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What is a bonus malus scheme?

The bonus malus scheme is also known as the bonus malus system. It is a reward system by which insurers reward claim-free driving. By not claiming any damage with your insurer, you get claim-free years. These claim-free years then provide a discount on your car insurance premium. The more claim-free years you build up, the more premium discount you get. With the bonus malus arrangement, the insurer determines exactly how much no-claim discount you will receive.

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bonus malus arrangement

Meaning of bonus malus scheme

The term "bonus malus" comes from Latin and means good (bonus) and bad (malus). Through the bonus malus scheme, 'good drivers' are rewarded and 'bad drivers' are punished. By good drivers, insurers understand people who do not claim on their car insurance. Based on your accumulated claim-free years you will receive a premium discount (bonus). This premium discount is therefore also called bonus malus discount or no-claim discount. Each European country has its own bonus malus system, but the content of this system sometimes differs greatly. We explain how the bonus malus arrangement works in the Netherlands.

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How does the bonus malus scheme work?

Insurers calculate the amount of the no-claim discount on the basis of your years of non-life insurance. For this they use the bonus malus ladder. The bonus malus ladder is a table, but we speak of steps just as with a ladder. On the basis of your claim-free years, you are placed on a step. On the basis of the step you can see what percentage of no-claim discount you will receive. The higher you are on the bonus malus ladder, the more discount you will receive. The maximum no-claim discount differs per insurer, but can be considerable. Each insurer is allowed to use its own bonus malus ladder. This means that the amount of the no-claim discount, the number of stages and the maximum discount can differ per insurer.

When do I lose my bonus malus discount?

You lose your discount when you claim a loss from the insurer. For every claim you make, you lose 5 claim-free years. Do you have more than 15 claim-free years? Then after a claim you always fall back to 10 claim-free years. Before 1 January 2016 this was different. At that time each insurer was allowed to determine how many claim-free years you would lose after a claim. Because of this, it could happen that you lost 3 claim-free years with one insurer, and 5 with another, even though it concerned the same claim. This was considered unfair and therefore a new regulation was created. With this regulation, everyone who claims a loss, loses 5 damage free years.

Claim-free years transferable since 1-1-2022

Since 1 January 2022, claim-free years are transferable in certain situations. In case of 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 the claim-free years. This way, they do not lose their accumulated claim-free years. In our blogpost you can read more about this new regulation.

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To calculate premiums, we need the zip code of the primary driver. For private use, the youngest driver must reside at the same address as the applicant. In case of business use, you can enter the postal code of the company here.
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