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What about claim-free years?

Claim-free years appear to raise many questions. Many people are familiar with the term, but do not know exactly how it works with, for example, the accumulation and validity of claim-free years. We would like to explain that to you.

What are claim-free years?

Each year that you do not claim, you build up one claim-free year. As long as you do not claim any damage with the insurer, you will build up claim-free years during the term of your car insurance. With these claim-free years you will 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 claim damages from the insurer, your claim-free years will decrease. Each claim you file causes you to decline an average of 5 years on the bonus-malus ladder. So it is possible that you 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.

Claim-free years

What is the validity of claim-free years?

Claim-free years are released after an insurance policy is cancelled. The claim-free years are valid for 12 months after the cancellation date. After that, the accumulated claim-free years expire. When you suspend your policy, your claim-free years are valid for a maximum of 3 years. When your policy is suspended for more than a year and you want to switch to another insurer, you have to activate your policy first and then cancel it. If you do not do this, the claim-free years will still expire because they have not been used for more than 12 months.

Meanwhile, many companies have changed the validity of a cancellation notice to sometimes up to 3 years.
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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 of them 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 insurance. For example, you cancel your motorcycle insurance and want to transfer your claim-free years to your moped insurance. The other way around, however, this is unfortunately not possible. Insurers find that the claim-free years you have accumulated with your moped have little value for car insurance. A common argument is that the driving experience you gain with the moped is irrelevant to driving a car. Experience in moped driving does not reduce the likelihood of being in a car accident. Therefore, they do not count the claim-free years you accrue with your moped when calculating the car premium.

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 how much discount you get on the basic premium of your car insurance on the basis of the no-claims ladder and the number of valid claim-free years. The amount of the so-called no-claim discount depends on your claim-free years. The amount of the discount is fixed in the bonus-malus ladder of the insurance company. Each insurer has its own bonus-malus ladder. It is therefore possible that you receive more discount with your no-claims years with one insurer than with another insurer.

As long as you do not claim any damage during the term of the insurance policy, you build up a claim-free year each year. This means that each year you move up one step on the no-claims bonus scale. When you claim damage, you naturally drop down the bonus-malus ladder, which also means that the premium goes up. The drop on the ladder is usually several steps at a time. You may even end up with a negative number of claim-free years, resulting in a premium surcharge.

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What is No-claim protection?

When you take out no-claim protection on top of your car insurance, it means that your no-claim discount will not be reduced when you drive a single claim. Suppose you have accumulated many no-claim years and you have made a claim. Then you can be deducted from your no-claim discount. If you do not have no-claim protection, then you will pay more premium for your car insurance when you make a claim.

It's a big misconception that with no-claims protection you don't have a drop in claim-free years. You do fall back in claim-free years, but not in discount. As a result, you will not pay more in the event of a claim, but it is possible that you are 'in the malus' because of the decline. This only becomes visible when you cancel your policy. A no-claims protection is therefore only beneficial if you stay with the same insurance company.


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

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

  1. Roy-data system
    If you took out car insurance after September 1, 2007, you will find all your accrued claim-free years in the Roy-data system. This system is a central database in which all insurers in the Netherlands keep their cancellation data. When taking out a new car insurance policy, the insurer will check the data in this system.
  2. Cancellation Sheet
    The insurer will send you an expiration notice after you cancel your car insurance. This lists your accrued claim-free years during the term of your insurance. The insurer no longer issues an annulment certificate. This is no longer necessary because the data from the termination statement are placed directly in the Roy-data system by your insurer. Only in case of emigration will the insurance company still issue a paper statement.
  3. Lease Statement
    If you have used a leased car, the leasing company may provide a lease statement. A lease statement must meet certain requirements. It explains any damages to your lease car. Most insurance companies accept the lease statement because lease companies generally record damages well.
  4. Employer Statement
    The final way to prove your claim-free years is through an employer's statement. An employer's statement must also meet certain requirements. Insurance companies may not accept an employer's statement. Always inform in advance whether your employer's statement will be accepted by the insurer.

If it subsequently turns out that the information you provided is incorrect or incomplete, the insurer may adjust the premium and/or the terms and conditions as of the effective date of the insurance.

What is the Roy data system?

The Roy-data system is a national system that stores cancellation data from insurers. As of September 1, 2007, all insurance companies switched to digitally storing the number of claim-free years accrued by customers. The system covers cars, vans, campers and motorcycles. When you switch to another insurer, the number of accrued claim-free years are passed on by your current insurer 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 it is no longer necessary for you, when changing insurance company, to hand over the paper termination statement to the new company. So losing or not receiving this cancellation statement (bonus-malus statement) is now over.

What does this mean for car insurance?

When taking out a car insurance policy, the insurance company will, on the basis of the number of claim-free years provided by you, check in the Roy-Data system how many claim-free years you have accumulated. If these claim-free years have not yet been claimed by another company, they will be assigned to the new policy. If you want access to your registration in Roy-data, you can download the form 'access to registration Roy-data' at www.seps.nl. On the website of Stichting Efficien Processen Schadeverzekeraars (www.seps.nl), you can find more information about Roy-data.

What about claim-free years with a vintage car?

Classic vintage car insurance does not allow you to accrue claim-free years. On this insurance, insurers use a fixed premium. Therefore, the premium does not change when you drive without claims or in case of damage.

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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