fitted security devices (e.g. steering wheel lock, immobiliser, alarm, tracker).
Compulsory and voluntary excess
The 'compulsory excess' is the portion of the claim that you have to pay in all eventualities. For example, if your claim is for £500, you may have to pay the first £100, while the insurer coughs up £400. It is therefore pointless to claim for damage under £100 in this case. The compulsory excess depends on the kind of car that you drive (e.g. a sports car) and your age.
Glass replacement (windscreen, sunroof and side windows) is subject to its own compulsory excess (typically £50) and claims have no effect on your No Claims Bonus.
One way of keeping premiums down is to agree to a 'voluntary excess' over and above your compulsory excess. For example, you agree to a voluntary excess of £50 on top of a £100 compulsory excess. This means that you agree to meet the first £150 of any claim.
No Claims Bonus
A motor insurance policy is an annually renewable contract. A No Claims Bonus is a reward for not claiming on the policy during the past 12 months. The bonus level rises for each consecutive 12 month period in which you have not made a claim, and is transferable if you switch to another insurer.
The bonus is received as a discount on the basic premium at annual renewal. You usually need to be claim-free for five years to receive the maximum discount which varies between insurers but is typically around 65 per cent.
The insurance company may offer you a 'protected' no claims bonus once you have been claim-free for a given number of years (typically four), for a small extra premium. This means that any claims made during the policy year will not effect your No Claims Bonus at renewal. Partial protection is also available, whereby you are allowed a limited number of claims (e.g. 2 claims in five years) before you lose your No Claims Bonus.
At least one insurer presently offers bonus protection for life regardless of your subsequent claims record.