Protecting a no-claims bonus could cost more than it's worth

Anyone paying for a "protected" no-claims bonus for their car insurance could be wasting their money. According to the comparison site Confused.com there are "staggering inconsistencies" in the charges insurers impose on drivers to protect their NCB.

"The maximum no-claims bonus is commonly accepted to translate to a discount of 60-75 per cent, which encourages many motorists to choose the option," says Will Thomas of Confused.com. "But every insurer has a different procedure when calculating a premium, and no insurer simply takes 60 per cent off the final figure.

"So, the value of protecting an NCB is brought into question, particularly considering that protection doesn't stop insurers reassessing a driver's risk in the event of an accident. They may raise a premium, regardless of how many years no claims the motorist's record shows." The varying charges for protecting a no-claims bonus add to the problem, he says. Some insurers charge nothing, while others ask for up to 33 per cent of the premium. Youngsters are worst hit; the average cost of protecting an NCB for a male aged 23 is 12 per cent of the premium.

"While NCB can be a valuable asset when it comes to keeping car-insurance costs down, paying to protect it needs to be seriously looked at," says Mr Thomas.

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