How Ireland’s no claims bonus works
A good no claims record can help make your car insurance much cheaper. Here’s how it works, what discounts you can earn and tips to get the best value from your bonus.
What is a no claims bonus (NCB)?
It’s a discount on your car insurance, that varies depending on the number of consecutive years you’ve not made a claim. The more claim-free years you have, the bigger your discount will be.
If you do make a claim, you may lose some or all of your NCB, unless you’ve paid to protect it.
How does it work?
Each year you have car insurance in place and don’t make a claim you’ll accrue an extra year of no claims.
Each insurer then applies its own discount scale in relation to the number of years of no claims you have. Some insurers offer a discount after just one year, while others may not start it until later.
To get the maximum bonus, you usually need at least five years of no claims.
Your bonus can’t be passed on to someone else and it can only be used on one vehicle.
How much discount can you get?
You can get up to 75% discount on your car insurance policy, depending on which insurer you choose, and how many years of no claims you have.
Here’s a summary of what discount the main car insurers in Ireland offer:
|Insurance provider||Maximum discount||No of NCB years|
|FBD Insurance||35%||1 year|
|Liberty Insurance||60%||9 years|
|The AA||50%||5 years|
Does anything else affect what discount you can get?
Yes, it can do. To get the maximum discount, a minimum premium may apply.
There may also be underwriting rating factors that can affect the discount you’ll receive.
For example, when you apply for a quote, the information you provide e.g. driving history, vehicle details and personal details, will determine the premium you’re offered and amount of no claims discount you’ll get.
The quote should include a breakdown of how the no claims discount will be affected following one or more claims.
Can you protect your no claims bonus?
Yes, you can pay extra to protect your no claims bonus. This could stop you losing all the no claims discount you’ve earned if you have an accident, but you’re usually only protected against one claim in a set period.
For example, you could make one claim in a three year period and keep your full no claims discount. However, if you made a second claim it may reduce your discount to zero.
Similarly, if you make a claim that reduces your no claims bonus to zero, you’ll need to build some years back up before you can protect it again.
You may not be able to protect your NCB before reaching a set number of years e.g. four years.
What protection does each insurer offer?
Below is a table which shows the number of claims you can make with protected no claims bonus in a set timeframe, before your NCB will reduce:
|Insurance provider||No of claims||Set period|
|AIG||2 claims||3 years|
|AXA||1 claim||3 years|
|FBD Insurance||1 claim||2 years|
|Liberty Insurance||1 claim||1 year|
|The AA||2 claims||3-5 years|
|123.ie||1 claim||3 years|
Do all claims count?
No. Whether you have no claims bonus protection or not, some claims won’t count against you. These typically include:
- Damage to your windscreen and windows
- Fire and theft claims
- Payments for emergency treatment that the insurer must pay by law
- Payments that the insurer can claim back in full
- Payments for personal belongings and replacement locks
- Fire brigade charges
Policy terms may differ, so always check the full details.
What is step back no claims protection?
If you make a claim, your discount may step back to a lower level. For example, you may lose one to three years of your bonus, or a percentage e.g. 20%, depending on what the insurer’s policy is.
Step back no claims protection isn’t as comprehensive as standard no claims bonus protection but this is also reflected in the price.
You’ll need to weigh up how much protection you want against the added cost to your policy.
As with no claims bonus protection, you’ll need a minimum number of years NCB to be able to buy this add-on.
How to make the most of your no claims bonus
- Look at the level of discount offered for the number of years NCB you have. Some insurers will offer as much as 55% discount after just one year of no claims
- Check how your no claims bonus will reduce after a claim is made, without paying to protect it
- Check how many claims you can make when you protect your no claims bonus
- Check the cost to protect your no claims bonus by comparing quotes with and without protection
- Consider using a broker who can search policies for you to compare
Save money on your car insurance
Find comprehensive, affordable car insurance cover with help from Switcher.ie
No Claims Bonus FAQs
Can I carry forward a NCB earned in the UK to Ireland?
Yes, some insurance providers will accept no claims earned in the UK, but check first.
Can I earn a no claims bonus as a named driver?
Not usually, but it’s worth shopping around because some providers who specialise in insurance for young drivers may take this into account.
There are also some insurers that offer introductory bonuses for having some experience as a named driver, even without a no claims discount.
You may need to provide proof of how long you’ve been a named driver for.
Can I switch my no claims bonus to another insurer?
Yes, you can transfer your claim free period by providing proof to your new insurer within a set period of starting a new policy. You should receive a NCB certificate at the time of renewal.
If you don’t provide proof in time or it doesn’t match what you’ve declared, your premium may change. This could result in an increase or refund, depending on whether your no claims are lower or higher than you declared.
How long can I keep my no claims bonus for?
You can keep your bonus until you’ve made the maximum number of claims allowed before it reduces.
This varies from insurer to insurer and it also depends if you’ve paid to protect your NCB, so you’ll need to check the policy details.
What happens if there’s a gap from when my last policy expired?
If you can provide an explanation for a gap in cover and it’s not more than a specified period e.g. two years, some insurers may let you keep the level of your no claims discount.
Will I lose my no claims bonus, if I don't pay to protect it?
If you don’t pay extra for no claims protection and make a claim, you won’t always lose all of your no claims bonus. Some policies offer reasonable protection as standard and you may just lose part of your bonus.