The background:

I am from Lithuania originally. I got my driving license there and been driving for 5 years. I then moved to the United Kingdom.

First thing I did is changed my Lithuanian driving license into the UK driving license (this is a common procedure if you have an EU driving license, so you just 'swap' it for the UK equivalent).

I then bought a car and was about to insure it. I used multiple compare sites like MoneySupermarket or GoCompare, where you basically input all your details and it gives you a list of prices from different insurance companies. You then proceed to the insurer's website (usually the cheapest).

Now here I faced with some uncertainties. Some of the insurance companies allow you to complete your request online, so it automatically calculates the price for your cover and you proceed straight to the check-out. While for some other companies, you have to give them a call to run through the details and they then give you the price.

In my case, I had to call the insurer for the cheapest price on the list. In the UK, you get no-claim bonuses for each year if you don't make any claims (you then get discounts). So they were able to see that I haven't got any, so either I have no experience or I made claims (which is bad). So I explained to them that I was driving in another EU country.

In the end, they gave me a much much bigger price compared to the online calculations, because "this is my first car in the UK, so my experience doesn't count"?? I've tried a couple other insurers, and they all said the same... I then chose another company, where you can complete everything online (and where my experience counts) and got covered without any problems.

So... The things that confuse me:

  1. Is it fair for the insurer to ignore the driving experience from abroad and increase the price of the cover?
  2. Does this have something to do with the left-hand and right-hand side driving? It's a right-hand drive in Lithuania and left-hand in the UK.
  • 1
    1 - regarding "fair" it's irrelevant. their aim is to make money. 2 - I think really the left/right aspect is totally unrelated. I've had exactly the same experience as you: it's rather "random" how different insurance companies treat it. Well done on finding a good deal.
    – Fattie
    Jun 21, 2017 at 10:53
  • 1
    In the future, you might want to contact a specialist insurance broker who can get quotes which take your foreign no claims bonus into account. Searching for - uk car insurance foreign ncb - should help identify some potential brokers
    – barrowc
    Jun 21, 2017 at 23:32

1 Answer 1

  1. Company car drivers face the same issues; they need to find brokers and insurance companies that are willing to consider claims free driving history and offer an introductory discount to equate to no-claims-bonus. fair doesn't enter the equation much with insurance; it's too cut-throat an industry and money has to be made wherever. If you hold a learner's licence for e.g. 4 years, as soon as you pass your test, most insurers expect you to declare that you have held your licence for 0 years and this counts against you. Hardly fair! I once was in receipt of a quote for my partner that was double at her address as it was at mine. I lived in a crime infested hell hole that ranks in the top 3 places in the U.K. for insurance fraud, so why was it cheaper than her sleepy little village full of doctors, lawyers and bankers? "Because when your partner crashes into a Mercedes 55 amg it will cost a lot more to repair than a clapped out Nissan almera" I was told- the cost of putting right claims in that elite village were far higher, they said, and used it to load the premium - there's a good excuse for charging more regardless the context!
    Don't try to reason it; the algorithm is too complex. I once received, by accident, a list of the decisions the software had made in preparing my car insurance quote and it ran to 10 pages of some truly inane stuff..
    I want to point out that insurance is a contract arranged in the faith that you've been up front and honest; if you've told a creative version of the truth in order to obtain a competitive quote it can render your insurance void in the event of a claim. There is an onus on the insurance company to ask the right questions, but there are frequently cases where the online quotes and particularly the price comparison sites don't ask the right questions and the quote you get is based on a set of answers that will be potentially wrong in the eyes of the insurance underwriter. Be certain that you've obtained insurance that adequately covers your needs and that their list of key facts that they send you is completely accurate. You don't want this to descend into a court battle with dire consequences for you, after you've had an accident

  2. No

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