If you’ve just returned to the UK from an overseas posting or you’re moving back soon, getting the right insurance policy for your new location can feel like a daunting task. We caught up with forces insurance specialist Keith Frampton who has some timely advice for rebasing military families…
If you are still in BFG
Be aware that there’s a big difference between German insurance and UK cover, so if you’re currently insured with a German firm, you may want to make the switch to a UK insurer who can also handle BFG insurance.
The best time to do this is when your current policy falls due for renewal or if you change your vehicle beforehand. One of the reasons for this is so that your No Claims Bonus doesn’t become an issue when you need UK cover. Foreign No Claims discount, even that earned with a familiar name in Germany, is frequently unacceptable to UK insurance companies.
By making the switch you’ll have a policy that honours any No Claims Discount that you’ve earned in Germany and so your eventual move back to the UK will then just be treated as a simple change of address. One less task to worry about as you land back in the UK.
UK insurers that operate in BFG have arrangements that are acceptable to the BFG Vehicle Licensing Office and their brokers are members of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) and Services Insurance & Investment Advisory Panel, which means that any special requirements you have as a forces family will be taken into account.
If you change insurers before you go, you may be able to obtain European roadside rescue and breakdown cover so that all-important trip back to the UK can be properly protected against any breakdowns.
If you do decide to wait until you get back to the UK, or you don’t get the opportunity any earlier, you’ll need to check with the new insurer that they will accept your No Claims Bonus. Similarly, if you are moving back from the USA or Cyprus, your driving history might be an issue that needs discussing with your new UK insurer.
Most online insurers, including price comparison sites, won’t allow it. Even if they do, the actual insurance company you sign up with will often refuse it down the line and may request you to pay its full price without allowing any discount whatsoever – which could be a hefty additional sum if you were expecting a 60 per cent discount.
If you decide not to accept that decision and go elsewhere, the insurer will cancel your policy and charge you for the time you have been on risk – but once again this will be calculated using the higher premium without any deduction for your foreign No Claims Discount. It’s vital that you get it properly agreed from the outset.
The refusal by British firms to accept foreign No Claims Bonus is quite widespread, with BIBA estimating that only one in six firms would accept it. Even then, those firms that do insist that the proof is printed in the English language, from a recognisable insurer and states the number of years earned – not just the percentage.
Change of address
Your return to the UK is also a good opportunity to tell the DVLA your new address as insurance companies will look to access this information in the future to ascertain whether you have any motoring convictions. You can check the details held by the DVLA online at mylicence.com.
Price comparison sites
The British insurance landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years with insurance companies needing to increase their premiums significantly to pay for the huge losses they have encountered.
Television advertising has seen a massive marketing of price comparison sites which allowed proposers to search a number of different insurance offerings. However, these firms only compare prices and not the quality of cover provided and frequently they can only offer low cost prices by sacrificing valuable cover.
Forces families have additional problems to cope with as many insurers impose restrictions that could have serious implications. Airside and military base exclusions are often features of some policies, meaning that motorists may not even be covered just going to and from work.
But there are firms out there that understand the forces and offer policies without these exclusions. They may also be able to provide some special solutions regarding your No Claims Discount, which simply would be unheard of with conventional civilian type insurance in the UK. One such innovation is a Driving Experience Discount. This works in much the same way as No Claims Discount but rewards the policyholder when a conventional No Claims Discount cannot be used, perhaps due to deployment or where there are two cars in the family. A list of firms providing specialist forces motor insurance can be found at: biba.org.uk/find-insurance and siiap.org