FOR Service personnel and their families or civilians working alongside, your lifestyle will often cause complications with the motor insurance world as they are not used to their policyholders moving from place-to-place with such high frequency, writes insurance professional Keith Frampton.
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 per cent for one year’s no-claims discount and then rising gradually to about 65 per cent for five or more years without a claim.
But due to frequent postings, you can often find yourself cancelling your 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 why you would soon be a few years behind your civilian counterparts.
The problem worsens if your posting is overseas and there’s a need to cancel the UK insurance in favour of a foreign insurance policy or if you give up owning a car for a bit whilst you 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, you’ll 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 no-claims discount to stand for two years before it expires.
In 2017, through the good offices of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Association of British Insurers made arrangements with a number of insurers to allow the validity of the no-claims discount 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.
Driving experience discount
An alternative solution that you may find useful is the so-called driving experience discount provided by some specialist insurers/brokers working with the Forces. The discount works in much the same way as the no-claims 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.
A list of firms providing specialist Forces motor insurance can be found here.