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Understanding policy features: Car insurance lifetime no-claims-bonus and repair guarantees

Understanding policy features: Car insurance lifetime no-claims-bonus and repair guarantees

By John Grant

Two policy features that have been added to some of the car insurance policies have the potential to save a lot of frustration.

Guaranteed Repairs

Most insurers say that they will stand by the repairs carnied out on a car. However a few have now put this in writing in their Car insurance policies.

This removes any doubt around the quality of the repair work.

If you find your car leaking several months after a repair has been done then you can call on the insurer to look to see if the cause is the result of the accident repairs. If it was, then they are obliged to remedy it.

However, these guarantees can come with a couple of strings attached.

One is that it applies only while you own the vehicle.

Another condition is that some insurers guarantees are conditioned by the repair being done by one of their approved repairers. It doesn't have to be the same one that did the problem repair, but it must be someone in their "approved" list. This may not be a big problem if you live in a big city where there are many to choose from, but in smaller towns this could be a real hassle if the choice is limited.

Lifetime no-claim-bonus

If you have an accident - even if it is not your fault - you may still end up being penalised with the loss of your no-claim discount. This could see your premium going up by around 25% for a single claim, and 40% for a subsequent claim.

They are not a no-fault bonus but rather a no-claim bonus. This means that an insurer will penalise you unless you are able to identify the party responsible for causing the damage, and they or their insurer pick up the repair tab.

In recent years some insurers have softened this position by offering not to penalise you for an accident regardless of whether you were or were not at fault and with no condition to identify the at-fault party.

This feature has been called a 'lifetime no-claim-bonus' or 'guaranteed bonus'.

Qualification for this benefit varies from one insurer to another. Some charge you a fee for this cover while others require you to earn the right and therefore make it a loyalty benefit.

It pays to understand your policy. Policy features like this are not normally associated with the price you pay for the insurance. Some of the more expensive policies have limited benefits and some of the lower cost ones have many features.

We do an intensive review of policy features on our comparison pages. We score the policies based on a wide range of criteria, and those with higher scores tend to have more features. You can look here to see the scores for the Car policies we have reviewed. There is a separate link revealing how we do this scoring.


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