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How does the bonus malus system work?

Insurers use the bonus malus system as a reward system to reward claim-free driving. The more claim-free years you accumulate, the more discount you get on the insurance premium of your car insurance. This discount is also called no-claim discount. By building up claim-free years, the premium of your insurance decreases every year. If you make a claim with the insurer, you lose claim-free years again and the premium actually goes up, because the no-claim discount drops. If you fall rapidly on the ladder, you can also end up with negative claim-free years. In that case, you will even receive a premium surcharge.

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bonus malus system

What does bonus malus mean?

The bonus malus system is term used in relation to insurance, such as auto insurance. Bonus malus comes from Latin and means good (bonus) and bad (malus). Through the bonus malus system, "good drivers" are rewarded and "bad drivers" are punished. If you do not claim any damage with your insurer, you build up claim-free years. Based on these claim-free years, the insurer will give you a premium discount (bonus). This premium discount is therefore also called bonus malus discount or no-claims discount. Each European country has its own bonus-malus system, but there are sometimes major differences in terms of content. We explain how the bonus-malus system works in the Netherlands.

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Each insurer has its own bonus malus ladder

The no-claim discount is calculated on the basis of the bonus malus ladder. The bonus malus ladder consists, just like a real ladder, of steps. 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.

You can choose an extra no-claims protector

When you take out your car insurance policy, you can choose to take out no-claims protection. This means that you can submit one claim per year, without this affecting your no-claim discount. You will, however, lose claim-free years, but this does not affect the amount of the premium. It does, however, affect the moment you switch to another insurer.

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.

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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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