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How can I build up claim-free years?

There is a lot of confusion about claim-free years, which is not so strange. It is actually strange that you have not caused any damage with your motor vehicle for 15 years, but you have only accumulated 5 claim-free years, for example. How does that work?

Those who drive without a claim get a discount on motor insurance. This is the case for car insurance, but also for motorbike insurance and old-timer insurance. But insurers do not look at whether you have ever caused any damage. They are interested in the demonstrable claim-free years accumulated in a policy.

damage-free driving

How do I build up claim-free years?

You only build up claim-free years if you have insured a car in your name. Damage-free driving in your neighbour's car does not entitle you to claim years. Even if you can prove that you have been driving regularly and have not caused any damage, you are still not entitled to extra discount. For example, you start with zero claim-free years and you buy a car that you insure in your name. For two years you do not claim on the insurance. After two years the insurance is terminated. You will then have built up two claim-free years. Even if you have not or hardly driven the insured car.

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Who accrues claim-free years?

Only the policyholder accrues claim-free years. You only build up claim-free years if you have a car insurance in your name. A partner or child of the insured person does not build up claim-free years, not even if they drive the car as much as the policyholder or even more. Claim-free years are personal. This means that you cannot simply transfer them to another person's name. There are some exceptions, for example in case of death.

Without own car

In principle, you only build up claim-free years if you have taken out a car insurance policy in your name and if you drive that car without incurring any claims. If you and your partner have a car which is not registered in your name, the claim-free years will be credited to your partner. In that case it is important that you, as a regular driver, are mentioned on the insurance policy. Your partner can transfer (part of) the claim-free years to you by means of a waiver. However, your partner's permission is required for this. This is also not possible if you have never been a regular driver on the policy.

Insurance in name of parents

Young people up to the age of 24 have difficulty finding affordable car insurance. As a parent you might want to transfer some claim-free years to your son or daughter. Transferring claim-free years is only possible in a limited number of cases. The policyholder can transfer the years to someone who is registered on the policy as one of the regular drivers. In that case the other person has actually contributed to building up the claim-free years. Giving a son or daughter a number of years is therefore only possible if they are registered on the policy as a regular driver.

Lease car

With a damage-free history in a lease car, you can be entitled to extra damage-free years. You can prove this with a so-called lease declaration. This declaration is issued by the lease company upon termination of the lease agreement. How many claim-free years you will receive for your damage-free driving is up to the insurer to determine. The number can differ per insurer.

Regular driver

The premium of a car insurance is determined based on the characteristics of your car and based on the data of the policyholder and regular driver(s). It is usually based on the age of the youngest driver. Young people pay a higher premium because they drive more often in case of damage than other drivers. Nevertheless, it is important that you give the insurance company the right information. So be honest about the regular drivers of your car.

Can I lose accrued claim-free years?

Claim-free years built up with effort can also be lost by not using them. After termination of a motor insurance, you will receive a statement of the accrued years from the insurer. You can use these years when taking out a new insurance policy. What if you do not take out new motor insurance? Claim-free years that are no longer linked to an insurance were in the past only valid for one year. That was seen as an unreasonably short period. With most insurers, therefore, the claim-free years not linked to an insurance policy are now valid for three years. If they are not linked to an insurance policy within this three-year period, the claim-free years expire.

Can I lose 5 years of accumulated claim-free years due to damage?

During a current car insurance, your claim-free years will not expire just like that. What can happen is that you lose years of claims-free insurance. By making a claim on your car insurance, you will lose years of claims-free time. One claim can cost you five claim-free years. The reduced number of claim-free years can result in a sharp increase in the premium in the following policy year. You do not lose years of insurance for every claim. Damages insured under the WA limited case policy do not affect your claim-free years. This concerns for example windscreen 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 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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