One of the best ways to save money on car insurance is to avoid ever making a claim. Car insurance companies love customers who make no claims. That’s why car insurance companies reward these customers with lower insurance premiums in the form of a claims-free discount.
How does a claims-free discount work? Do you qualify for a claims-free discount? How long do you have to go without a claim to qualify for a claims-free discount? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about the claims-free discount.
What is the Claims-Free Discount?
If you’re a car insurance policyholder who has never made a claim, then you’re the best customer for the insurance company. You’ve delivered pure profit to the company, paying your premiums monthly without ever forcing the insurance company to pay for car repairs, car replacements, broken windshields, or other expenses.
That’s why some car insurance companies provide a discount for claims-free customers. You pay lower rates for car insurance as a reward for driving safely without making a claim.
How Does a Claims-Free Discount Work?
Claims-free discounts vary between car insurance companies and states. Some car insurance companies offer claims-free discounts in some states but not others.
Esurance, for example, offers a claims-free discount in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, but no other states. The discount gives drivers up to 20% off car insurance premiums if they have not made a claim within the last five years. It’s one of the most substantial discounts offered by the company.
Other car insurance companies offer similar types of claims-free discounts. Generally, claims-free discounts require you to have no claims within the last 5 years. Some companies, however, offer a claims-free discount in as little as 3 years. Others require you to have 7 years of clean driving.
Some companies give you a claims-free discount that increases every year you go without making a claim. You might get 5% off after going one year without making a claim, for example, with an additional 5% discount every year after, up to a maximum of 4 years or a 20% discount.
If you have no claims in the last 5 to 7 years with any car insurance company, then you may qualify for a discount of 10% to 30%, depending on your car insurance company.
What Counts as a ‘Claim’?
What exactly does it mean to be ‘claims-free’? Rules vary between car insurance companies.
In some states, comprehensive claims under $1,000, glass-only claims, and emergency road service claims won’t disqualify you from the claims-free discount, for example. Some states actually forbid insurance companies from taking away a driver’s claims-free discount for these claims.
Similarly, you may be able to maintain your claims-free discount after an accident where you were not at-fault. In this situation, the other driver’s car insurance would pay – not yours, which means you didn’t cost your car insurance company money.
In other states and with other insurance companies, your claims-free discount could be removed for any claim, regardless of the amount or type.
Generally, however, you’ll qualify for a claims-free discount if you meet the following requirements:
- All drivers on your car insurance policy have gone at least 60 months (5 years) without an at-fault accident claim, a DUI/DWI conviction, or a similar major claim
- At least one person on your policy has 5-plus years of driving experience
- You have at least five years of continuous insured driving history
How to Get a Claims-Free Discount
Most car insurance companies will automatically apply the claims-free discount to your account once you meet the above requirements.
If you believe you meet the above requirements but have not qualified for a claims-free discount, then contact your car insurance company. Some customers might slip through the cracks. Or, some car insurance companies only apply the claims-free discount if customers specifically request it.
Remember: not all insurance companies offer claims-free discounts in all states. Some car insurance companies avoid offering claims-free discounts to drivers in certain states due to state insurance laws.
Have you gone at least five years (60 months) without making a claim on your car insurance policy? If nobody listed on your car insurance policy has made a claim within the last five years, then you may qualify for a claims-free discount.
Typically, a claims-free discount gives you 15% to 30% off car insurance premiums until you get into an accident. With most car insurance companies, claims-free discounts are among the biggest discounts available.
Car insurance companies have different claims-free discount policies. Additionally, some car insurance companies offer claims-free discounts in some states but not others. Talk to your car insurance company to determine if you qualify for a claims-free discount.