Claim-free years are the years that you have not claimed any damage with your insurer. For each claim-free year you climb 1 bonus malus step. The higher you climb the bonus malus ladder, the more discount you will receive on your premium. The discount can increase to 80% with 15 claim-free years. The moment you claim damage, you fall back 5 steps to a maximum of -5 claim-free years.
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What are claim-free years?
Claim-free years are years that you do not claim a claim with the insurer. For every year that you do not claim, you get 1 claim-free year. By driving damage-free, you receive a discount on the insurance premium. The more claim-free years you have, the more no-claim discount you get. Claim-free years are recorded in Roy-Data. Roy Data is the central database of the EPS Foundation (Efficient Processes Claims Insurers). When you cancel a car insurance policy, the insurer registers your accumulated no-claim years. When you subsequently take out a new car insurance policy, your new insurer consults the Roy Data database to see how many claim-free years you have. Because of this, you no longer have to provide a termination statement when you take out a new car insurance policy.
How do claim-free years work?
For every year that you don't claim with your car insurance company, you get 1 claim-free year. The more claim-free years you have, the lower your car insurance premium will be. Do you claim a damage? Then you lose 5 claim-free years. If you have not yet built up that many claim-free years or if you claim several damages in a short period of time, you can also end up with negative claim-free years. Negative claim-free years make car insurance expensive. You will not get a premium discount, but a premium surcharge. In that case you will pay more for your car insurance.
How many claim-free years do I have?
Claim-free years are recorded in the Roy-Data database. This only happens when the car insurance is terminated. Your current claim-free years are therefore not yet registered here. If you want to know how many claim-free years you have, you can ask your current car insurer or intermediary. The insurer must also inform you annually how many claim-free years you have. They mention this on the insurance policy you receive every year.
How long do claim-free years remain valid?
After canceling a car insurance policy, claim-free years remain valid for 3 years with most insurers. If you want to use the claim-free years with a new car insurance policy, you have to take it out within 3 years. After 3 years the claim-free years expire and you can no longer use them. You then start again with building up claim-free years and receive no or little premium discount when buying a new car insurance.
How do I know if I have claim-free years?
Not sure if you have already accumulated claim-free years? Then you can check with your current car insurance company. They can tell you how many claim-free years you have accumulated during the term of your car insurance. Did you have a car insurance on your name before? Then you may have accumulated claim-free years during that period. The claim-free years are then registered in Roy Data. You can request this data yourself. You can do this via the EPS website by means of the inspection right form. Here you fill in your personal data. Then send the form digitally, together with a copy of your proof of identity. After sending the form, it may take a while before you receive the claim-free years. In most cases this takes a maximum of 28 days.
When do you lose claim-free years?
You lose claim-free years by making a claim to your insurer. For every claim you make, you lose 5 claim-free years. If you have more than 15 claim-free years, you always fall back to 10 claim-free years after a claim. Before Jan. 1, 2016, this was different. Back then, each insurer was allowed to decide how many claim-free years you lost after a claim. Because of this, it could happen that you lost 3 claim-free years with one insurer, and 5 with another, while it concerned the same claim. This was considered unfair and therefore a new regulation was created. With this regulation, everyone who claims a damage falls back 5 claim-free years.
Company car and claim-free years: what about it?
If you have a company car, you can also accrue claim-free years. If you have accumulated claim-free years in a company car, you can ask your employer or lease company for a lease statement. With a lease statement, you can often count these claim-free years toward your car insurance. Previously, not every insurer paid claim-free on the basis of a lease statement, but since Jan. 1, 2022, it is stipulated that every insurer records pure claim-free years in Roy Data on the basis of a lease statement.
When do claim-free years expire?
When claim-free years are no longer linked to a car insurance policy, they may expire. This does not happen immediately, but after a period of 3 years. When you cancel your car insurance and do not take out a new insurance policy within 3 years where you use the claim-free years, they expire. Claim-free years are therefore not valid indefinitely, but have an expiration date.
How many claim-free years will I lose?
By claiming on your car insurance policy, you lose claim-free years. One claim can cost you five claim-free years. Because of fewer claim-free years, the premium in the following insurance year can rise sharply. Not all claims result in a loss of years. Damages that are insured in the WA limited casco are not at the expense of the claim-free years. These include, for example, windshield damage, storm and hail damage and theft of the car. In case of damage caused by a collision or vandalism, the claim on the insurance will be at the expense of your claim-free years.
Claim-free years transferable since 1-1-2022
Since Jan. 1, 2022, claim-free years are transferable in some situations. Upon death, for example, they can be transferred to the surviving partner. Also for lease drivers and drivers who have lived abroad for years, it is now possible to transfer claim-free years. This way they do not lose their accumulated claim-free years. You can read more about this new regulation in our blog post.
In some cases, you must prove your accrued claim-free years in another way. This can be done in the following ways:
- Lease statement - Motorists who have driven a leased car do not get claim-free years recorded in their name. The lease statement allows the leasing company to note how many years you have driven the leased car and how many claims have been made. Based on this statement, the new insurer awards claim-free years.
- Waiver - In case of a divorce it is possible to allocate (part of) the claim-free years to the ex-partner who does not have the years in his/her name. With a waiver claim-free years can be transferred.
The calculation of the claim-free years can be done in two different ways:
- You can call your insurance company or agent. They have access to the accrued claim-free years.
- You can calculate your claim-free years yourself
Insurers calculate claim-free years using a table called the bonus malus ladder. Using this table, you can calculate how much discount you will receive on your premium.
By taking out a car insurance policy in your name and driving claim-free, you build up claim-free years. Claim-free years entitle you to a discount on your car insurance. How much discount you get for one additional claim-free year varies per insurer. Actually, the insurer rewards you for your driving behavior. With for example 10 or 15 claim-free years you have reached the maximum discount.
You can request claim-free years from your insurer or from Roy-Data. Damage-free years are only entered into Roy-Data after your insurance has ended. If you still have a car insurance policy, your current accumulated claim-free years are not yet registered. You should always request these from your car insurer. Through the website of Stichting EPS you can request your data from Roy-Data.
Negative claim-free years
If you have claim-free years, the insurer rewards you for this through premium discounts. If you have negative claim -free years, you will pay more premium. Negative claim-free years are obtained by making many claims. For each claim you lose 5 claim-free years. If you are a beginning driver, you have not yet built up many claim-free years. If you have not yet built up 5 claim-free years, but you do claim a damage, 5 claim-free years are deducted and you end up in the minus. In this way, you will have negative claim-free years to your name.
Maximum claim-free years
Since 2016, you can build up to 99 claim-free years with every insurer. Previously, insurers could determine this themselves based on their bonus-malus table, but now this is the same with every insurer. Do you have more than 15 claim-free years? Then you will still fall back to 10 claim-free years in case of one claim.
It is not possible to buy claim-free years. You earn damage-free years by not claiming any damage with your insurer. Do you have car damage, but is it minor and the repair costs are not too high? Then it is sometimes better to pay for the damage yourself than to claim it from the insurer. Often the premium increase that occurs when you claim damage is higher than the total damage amount of a small damage.
Claim-free years are locked into a car insurance policy. Once the insurance is terminated, the claim-free years are released. Unfortunately, claim-free years are not valid indefinitely. They expire when you cancel an insurance policy and do not take out an insurance policy within three years where you use the claim-free years. So within 3 years you have to take out insurance again. Once the claim-free years have expired you can no longer use them and you have to start building up again. This affects the premium of your car insurance.
Buying off claim-free years is actually nothing more than taking the damage for your own account. You have at least one year after the damage date to pay for the damage yourself. The maximum period for (re)paying the damage can differ per insurer. By paying for the damage yourself, you ensure that you do not lose your claim-free years.
Do you have car damage after an accident? Then this can affect your claim-free years, but it does not have to. Not every damage costs you claim-free years. Damages covered by a WA + Limited Comprehensive insurance often do not cost you any claim-free years. These include damage caused by fire, storm, hail and lightning, damage by stray animals, windshield damage and burglary and theft. Even if you yourself were not at fault for the damage, this will not cost you any claim-free years. Think for example of a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian who crossed the wrong way. Also damage caused by vandalism that can be recovered from the perpetrator will not cost you any claim-free years.
Basically, claim-free years are personal. This means that you cannot transfer them to another person's name. However, there are some exceptions. With partners, it is often possible to transfer claim-free years. However, this means that the other person can no longer use them. This is because you cannot copy claim-free years. It is actually the same with money: if you give your partner 20 euros, you lose it yourself. So it works the same way with claim-free years. It is not possible to transfer claim-free years to an acquaintance or friend.
You can look up claim-free years in several ways. Among other things, they are registered in the Roy Data database. You can request access to your data yourself. You can do this by completing the Request for Inspection form on the EPS website. Damage-free years that are still fixed in a current car insurance policy are not recorded in Roy Data. For this you can contact your current car insurer. They are also listed on the insurance policy you receive every year.
Insurers determine the no-claims discount on the basis of the bonus malus ladder. This is made up of different levels. Based on your accumulated claim-free years, an insurer determines where you are on the ladder and how much discount you will receive. The higher you are on the ladder, the more no-claim discount you will receive. Each insurer has its own bonus malus arrangement. As a result, there may be differences in discount between different insurers. You can find your insurer's bonus-malus scheme in the policy conditions.
Per car or per person
Claim-free years are personal. You only build up claim-free years if there is a car insurance policy in your name. So your partner or child will not build up any claim-free years, even if they drive the car the same amount. In some cases, however, claim-free years can be transferred to your partner, for example in case of divorce or death. In these cases it is a matter of transferring the years, because you cannot copy claim-free years. Claims-free years that have been transferred to a partner can therefore no longer be used by you in a car insurance policy.
Claim-free years are rewarded by an insurer. If you have many claim-free years, the insurer is less likely to have to pay out a claim. They therefore reward this with a discount on the insurance premium. The more claim-free years you have, the more premium discount you get. The discount can be as high as 80%. With smaller claims, it is therefore sometimes more advantageous to pay for the damage yourself, so it does not come at the expense of your claim-free years and premium discount. By claiming one damage, you immediately lose 5 claim-free years. This can have a major impact on your premium.
2 cars in 1 name
Maybe you have a second family car, both of which are in your name. If you already have car insurance for the first car, you would naturally like to carry your claim-free years and accrued no-claims over to your second car insurance policy. Unfortunately, this is usually not possible. Claim-free years can only be used for one car. However, some insurers have a second car scheme. In the second car scheme, the discount is carried over from the first car, but the policies are not otherwise linked. In case of damage to one of the two cars, it does not affect the other car insurance.
Did you have years of claim-free driving in a company car? Then of course you would like to transfer these years to your own car insurance. In that case, you can ask your employer or lease company for a lease statement. A lease statement states in which period you drove the car and how many claim-free years you have accumulated during that period. You then send this lease statement to your car insurer. On the basis of this lease statement, the insurer awards claim-free years.
Claim-free years that are no longer linked to a car insurance are only valid to a limited extent. In the past, claim-free years were only valid for one year. Insurers have realised that this is an unreasonably short period. Most insurers now offer claim-free years that are not linked to an insurance policy for a period of three years.
When buying a second family car, you start again with zero claim-free years. The insurance premium for this second car will then be high. This can be different if the insurer uses the second car scheme. Then you can get an extra discount on the insurance of the second car. This discount is based on the claim-free years in the first car insurance.
Claim-free years are personal. If you own a car together as partners, only one of you accrues claim-free years. To avoid that one of you is left with no claim-free years in a divorce (and thus pays much more for a new car insurance policy), claim-free years can be (partially) awarded to an ex-partner. For this, you need a waiver. With a waiver, the claim-free years can be transferred.
Accumulation via parents
When determining the premium, an insurer looks at a number of factors. Not only your claim-free years, but also your age and zip code affect the amount of the premium. For young drivers up to 24 years old, the premium is a lot higher than for older drivers. This is because statistics show that young drivers have more frequent claims than older, more experienced drivers. Damage-free can bring down the premium for car insurance, but as a young driver you obviously haven't built up that many claim-free years yet. As a parent, you might want to transfer some claim-free years to your son or daughter. Unfortunately, this will not work. Claims-free years are transferable between partners, but not to others.
No claim means "no claim. No claim means that you do not claim any damage to the insurer. For every year that you do not claim any damage with the car insurer, you get one claim-free year. The more claim-free years you have, the more discount you get on the basic premium of your car insurance. This discount is also called no-claim discount. How much discount you get for one extra claim-free year differs per insurer. Actually, the insurer rewards you for your driving behavior.
In some cases it is possible to take over claim-free years. For example, if your partner dies. The claim-free years can then be taken over by the remaining partner. In the event of a divorce, it is also possible to take over (part of) the claim-free years. Partners often share a car, but only the person in whose name the car insurance is registered, builds up claim-free years. Even if the other person drives the car just as often. To prevent your ex-partner from being left with no claim-free years and thus paying much more premium, a portion of the claim-free years can be transferred.
If you have car insurance in your name, you build up claim-free years. If you lease a car, it is almost always in the name of the leasing company. Officially, you do not build up any claim-free years. A shame, especially if you have been driving the car for many years without claims. If you are going to buy your own car after the lease period, you also have to get your own car insurance. In most cases, it is still possible to take the accumulated non-life years with you. You can request a lease statement from the lease company. Based on this statement, your new car insurance company will determine how many claim-free years you will receive.
A hailstorm can cause considerable damage to your car. Even so much damage that you can no longer drive your car. In that case you have to have your car repaired. Do you have a WA + limited casco or an all-risk car insurance? Then you are also insured for car damage caused by hail. Claiming damage to your car due to hailstones does not affect your claim-free years. Your claim-free years remain unchanged in case of hail damage.
Falling back in claim-free years has a number of consequences. If you make a claim with the insurer, you fall back on the bonus malus ladder. You will then receive less premium discount and pay more premium for your car insurance. If you have not yet built up many claim-free years or if you make several claims in a short period of time, you can also end up with negative claim-free years. This means that you no longer get a premium discount at all, but a premium surcharge. It is wise to always look at the consequences of claiming a damage first. Is the damage relatively small and the repair costs not too high? Then you can consider paying for the damage yourself.
Bonus malus ladder
A bonus malus ladder is a table that insurers use to determine the no-claims discount for your car insurance policy. The discount you receive is determined by the number of no-claim years you have. The higher you are on the ladder, the more no-claim discount you will receive. Each insurer has its own bonus malus scheme. As a result, there may be differences in discount between different insurers. You can find the bonus-malus scheme of your insurer in the policy conditions.
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