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What is a No-Claim Bonus?

no-claim bonus (NCB) is a discount you receive on your car insurance premiums when you have a claim-free record. This discount increases each year you go without making a claim. Most insurers have a cap at 5 years, after which the no-claim bonus percentage does not increase further. The more years of no claims you accumulate, the higher your discount, up to a maximum of 60-70% in some cases. This table shows typical NCB discount amounts:

Years NCBTypical Discount
1 year30%
2 years35%
3 years45%
4 years55%
5+ years60-70%

Illustration of a blackboard with a 100% written in chalk

How to Obtain and Build Up Your No-Claim Bonus

When you first take out a car insurance policy, you will start with a 0% no-claim bonus. Here is how you can start accumulating an NCB discount:

  • Drive safely for one full policy term (usually 12 months) without making any claims. This will qualify you for 1 year of no-claim bonus on renewal.

  • Each additional year you drive without making a claim will add another year of NCB. Most insurers allow you to build up NCB for up to 5 years.

  • Check your renewal notice from your insurer - this should state your NCB entitlement. If not, request proof of your NCB from your insurer.

  • When switching insurers, provide your new insurer with proof of your existing NCB so you can transfer it. This is usually an original document from your old insurer.

  • Be aware of time limits - most insurers require you to submit proof of NCB within 14-21 days.

  • Understand the impact of claims on your NCB:

    • At-fault claims will typically reduce your NCB back to 0 years.

    • Not-at-fault claims may also reduce your NCB unless your insurer can fully recover costs.

  • Consider options to protect your NCB like:

    • NCB protection offered by your insurer for an additional premium.

    • NCB protection on a multi-car policy may only impact the claiming driver.

  • Be aware that named drivers typically do not earn their own NCB.

Some other tips for optimizing your no-claim bonus:

  • Maintain a good driving record with no traffic violations.

  • Drive lower mileage to reduce chance of accidents.

  • Park carefully in safe areas to avoid scrapes and dents.

  • Install safety devices like dash cams in case of disputes over fault.

  • Choose comprehensive cover for protection against non-fault incidents.

Properly leveraging your no-claim bonus history can save you hundreds of pounds on your car insurance costs each year. Check your proof of NCB entitlement and shop around to get the best deal.

Transferring Your No-Claim Bonus to a New Insurer

When you switch to a new insurance provider, you'll want to transfer your no-claims bonus to continue receiving discounts on your premiums. Here's what to know about transferring your NCB:

  • Contact your existing insurer and request a proof of NCB document. This is usually sent with your renewal notice or cancellation letter.

  • Check if your insurer has the proof available online through your account portal.

  • If unable to get proof through existing channels, call your insurer to request a claims history letter showing your NCB.

  • When applying to new insurers, submit the original NCB document. Most will not accept photocopies.

  • The new insurer will likely verify your NCB by contacting your old insurer. Ensure all details you provide are accurate.

  • Be aware of time limits to submit proof - usually 7-21 days. Missing the deadline could lead to loss of discounts.

  • Your NCB will transfer as long as you have been claim-free for the past policy term. Losing your NCB through a claim during the term will prevent transfer.

  • A transferred NCB maintains the same level of discount. Your 5 years with Insurer A transfers as 5 years with Insurer B.

  • Gaps in insurance may impact your ability to transfer your NCB fully. Most insurers require you to transfer within 2 years.

  • On a multi-car policy, your NCB applies to the overall policy premium, even if transferring to a different car.

  • Compare quotes and policies carefully - a higher NCB does not guarantee the cheapest deal. Shop around.

  • If your NCB has expired, you may have to start again at 0 years with a new insurer. Some may offer concessions.

  • Consider options to protect your NCB when transferring, so future claims don't reset your NCB.

Transferring your NCB takes a bit of planning but saves you money in the long run. Keep your proof of NCB safe, allow time to provide documentation, and shop around to maximize savings when switching insurers. Protecting your NCB can provide peace of mind if you need to claim.

How Making a Claim Impacts Your No-Claim Bonus

Making an insurance claim can negatively impact your precious no-claims bonus (NCB). Here's a detailed look at what happens when you claim:

  • At-fault claims where you are responsible for the accident will typically reset your NCB to 0 years. All your discount is lost and you start again.

  • For not-at-fault claims where someone else caused the accident, impact on your NCB depends on your insurer's ability to recover costs:

    • If your insurer can claim back their full payout from the at-fault driver's insurance, your NCB is unaffected.

    • If your insurer cannot fully recover their costs, your NCB will be reduced, even though you were not at fault.

  • On a multi-car policy, a claim made by any driver on the policy can reduce the overall policy NCB and increase premiums.

  • The more years of NCB accumulated, the more you have to lose from a claim. Protect your NCB once it reaches 4+ years.

  • Consider adding NCB protection for a small additional premium. This allows certain claims without losing your NCB:

    • Accidents where you are at fault.

    • Theft or vandalism claims.

    • Windscreen repair claims (some insurers).

  • NCB protection does not guarantee your insurance premium won't rise after a claim. Check your policy wording.

  • After a claim, compare quotes very carefully before renewing. Your NCB years may recover but premium could remain high.

  • Minor claims for repairs below your excess amount should not impact your NCB. But declaring too many small claims may still increase your premium.

  • If you need to claim, be proactive with repairs and cooperate fully with your insurer's investigations to maximize cost recovery.

  • Maintain a good driving record before and after a claim to help offset the premium increase. Avoid penalties.

While claims often feel unavoidable, do everything possible to protect your NCB. Drive carefully, choose comprehensive cover, add protections, and shop around to minimize the long-term impacts on your policy costs.

No-Claim Bonus for Multiple Cars and Named Drivers

Understanding how no-claims bonuses (NCB) work across multiple cars and named drivers on your policy can maximize your savings:

  • Each car has its own separate NCB - you cannot use your NCB on more than one car simultaneously.

  • On a multi-car policy, claims affect the NCB on the individual car used by the claiming driver. Other cars retain their NCB.

    • However, overall policy premium still likely increases due to claim record.
  • Some insurers offer "mirrored NCB" allowing use on multiple cars, if policy terms met.

  • Named drivers on someone else's policy do not earn their own NCB. The policy owner accrues the NCB.

  • Adding an experienced named driver can still reduce premiums based on their driving profile.

  • For families with multiple occasional drivers, temporary insurance may cost less than named driver premiums.

  • Young drivers can find it difficult to build NCB initially. Consider:

    • Becoming a named driver to get experience under your belt.

    • Taking out a policy for an older, low-value car to establish NCB.

  • When new drivers take out a policy, insurers may offer initial NCB if a parent has NCB protected.

  • Building up your own NCB remains the best way to maximize savings when you start insuring your own car.

  • If you've built NCB as a named driver, you may be able to transfer proof to a new policy in your own name.

Tips for named drivers:

  • Ask about any possible NCB benefits when named on parents' policy.

  • Have your driving history and details added as a named driver.

  • Shop around when taking out your own policy - a zero NCB does not mean you can't find competitive quotes.

So while named drivers don't directly earn NCB, the experience can still pay off in the long run. Taking advantage of all available discounts remains important for new and young drivers facing high premiums.

No-Claim Bonus Reduces Your Insurance Premiums

The key benefit of maintaining a no-claims bonus (NCB) is the significant savings you can receive on your car insurance premiums. Here's how the NCB discount works:

  • Each year without a claim adds a year of NCB, increasing your discount percentage.

  • Discounts typically range from 30% for 1 year of NCB to 60%+ for 5+ years.

  • The NCB discount amount can vary widely by insurer. It pays to shop around.

  • Higher NCB does not automatically mean the cheapest overall premium. Get quotes and compare carefully.

  • NCB is applied as a percentage discount off your base premium. Your base premium is also affected by:

    • Car make, model, and value

    • Where you live

    • Your driving history and profile

    • Level of policy cover chosen

  • Reduce your base premium where possible by:

    • Choosing a lower insurance group vehicle

    • Opting for higher voluntary excesses

    • Limiting annual mileage

    • Adding security features to your car

    • Taking a passive driver course if young or inexperienced

  • Consider optional NCB protection to avoid premium increases after claims.

  • If your NCB expires, you may lose all discount. Maintain continuous insurance to keep your NCB active.

  • Gaps in insurance can still affect your premiums when restarting your policy after a break.

No Claims Bonus Impact Example:

Policy Year NCB Years NCB Discount Base Premium Total Premium
1 0 0% £500 £500
2 1 30% £500 £350
3 2 35% £500 £325
4 3 45% £500 £275
5 4 55% £500 £225

Leverage your growing NCB for maximum savings, but also focus on reducing your underlying risk profile and base premium. Combine a high NCB with prudent choices on coverage, voluntary excess and car model to see substantial reductions in your annual insurance costs.

Shopping Around with Your No-Claim Bonus

Your no-claims bonus entitlement is valuable, but you should still shop around thoroughly when renewing or switching insurers:

  • Start shopping around 3-4 weeks before your policy expires to allow time to compare and switch.

  • Compare renewal quote from your existing insurer vs competitors' quotes.

  • Getting quotes with different insurers also verifies your proof of NCB is applied accurately.

  • Focus on the overall policy premium, not just the NCB discount offered.

  • Insurers calculate premiums differently - a higher NCB discount does not always equal the cheapest quote.

  • Compare not just price but also important policy features like:

    • Level of cover provided (comprehensive, third party etc)

    • Excess amounts

    • Territorial limits

    • Courtesy car provision etc

  • Be willing to switch insurers to get the best deal, even after years of loyalty.

  • Consider using a comparison site to get quotes from multiple providers quickly.

  • If switching, choose an insurer that widely accepts NCB proofs from other providers.

  • Submit your original proof of NCB to new insurer within their time limit.

  • Verify old insurer will update their records so your NCB entitlement is not overstated.

  • Try to avoid gaps between old and new policy cover when switching.

  • If you cannot switch in time, consider short-term extension on old policy.

Other Savings Tips:

  • Increasing your voluntary excess can reduce premiums further.

  • Consider telematics (black box) policies that base premiums on actual driving.

  • Add parents or a partner as a named driver to get access to their NCB and driving history.

Never auto-renew your car insurance without checking the market. A high NCB alone does not guarantee the cheapest available price. Regularly shopping around allows you to maximize savings while enjoying the benefits of your growing no-claims discount.

Options to Protect Your No-Claim Bonus

Once you've built up your no-claims bonus (NCB), you'll want to protect it from being reduced by claims:

  • Most insurers allow you to pay an extra premium to add NCB protection.

  • This is usually an additional 5-15% on top of your base premium.

  • It prevents your NCB years from being reduced after certain claims:

    • Accidents where you were at fault

    • Theft and vandalism claims

    • Windscreen repair claims (with some insurers)

  • Check exactly which claim types are covered for protection. Limitations normally include:

    • You may only be protected for a limited number of claims over a set period.

    • There may be a payout limit on protected claims before NCB is affected.

    • Some insurers exclude own-vehicle damage from protection.

  • NCB protection only maintains your discount level - your base premium can still increase due to claims.

  • For maximum protection on a multi-car policy:

    • Add NCB protection on both cars.

    • Both drivers are then protected regardless of which car they use.

  • Before renewing after a claim, get quotes with NCB protection vs quotes accepting reduced NCB.

  • Consider the value of protection if you have high NCB of 4+ years.

  • Protection gives more flexibility to use a lower voluntary excess and retain NCB.

  • Those prone to windscreen cracks or minor mishaps gain most benefit from protection.

  • Young and inexperienced drivers are riskier propositions - protection may be refused or very expensive.

Alternatives to NCB protection:

  • Drive a lower-value car while you build NCB years.

  • Maintain a high voluntary excess to avoid small claims.

  • Choose a higher insurance group/risk profile car after you reach maximum NCB.

NCB protection provides peace of mind against loss of discounts after a claim. Evaluate based on your driving profile, NCB years insured for and quoted cost.

If Your No-Claim Bonus Expires

If you have a gap in insurance of more than 2 years, your no-claims bonus will typically expire and reset to 0 years with insurers:

  • This means losing all the discounts you accumulated over previous years.

  • Main options to minimize impact of expired NCB:

1. Resume insurance cover within 2 years

  • Take out a policy with your previous insurer if possible - they may maintain your NCB.

  • Provide your proof of NCB and explain the gap - insurers can sometimes offer concessions.

  • Your premium will still likely increase significantly compared to before gap.

2. Insure a lower-value vehicle initially

  • Insurers associate certain cars with higher risk, hence higher premiums.

  • Minimize impact of zero NCB by initially insuring an older, low-insurance group car.

  • Once you rebuild years of NCB, you can insure your preferred car model again.

3. Consider telematics "black box" policies

  • These base premiums on actual driving behaviour via in-car tracking device.

  • Your specific driving data can help offset a zero NCB premium increase.

4. Opt for higher voluntary excess

  • Choose a higher excess like £500 to reduce base premiums.

  • Useful to mitigate renewal premium rise after NCB expiry.

5. Add experienced drivers as named drivers

  • Adding parents or a partner links their NCB and history to your policy.

  • This can help offset the premium increase from expired NCB.

Let your insurer know if your NCB lapsed unintentionally due to circumstances like working overseas. While your premium will likely rise, steps like the above can help minimize the impact of losing your no-claims discount.

Final Tips on No Claims Bonuses

To recap, here are some final tips on fully utilizing your no-claims bonus (NCB):

  • Check your renewal notice or request proof of NCB from your insurer to confirm your entitlement annually.

  • When switching insurers, give yourself enough time (up to 21 days) to provide the new insurer with your original NCB proof documents.

  • Shop around thoroughly - a higher NCB does not guarantee the cheapest overall premium. Compare quotes in detail.

  • Consider NCB protection once you have 4+ years of discounts to avoid losing your NCB from claims.

  • If your NCB expires after a gap in insurance, provide proof and explanation to new insurers. They may offer concessions.

  • Having zero NCB doesn't preclude you from getting competitive quotes - insure a lower-value car initially or take other steps to reduce risk.

  • On multi-car policies, claims affect the individual driver's NCB. Protect the main driver's NCB for maximum benefit.

  • Understand when minor claims under your excess limit also need to be declared. Too many may increase premiums.

  • If you have to claim, cooperate fully with your insurer and their investigations to maximize ability to recover costs.

  • After a claim, if you renew, get quotes with reduced NCB and quotes with NCB protection to compare options.

  • Avoid policy gaps when switching insurers. Consider short-term extension of old policy if required.

Other Important Points:

  • Maintain continuous insurance to keep NCB active - it expires after 2 years without cover.

  • Named drivers don't earn separate NCB but listing them can still reduce family policy premiums.

  • Penalty points don't directly affect NCB - only actual claims do. But points can still increase your premium.

Use your NCB discount to maximum effect, but also look holistically at your whole insurance policy and premiums. Combining NCB with other strategic choices will save you the most money.


A no-claims bonus remains one of the most effective ways to reduce your car insurance premiums over time. Maintaining a clean claims history rewards safe driving. But you need to manage your NCB carefully - check your annual proof of NCB, transfer it between insurers properly, and protect it once established.

Shopping around, rather than automatically renewing, ensures you get the best deal accounting for your NCB. And combining your growing NCB discount with other measures to reduce risk, like voluntary excesses and car choice, maximizes savings further.

Now you have a thorough understanding of how no-claims bonuses work, how to transfer them, protect them, and leverage them for cheaper insurance. Drive safely, minimize claims, keep proof of your NCB, and shop around. Your loyalty will be rewarded with substantial savings.

Other readers were also interested to read the following posts:

The Impact of a Comprehensive Insurance Claim on Your Premium

How to Save Money on Your Comprehensive Coverage Policy

How to Get Comprehensive Coverage Car Insurance Discounts

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