LV is the second major insurer to announce a change to the terms and conditions of its car insurance policy for no claims bonuses.
It now lets drivers protect their bonus if they’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver or if their car is damaged by vandalism.
This follows a similar change from Direct Line earlier this year, and both apply to drivers with comprehensive car insurance.
LV and Direct Line have changed their policies around protecting a no claims bonuses
The move is designed to benefit customers by letting them keep hold of their no claims bonus even if they make a claim.
Direct Line and now LV are the only two major insurers to relax the rules around when you can keep your bonus if there is no liable third party and it’s likely others will follow suit.
Heather Smith, managing director of direct insurance at LV=, said: ‘We believe that law-abiding insured drivers should not be penalised for the actions of uninsured drivers or those vandalising their cars.
‘It’s bad enough being in an accident at all, let alone finding out that the driver to blame is not insured, but with over one million uninsured drivers on the UK’s roads it’s important that our customers know they are protected. And with many of our cars being our pride and joy, we also feel it’s important that our customers don’t lose out just because someone sadly wanted to vandalise it.’
Here we take a look at exactly what’s changed and the situations in which customers can benefit.
What has changed with the LV car insurance policy?
Any driver with a comprehensive car insurance policy from LV will now be able to protect their no claims bonus if they make a claim for an accident with an uninsured driver and they have the other driver’s details.
This also applies if their car is vandalised including the car being scratched or if the aerials, windscreen wipers or wing mirrors are snapped off. In these circumstances customers will also not have to pay their excess when making a claim.
However, it doesn’t apply to pothole damage unless the local authority (or whoever was responsible for the road) agrees they were at fault.
Previously, and with other insurers on the market, if a claim is made on an insurance policy where the money is not recouped from the other driver’s insurer, the driver claiming is likely to lose some or all of their no claims bonus unless they’ve paid extra to protect it.
Does the same apply for Direct Line customers?
Direct Line drivers are able to benefit from a similar policy. If they are in an accident with an uninsured driver or their car is vandalised they can claim and their bonus will not be affected.
It also includes several more scenarios for drivers with comprehensive insurance. These include the following:
– Damage caused by potholes or poor road maintenance
– Damage caused by fire
– If the car is stolen or something is stolen from the car
– If the car is hit whilst parked
– Damage caused by flood
– If you hit or are hit by a wild or domestic animal
– If the car is hit by an object or debris (excluding vehicles)
Unlike with LV, customers will still need to pay any applicable excess if they make a claim.
Keeping an NCB is a record of no claims and can discount future premium prices
How are other insurers handling no claims bonuses?
We asked Aviva, Axa and Admiral and they all confirmed no change had been made if there is no third-party liable for damage to a car.
While some, including Aviva, will allow drivers to protect their bonus if they are in an accident with an uninsured driver who can be identified, there are no allowances for things such as vandalism or pothole damage.
A spokesperson for Aviva said: ‘Currently if you make a claim and there isn’t a liable third-party where a full recovery can be made, then it will affect your NCD if it’s not protected. The only items where NCD is not affected are glass claims, claims for emergency treatment fees and replacement locks.
‘There is also the uninsured driver promise, so you won’t lose your NCD or excess if hit by an identifiable uninsured driver who was to blame.’
What is the benefit of a no claims bonus?
The bonus is a record of the number of years in which a claim hasn’t been made, and a discount is available on the next year’s premium based on the number of years the bonus has been held for.
It’s a reward for the customer, as they get a discount on future premiums, and it saves the insurer money by not having to deal with the claim.
When a claim is made and your insurer pays out a sum of money, all or at least some of the bonus is usually lost. In some instances if a driver is found not to be at fault, they may be able to keep their bonus intact.
Will my insurance premium rise if I make a claim?
The change from LV and Direct Line will benefit new and existing customers if they are involved in a car accident and there is no third-party liable for damage to a car.
However, this shouldn’t be a reason for making more claims as this could push up your car insurance premioums.
When you apply for a new insurance policy, or you renew your current policy, the insurer will look at your history to see if any claims have been made.
If you have made a claim this may push up your premium because by making a claim you could be deemed as a riskier driver than someone who has never made a claim.
However, this can also happen if you’ve not made a claim. Insurers often ask if you’ve had an accident and not made a claim because if this has been the case it could still make you look like more of a riskier driver which could push up your premium.
Dr Matthew Connell, director of policy and public affairs at the Chartered Insurance Institute, explains: ‘Your basic premium is calculated based on how risky the insurer thinks you are. Your no claims bonus is a discount that is then applied to that premium. So it is possible that your premium may go up if you claim, and you are therefore considered a higher risk, even though the no claim bonus stays the same.
‘There is an advantage in keeping your no claims bonus – it gets you a discount that other customers don’t necessarily qualify for – but it does not guarantee that your premium won’t go up.’
Is it worth switching insurers in order to benefit from the change?
There are a wide-range of things to look at when it comes to insurance and you should consider them all, rather than relying on these perks as a reason to switch insurers.
The price of insurance tends to rise if you remain with the same insurer so it’s always worth shopping around when you come to renewal to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere.
Switching insurers won’t affect your no claims bonus either, because you can ask your current insurer for evidence of it and take this to the new insurer in order to get a discount.