Set up in 1976, the bonus-malus system was intended to promote more careful driving. Unlike the malus, the car bonus allows the vigilant driver to benefit from a reduction in his car insurance premium.
The principle of the bonus is to reward motorists who, over a given period, are not responsible for any accident. This period means the 12 consecutive months which precede by two months the annual expiry date of the contract.
If, during this time, the driver does not have to deplore any responsible accident, his insurance contribution, called reference contribution, is reduced by 5%. Claims for which the driver is not responsible do not fall within the scope of the bonus-malus clause.
This system applies to all motor vehicles, with some exceptions. Therefore, it concerns both cars and mopeds above a certain engine capacity or quads.
For their part, agricultural machinery is not affected. This bonus-malus clause must be included in your insurance contract.
How is the auto bonus calculated?
To calculate the car bonus, the insurer uses a specific coefficient, called increase reduction coefficient (CRM). When the contract is taken out, the coefficient is 1.
If you are not responsible for any accident during the first year of contribution, the coefficient will increase to O.95, which means that your premium will be reduced by 5%.
As the benefit of the bonus is cumulative, the coefficient will drop to 0.90 if you do not have to deplore any responsible accident during the second year of contribution.
On the basis of an annual contribution of 500 euros, a coefficient of 0.90% thus brings it to 450 euros. That’s a saving of 50 euros.
What is the maximum auto bonus amount?
If, each year, you do not cause any at-fault accident, the increase reduction coefficient continues to decrease and your car bonus increases.
The coefficient continues to drop by 0.5 until you reach a coefficient of 0.80. From this value, the coefficient only decreases by 0.4 each year. It will show a minimum value of 0.50, which corresponds to a 50% bonus.
This value will be reached at the time of the thirteenth anniversary of the subscription of your contract. Which means that, during all these years, you should not be responsible for an accident.
This is the maximum amount of your bonus. It allows you to pay only half of your initial contribution. If you keep this 50% bonus for three years, the first accident for which you are responsible will not change it.
What impact on your car quote?
If you have benefited from a 50% bonus for three years or more, some insurers may offer you, in their car insurance quote, very advantageous conditions.
Indeed, they can allow you to keep your bonus at 50% throughout the subscription period of the contract. This is what insurers sometimes call the lifetime bonus. You will therefore keep the benefits of this bonus even if you cause several responsible accidents.
This very favorable device is however not renewed if you change car insurance. This means that your current insurer will send your new insurance company all the information relating to your driving, including the mention of responsible claims.
Consequently, your new insurer will apply your actual coefficient of reduction increase. Depending on the situation, your « lifetime » bonus can turn into a penalty. Moreover, the « lifetime » bonus does not prevent a possible cancellation by the insurer either.
The car bonus in the event of a change of insurance
If you change insurance, what happens to your car bonus? In this case, you keep your bonus as it was at the time of the change of insurance.
Your insurer must in fact send the new insurance company all the necessary information, and in particular that concerning your bonus. This information, contained in a specific document, informs your new insurer of the existence, for your benefit, of a car bonus.
It will suffice to apply the coefficient of reduction increase to its rates for you to benefit from the bonus to which you are entitled.
How do I know my bonus?
If you want to know the amount of your bonus, all you have to do is ask your insurer for a document called an information statement.
It keeps all the information concerning your conduct, with any mention of the claims responsible and the amount of the penalty or bonus. This history traces this information over the past five years.
You can obtain this document on simple request from your insurer, who is required to send it to you within fifteen days. This information statement will inform you, at any time, of the possible existence of a bonus and its amount.