Getting the best price for your motor insurance

Getting more from your no claims bonus whilst serving

As a member of HM Forces (including a family member) or a civilian working alongside, your lifestyle will often cause complications with the motor insurance world as they are not used to their policyholders moving around the world and moving from place to place with such high frequency.

One reason this is an issue is the No Claims Bonus we build up to reduce our annual premium. This can make a substantial saving to the premium we pay with discounts of about 30% for one year’s no claims discount (NCD) and then rising gradually to about 65% discount for 5 or more years claim free.

But due to frequent postings Service personnel can often find themselves cancelling their insurance mid-term meaning that any discount being earned is pegged back to the last renewal value. Do that a few times and you can see Service personnel would soon be a few years behind their civilian counterparts.

The problem worsens if the posting is overseas and there is a need to cancel the UK insurance in favour of a foreign insurance policy or if the policyholder gives up owning a car for a bit whilst they are overseas.

No Claims Discount issued by a foreign insurance company is frequently unacceptable to UK insurers when you return to the UK (even with recognisable firms that have operations in the UK). Those insurers that do accept foreign No Claims Discount will want to see it in writing, in English and stating the precise years of No Claims Discount – not just a percentage saving.

For those who give up owning a car whilst on deployment they need to remember that any current UK No Claims Discount does have a shelf life and will no longer be valid if the duration of non-use is too great. Typically, a British insurer will allow your NCD to stand for 2 years before it expires.

In 2017 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) made arrangements with a number of their motor insurers to allow the validity of the NCD to be extended to three years which would cover most overseas postings. With some firms this has been extended to include the families of Service personnel and civilians working alongside. However, some insurers have limited this gesture to just Service personnel only.

An alternative solution that Forces personnel may find useful is the so-called Driving Experience Discount provided by some specialist insurers/brokers working with the Forces. A Driving Experience Discount works in much the same way as the No Claims Discount scheme and with similar discounts being offered.  However, the eligibility is determined by the actual driving experience of the proposer rather than the proof being provided by an insurance company. To qualify the proposer must show they drive cars frequently, either by personal ownership or the use of military vehicles. They also must have a good driving record.

Forces Solutions have addressed these issues and all their policies recognise No Claims Discount earned with a foreign insurer and where appropriate allow up to 9 years driving experience. Similarly, they will allow any No Claims discount that was last used up to three years previously.

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