What about claim-free years?

Claim-free years The term 'claim-free years' appears to raise many questions. Many people are familiar with the concept, but do not know exactly how it works, for example, with the accumulation and validity of claim-free years. We are happy to explain this to you.

What are claim-free years?

Every year that you do not make a claim, you build up one claim-free year. As long as you do not make any claims with your insurer, you build up claim-free years during the term of your car insurance. With these claim-free years you receive a premium discount on your car insurance. The more claim-free years you build up, the more premium discount you will receive.

Negative claim-free years

When you do make claims to your insurer, your claim-free years will decrease. Each claim you make causes you to regress an average of 3 years on the bonus-malus ladder. So it is possible that you may have negative claim -free years if you have only been insured for 1 year, for example. When you have negative claim-free years, this is called a malus situation. The consequence of a malus situation is that you have to pay a higher premium for your car insurance. When your balance is negative, this can affect your ability to get a new car insurance policy. This is because it is not a given that every insurance company will accept drivers with a malus situation. Before canceling your insurance, it is wise to check with the new insurance company to see if they are willing to accept you.

How does claim-free years work with a second car?

When you own two or more cars, it is not possible to have the same number of claim-free years on all cars at the same time. You build up claim-free years per car. For example: you have had 12 consecutive claim-free years with car one and now you buy another car. Car two will then start with zero claim-free years. With some insurers it is possible to insure the second car at the same discount as the first car. The second car will then not receive the claim-free years of car one. This is called the second car arrangement.

Can I take over the claim-free years of another motor vehicle?

You can transfer the claim-free years to the insurance of another motor vehicle when you cancel your motor vehicle insurance. For instance you cancel your motor insurance and want to transfer your claim-free years to your moped insurance. This is possible and vice versa of course. This immediately gives you an extra discount.

Are young people a high-risk group for claim-free years?

Young people usually pay considerably more for their car insurance. This is because they belong to a so-called risk group that is statistically more involved in accidents. In addition, young people do not have any (or few) claim-free years. The more claim-free years you have built up, the more discount on the premium. Young people therefore miss out on this premium discount.

How does the bonus-malus ladder work?

Insurance companies determine, based on the bonus-malus ladder and the number of valid accrued years without claims, how much discount you will receive on the basic premium of your car insurance. The amount of the so-called no-claim discount depends on your claim-free years. The amount of the discount is determined by the bonus-malus ladder of the insurance company. Each insurer has its own no-claims bonus ladder. It is therefore possible that with one insurer you receive more discount with your no-claims years than with another insurer.

As long as you do not claim any damage during the term of your insurance, you build up a claim-free year each year. This means that you move up one step each year on the no-claims bonus ladder. When you make a claim, you naturally fall on the no-claims bonus ladder, which also means that your premium increases. The decrease on the ladder is usually by several steps at once. You can even end up with a negative number of claim-free years, resulting in a premium surcharge.

How do I show the number of claim-free years?

There are four different ways in which you can prove your claim-free years, namely:

  1. Roy-data system
    When you have taken out a car insurance policy after 1 September 2007, you will find all your accumulated claim-free years in the Roy-data system. This system is a central database in which all insurers in the Netherlands keep their claims data. When you take out a new car insurance, the insurer will check your data in this system.
  2. Statement
    Your insurer will send you a statement after you have cancelled your car insurance. It states how many claim-free years you have built up during the term of your insurance. The insurer does not issue a cancellation statement anymore. This is not necessary anymore because the data of the cancellation statement are directly placed in the Roy-data system by your insurer. Only in case of emigration the insurance company will issue a paper statement.
  3. Lease declaration
    If you have used a lease car, the lease company can provide a lease declaration. A lease statement must meet certain requirements. It explains any damage to your lease car. Most insurance companies accept the lease statement, because lease companies generally register damages well.
  4. Employer's statement
    The last way to prove your claim-free years is by means of an employer's statement. An employer's statement also has to meet certain requirements. It is possible that insurance companies do not accept an employer's statement. Always inform in advance whether your employer's statement will be accepted by the insurer.

If the information provided by you is incorrect or incomplete, the insurer may adjust the premium and/or the conditions as of the commencement date of the insurance.

What is the Roy data system?

The Roy-data system is a national system in which royalty data from insurers is stored. As of 1 September 2007, all insurance companies have switched to digitally storing the number of claim-free years that customers accumulate. The system covers cars, delivery vans, motorbikes and mopeds. When you switch to another insurer, your current insurer will pass on the number of claim-free years you have accrued to Roy-data. These claim-free years are important for the bonus-malus discount with the new insurer. One of the advantages of the Roy-data system is that when you change your insurance company, it is no longer necessary for you to hand over the paper death certificate to the new company. The loss or not receiving this statement (bonus-malus statement) is now a thing of the past.

What does this mean for car insurance?

When you take out a car insurance policy, the insurance company will check the Roy-Data system to see how many claim-free years you have accumulated, based on the number of years you have claimed. If these claim-free years have not yet been claimed by another company, they will be allocated to the new policy. If you would like to see your registration in Roy-data, you can download the form 'view registration Roy-data' at www.seps.nl. You can find more information about Roy-data at the website of Stichting Efficient Processen Schadeverzekeraars (www.seps.nl).

What about claim-free years with a vintage car?

With classic old-timer insurance, you cannot build up years of loss-free insurance. Insurers use a fixed premium for this insurance. This means that the premium does not change in the event of damage or loss.

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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Last updated: 20-03-2023

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