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:
- Is it fair for the insurer to ignore the driving experience from abroad and increase the price of the cover?
- 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.