risk losing your discount.

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Can I prove that I’ve protected my no-claims bonus?

When you buy a car insurance policy, you can pay extra to protect your no-claims bonus. This allows you to make one or more claims without having to start building your no-claims years again from scratch, which could increase your premium. If your previous policy included no-claims bonus protection, your proof document will mention how many years you’ve had it.

Bear in mind that even if you previously protected your no-claims bonus and now choose to include protection in your new policy, your premium could still increase if you make a claim. But it won’t go up by as much as it would have if you hadn’t protected your bonus.