At the start of the new year, drivers expect bargains in the annual price war between motor vehicle insurance companies. As a general rule, they can change providers periodically starting on November 30. Internet comparison portals are particularly popular for comparing prices. But there’s a cost trap lurking here in regards to rate feature discount protection.
“Especially after a regulated accident, you cannot rely on the quick and easy results of comparison portals,” says Philipp Opfermann, insurance expert at the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center.
Because if the existing insurance was taken out with discount protection and the policyholder was not downgraded to the no-claims class (class SF) due to a settled claim, this advantage usually expires when changing insurance. “Discount protection only applies to the current insurer,” says Opfermann.
Changers face worse ranking
To understand: As soon as you change insurance companies, the old insurance company transmits information about settled claims to the new one. “However, the new insurer will be informed of the actual claims history,” says Opfermann. The result: the insured must expect to be rated much worse.
For bargain hunters, this means: If you’ve settled damages with your existing insurance company, you should definitely enter realistic no-claims classes for your vehicle when comparing prices on internet portals like Check24 and Verifox. However, according to insurance expert Opfermann, they must first be investigated.
Changing insurance after an accident is often not worth it
He advises asking the existing insurance company what claims history they would tell the new one and using this information to find out from the new provider what SF classes it would fall into. “This often brings a rude awakening, the supposed savings being translated into a more expensive fee.”
With discount protection rates, switching insurance after an accident often isn’t worth it, sums up Victim man. Instead, you could explore the savings potential with your current insurer. If, for example, the annual mileage is lower than before, the premiums may go down.
Save with a call
The same goes for switching from full coverage to partial full coverage, which may be an option for older vehicles, as noted by Auto Club Europa (ACE). Price reductions are also promised, for example, linking a workshop or limiting the number of drivers to two people if children with a fresh driving license were included before. These features can usually be adapted to your own needs at any time.
A simple phone call to the current insurer often helps, says Opfermann. Some insurers even give discounts if you are faced with an offer from a comparison portal, even if it is only supposedly better.