The term Schadenfreiheitsklasse or SF-class can be loosely translated into English as a no-claim class. It is a method of categorization, based on the number of years you have driven accident free. It determines how much you will have to pay or save in car insurance payments.

Each consistent year of driving damage-free leads to a higher SF-class which in turn gives you a better “no-claims-discount” the following year.

There are special Schadenfreiheitsklassen for novice drivers and THOSE with an excessive number of accidents. 

The different Schadenfreiheitsklassen and the equivalent average cost

-In total there are 39 Schadenfreiheitsklasse, in which SF-class 35 is the highest and offers the best insurance rate.

SF Class Explanation Average cost of Insurance
SF M Also referred to as the Malus class. This is a class for drivers who have had an excessive number of accidents. 240 % – 280 %
SF 0 SF class 0 is for novice drivers or drivers without any Insurance history. The insured will usually remain in this class for 3 years. 200 % – 260 %
SF S You get demoted to this class if you have an accident while in SF 1. 150 % – 175 %
SF ½ After driving accident-free for 3 years, a novice driver is promoted to this class. 100 % – 140 %
SF 1 This class is attained after a year of accident-free driving following SF ½.  100 %
The class goes up by one for each year of accident-free driving, while being insured. The discount gets higher for each added class/year.
SF 35 The Highest possible SF-class and best insurance rate possible. 20 %

*(Rates may vary depending on the insurance company you are dealing with.)

What happens to your Schadenfreiheitsklasse if you have an accident?

-If you have had several accidents you might have to pay up to 280% of the original insurance price.

-Having an accident can cost you several SF classes, which means if you had SF 17 after an accident you could be back at SF 7. 

-Sometimes it is cheaper to pay for the damage and not report it to the insurance company in order to keep your SF-class to avoid being downgraded to a more expensive tariff class.

-Some companies offer a discount protection plan for an additional fee covering 1-3 accidents per year. However, this can’t be booked after an accident.

How do the SF classes work for multiple vehicles?

-Your second car will be cheaper to insure. Some insurance companies even let you categorize it in the same class as your first car. Generally speaking, you will get SF 1 or SF 2 for it.

-Sometimes you will be able to get your spouse’s or child’s car insured under these better conditions as well but there will likely be other conditions for this, for example, that the driver of the car has to be at least 25 years or older, etc.

Schadenfreiheitsklasse for novice drivers and drivers without insurance history:

-New drivers generally start with the expensive Schadenfreiheitsklasse 0 because they tend to have more accidents, making it riskier for the insurance company to insure them. 

-If your insurance break is shorter than a year, you should be able to start back in your previous class. However, If the break is up to 7 years you will probably have to start with SF 0 again.

Schadenfreiheitsklasse for foreign drivers and expats:

-Foreign drivers can have their previous accident free years recognized if they have a document of proof from their previous insurance company. Without real proof, you will most likely have to start in SF 0.

The most important thing to know about the German Schadenfreiheitsklasse is that the amount of discount you get on your insurance depends on how many consistent years of accident-free driving you have under your belt. Only consistent years of damage-free driving will lead to the yearly promotion to a higher SF-class.