No-claims class in German car insurance

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No-claims class (Schadenfreiheitsklasse): The basics

Here are the basics of the German no-claims class in car insurance:

  • Your no-claims class (Schadenfreiheitsklasse – SF) determines how high the no-claims discount on your insurance premium will be.
  • The longer you drive accident-free, the higher your no-claims class will be.
  • You can transfer your no-claims class if you change insurance policies, but the resulting no-claims discount will be determined by the insurance company.
  • The no-claims discount is only available for third-party liability insurance or fully comprehensive insurance – not for partially comprehensive insurance.
  • Compare different tariffs to find out which insurance offers you the best deal for your no-claims class.

What does no-claims class (SF-Klasse) mean?

Insurance companies use the no-claims class to determine the price of your premium. Your NCC depends on the number of years you have driven accident-free. If you are in a high SF class, your no-claims discount increases and your premium decreases. No-claims classes are the same across insurers, but the level of discount offered varies. If your insurer pays out for a claim, your SF class and discount will usually decrease in the following year.

Your SF class only rises if the insurance company pays out for damage. If you pay the costs yourself it will not affect your no-claims discount. In the case of a small damage, for example, it can be worthwhile to pay for it yourself.

How are no-claims classes calculated?

Once a year, insurance companies review the no-claims classes of their members. If you did not make a claim in the previous year and did not have an accident, you will be promoted to one level in the SF class. If you register a car for the first time, you usually start with the SF ½ . In this SF class you do not receive any discount on your contribution rate, but have to pay a percentage surcharge.

If you have had your driving licence for less than 3 years at the time of your first registration, you will be transferred to SF 0. Here the percentage surcharge on the contribution fee is higher than in SF ½.

For the amount of the no-claims class it is not decisive how high the costs of the claim are, but the number of insurance claims.

No-claims class: Overview

Your SF class largely determines the amount of premium you will pay on your third-party liability insurance or fully comprehensive insurance. The table below shows the effect of no-claims classes on the premium amount.

Accident and loss-free calendar years No-claims class No-claims discount percent
1 year SF 1 0 percent
2 years SF 2 Up to 15 percent
5 to 8 years SF 5 to SF 8 Up to 55 percent
9 to 15 years SF 9 to SF 15 Up to 60 percent
16 to 25 years SF 16 to SF 25 Up to 65 percent
26 to 30 years SF 26 to SF 30 Up to 75 percent
31 to 35 years SF 31 to SF 35 Up to 80 percent
* Since no-claims discounts differ among insurers, this table is just a guideline.

Special classifications of no-claims classes

A special classification is given to novice drivers and people who have been downgraded from a low no-claims class. You can see which ones are available in this table:

No-claims class Criteria for classification Contribution amount in percent
SF 1/2 EU driving licence for at least 3 years; car insurance taken out for the first time From ~100 percent
SF 0 EU driving licence for less than 3 years; motor vehicle insurance taken out for the first time Around 100 percent; can go up to 260 percent.
SF S Dismissal from SF 1 in the event of a self-inflicted accident Around 150 percent
SF M (Malusklasse) Dismissal from SF 0 or SF ½ in the event of a self-inflicted accident Around 240 percent

Which no-claims class am I in?

Your no-claims class is noted on your last invoice. If you do not have this on hand, you can ask your insurer. You can also calculate it yourself: all you need to know is how long your car has been insured and how long you have driven without damage.

Which special conditions apply to my no-claims class?

You do not always start in a low no-claims class. In some cases, you can benefit from a higher no-claims discount from the start with a new car insurance policy. Moreover, not every claim will downgrade you. The following methods will allow you to be placed in a higher SF class or avoid being downgraded:

  • Discount protection is an additional insurance that frees one claim per year. This means that you will not be downgraded in the event of an accident. However, discount protection expires if you change your car insurance policy and cannot be transferred.
  • Transferring no-claims classes: In principle, you can receive or transfer SF classes to others, for which certain rules apply.
  • Second car insurance: If you insure your second car with the same insurance as the main car, the second car is usually classified in a higher SF class. This is based on the no-claims class of the first car.
  • As part of family insurance, you can insure your first car with your parents. This eliminates the usually high surcharges for lower SF classes.

What happens if my no-claims class is downgraded?

As soon as a claim is submitted and settled by an insurance company, it has an effect on your SF class. Your insurance company checks at the end of the year if it has paid out for damage, and how much. Accordingly, the downgrading applies in the following year, in each case from 01.01.

Since insurers differ on the extent to which they downgrade members for damages, the relevant downgrading table is part of your contract documents. In principle, each case of damage that occurs means a downgrade in the SF table.

In the case of 3 or more claims being made, the driver is usually downgraded to SF M (malus class).

How can I transfer or take over no-claims classes?

You can transfer or take over a no-claims class if you pay attention to the following conditions:

  • No-claims classes can only be transferred to close relatives or legal entities.
  • In order to take over an NCD, you must demonstrate that you drove the car and contributed to the number of accident-free years.
  • If someone has given you their no-claims discount, they can no longer use it themselves.
  • You can only take over as many accident-free years as you could have accumulated yourself.

Why are there no no-claims classes for partial coverage insurance?

Partial insurance covers damage the insured person did not cause themselves. Since you cannot influence whether your car is stolen or set on fire, for example, your insurance cannot reward or punish you for this. By contrast, with third party or fully comprehensive insurance, your driving style can influence whether you cause damage to yourself or others.

What happens to the no-claims class after I change insurance policies?

If you change policies, you can take your no-claims class with you. However, the no-claims discount does not automatically remain the same. Discount protection and other add-ons are also usually no longer valid if you switch policies.

No-claims class after contract interruption

If you interrupt or cancel your car insurance, your no-claims class will remain unchanged for the time being. However, if the interruption lasts longer than 7 years, your SF class expires. This table shows you how the duration of the interruption affects your no-claims class:

Interruption period What happens to the no-claims class
Up to 6 months With accident-free driving, your SF class improves as usual.
6 month to 1 year Your SF class stays the same.
1 to 7 years For each year that you are not insured, you will be downgraded one SF class.
From 7 years Your SF class expires and you start at SF ½ again.
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