A complete guide for car insurance in the Netherlands

Do you live in the Netherlands and want to drive a car? A car insurance is a necessity and required by Dutch law. Driving without car insurance is illegal and will be punished with several fines. Third party insurance is the legal minimum. This type of insurance is called “WA verzekering“. WA stands for “Wettelijke aansprakelijkheid” which is a translation of legal liability.

To be honest, not all Dutch insurance company websites are foreigner friendly. Often an English version of the website is not available. In the car insurance world, there are a lot of terms you need to know the meaning of. We will cover all the most important terms in this article.

Do you want to arrange an insurance immediately? Check out ABN AMRO – you can follow the process in English

About car insurance in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands the car insurance policy covers the car instead of the driver. This means that everyone with a driver’s license can drive your car (with your permission) and is covered. In order to register for a car insurance, you have to:

  • be a resident of the Netherlands
  • have a car with a Dutch license plate
  • have a valid driving license

Three types of insurance coverage policies

In the Netherlands there are three types of car insurance policies. The first type is, as said earlier, the minimum coverage that you need which is third party insurance (WA verzekering). The second type of insurance is third party + limited coverage (WA beperkt casco).  The third and last type is the all risk coverage this is the most comprehensive car insurance. You can call all risk also third-party liability + comprehensive coverage (WA volledig casco).

Third party insurance (WA verzekering)

Third party insurance means that you’re covered if you have an accident causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. Third party insurance does not cover any other costs like reparation of your own vehicle.

Third party insurance + limited coverage (WA beperkt casco)

With the third party + limited coverage (WA beperkt casco) you are covered for damage you create with your car to others, but also damage to your own car is covered. Not all damage causes are covered. Damage caused by your own fault is not covered. Example of damage causes that are insured are:

  • Third party damage
  • Hitting an animal on the road
  • Damage as result of a fire
  • Damage a result of a storm
  • Car theft
  • Burglary damage

All risk coverage | third party + comprehensive coverage (WA volledig casco)

With an all risk insurance policy you are covered for most type of damage causes. This is the most comprehensive package for car insurance you can get. You are covered for:

  • Third party damage
  • Hitting an animal on the road
  • Damage as result of a fire
  • Damage a result of a storm
  • Car theft
  • Burglary damage
  • Vandalism
  • Joyriding
  • Damage to your own car caused by own fault (not damage caused on purpose).

Additional coverage policies

Next to the three standard coverage policies you can expand your insurance policy with additional coverage. These extra policies are normally not included in the regular coverage. For extra protection and service, you can insure yourself for:

  1. Help underway as result of car breakdown. When you are on the road and your car stops working than with this additional policy someone comes to check your car. If it cannot be fixed next to the road your car will be brought to a repair shop. This policy is often called: “pechhulp dekking“.
  2. Personal accident insurance. This additional policy will cover medical costs and provides compensation in care of disability and death (for you and the passengers). This policy is called “ongevallen inzittenden verzekering
  3. Legal expense insurance relating to your car. This policy will cover you for all legal expenses relating to your car. You can think about conflicts with a car seller or repairer. Also, legal support for conflicts after a collision is covered. This policy is called “rechtsbijstand verkeer“.
  4. Equipment and luggage. This policy covers damage to your luggage and material belongings of you and other passengers in the vehicle. This is called “schade inzittenden verzekering
  5. No-claim protector. This policy will prevent that your car premium will increase after claiming a damage. After a damage claim (as a result of your own fault) you will pay more insurance premium after. The no-claim protector will prevent that your premium will increase. No-claim protector is called “no-claim beschermer“.

Car insurance companies Netherlands

The car insurance market is big in the Netherlands. That’s one of the reasons why there are so many insurance companies who offer car insurance. A few of the biggest insurance companies with good tariffs are:

What type of car insurance should you choose?

This is an interesting question. The answer usually depends on two factors.

1. The car

The first one is the car itself. When you have an older car, which is not really expensive, than the most logical coverage would be the bare minimum, which is third party insurance (WA). When the car gets more expensive you probably want a better coverage. You can then choose for third party + limited coverage or all risk coverage.

2. Your reliance on the car and financial space

The second question you need to ask yourself is: how much do you depend on your car and do you have the funds aside to replace the car? If you really need a car for work and you do not have the financial funds to directly replace the car when its damaged then you should consider a comprehensive coverage, like all risk.

Car insurance from another country in the Netherlands?

If you already have existing car insurance from another EU country than you can use this insurance in the Netherlands. The coverage should be at least equal to third party insurance and your existing insurer must allow that you will live in the Netherlands with the car. Most insurance companies require that you live most of the time in the country where the insurance is taken out. For example, if you have an insurance from Spain and you move from Spain with your Spanish car to the Netherlands. Then, in most of the times, you are only covered for a maximum of 180 days. Most likely the Spanish insurer will not cover your policy anymore if you stay longer abroad. If you are a longer time abroad then you need a Dutch car insurance. If you are not from an EU country than you need to take a new Dutch insurance straight away.

Can you get Dutch car insurance with a foreign license plate?

The answer is no. You will have to register your foreign car to a Dutch license plate if you want to live in the Netherlands with your car. The car will go through an inspection. More information is to be found on the government website of the RDW. See moving to the Netherlands and taking your vehicle with you.

Car insurance Netherlands comparison

Do you want to know how much you have to pay for Dutch car insurance? The easiest is to compare premiums among insurance companies. You can compare insurers on this website. Within a few minutes you have a complete overview of premiums from different insurance companies. You will need to enter the following information:

  • License plate (kenteken)
  • Zip code (postcode)
  • House number (huisnummer)
  • Birth date (geboortedatum)
  • Choose your coverage (gewenste dekking): WA, WA+ of allrisk

After filling out the information you can continue. You will see an overview of insurance companies with their premiums based on your situation. Click on the insurance company to go to their website and complete their application process.

You can also do a comparison at other comparison websites. Famous Dutch comparison websites are Pricewise and Independer.

Need car insurance? Take a look at the following insurers: InShared & Centraal Beheer 

Why is the premium for car insurance to high?

Not in all cases the car premium insurance is high. The price that you pay is personal. The tariff depends on several factors. For example:

  • Age of the driver. The younger you are the higher the premium. This is because younger drivers cause more accidents.
  • Damage history. The more years you drive damage free, the more discount you will get on your insurance. This is called damage free years (schadevrije jaren). Each year without a damage claim you will get one extra damage free year. With these years you will get no-claim discount (no-claim korting). This can run up to 80% discount. Although if you manage to claim a damage during a year which is your fault you will drop 5 years. This means that after a damage claim your premium will increase. When you are a new unexperienced driver you will also have no claim-free years. So the insurance premium of starting drivers is also very high.
  • Type of vehicle. Heavy vehicles cause more damage therefor you will pay a higher premium. You will pay also more premium if you have an expensive car (with allrisk coverage).
  • Where you live. If you live in the city (for example Amsterdam) your premium will be way higher than if you live in a village. This is because the city is busy and the chance for an accident is higher.

How to decrease the premium of the car insurance?

In most of the times you can choose to increase the co-pay (eigen risico). The standard co-pay is generally between €100-200. With some insurers you can increase this amount to €1.000. If you increase the co-pay, your premium will decrease.

The best way to lower your premium is to drive damage free over the years. You will be rewarded for driving without damage according to the bonus system.

The car insurance bonus system

Within the Netherlands insurers use the no-claim bonus system (bonus malus systeem). In essence it is a system which rewards good drivers and punishes bad drivers. When you drive many years without making an insurance claim than you will be rewarded with premium discount. This premium discount is called: no-claim korting.

Need car insurance? Check out: InSharedCentraal Beheer

When you own a car with car insurance then each year you drive without damage will be registered as a damage free year (schadevrij jaar). Damage free year is the same as a claim free year. Each claim free year entitles you to further discount according to the insurers no-claim scheme. This no-claim scheme is called the “bonus-malus ladder“. This scheme is literally a ladder with discount numbers related to certain steps. Based on the amount of damage free years you have you will be plotted in a certain step of the ladder. A step in the ladder is called “trede“. Some insurers have a scheme with maximum 80% discount.

Example of how the bonus system works

You already have 5 years of driving experience without damage. Therefore you have 5 damage free years. Based on the no-claim scheme of insurer InShared (see below) you will be plotted in step (trede) 11. With step 11 there is a discount associated of 70%. You will get 70% discount with 5 damage free years.

But what happens when you have a damage claim? In that case you will drop from 5 to 0 damage free years. You will be plotted in step 6, which has a discount of 40%. You lost 30% discount.

Can you use claim free years from a non-Dutch insurer?

Have you lived outside of the Netherlands for a while and drove a car there? Then you may have built up claim-free years there. The car insurer in the Netherlands can only see claim-free years that you have built up in the Netherlands. To take claim-free years from abroad, you can ask for a written statement from the non-Dutch insurer. Most car insurers accept the foreign statement. Some insurers will register your claim-free years, others will only give you a discount. Other insurers only accept statements from specific countries, such as France, Germany and Belgium. A statement from Turkey (non-EU) is less likely to be accepted. There is no uniform policy among insurers regarding foreign claim-free years.

auto aan het water

What is important to look at when choosing car insurance in the Netherlands?

When choosing car insurance, you can look at the following subjects:

  • No-claim scheme of insurer – what is the maximum discount you get? And what happens when you claim a damage? How much premium will you pay after a claim?
  • Policy coverage – Which one do you choose? Only third-party liability or you want more insurance with an allrisk coverage?
  • Excess and deductible options – this is also called co-pay (eigen risico). This is the amount you will pay yourself when you have damage to your car.
  • Company itself – Does the company have a good name? Is it well known? Are the reviews good? Is the claim process easy? These questions are also important.

How to apply for insurance?

In the early days you would go to an insurance desk in a building and someone would help you. Nowadays all applications go through the internet via an application form. For application of insurance, you will need:

  • vehicle license plate number
  • address where you live
  • proof of residence (residence permit or BSN)

After you apply you will get a temporary coverage. The insurer will review your application and after a few hours or days you will get a final coverage. In the meantime, you are allowed to drive with the car on the road. Not in all cases you will get a temporary coverage. For example, if you have stated that you have been involved with fraud in the past it is likely you will not get a temporary or even final coverage policy. Car insurers do not have an obligation to accept you as a client.

Fix your car insurance at InSharedFollow the steps at InShared and get a good quote.

Application process explained step by step

In this section we will walk you through the application process you will go through on an insurance website. We have taken the insurer “Inshared” as an example. In essence all steps are sort of equal.

  • Step 1: enter license plate number.
  • Step 2: enter your zip code.
  • Step 3: enter your claim-free years (schadevrije jaren).
  • Step 4: enter you “kilometers per jaar”. This is your mileage each year. You have to estimate how many kilometers you will drive in a year.
  • Step 5: enter your family composition.
  • Step 6: enter who drives the most in the car (regelmatige bestuurder).
  • Step 7: enter your birth date.
  • Step 8: choose your coverage plan: WAbeperkt casco or Allrisk.
  • Step 9: choose additional coverage plans: for example, legal expense insurance.
  • Step 10: check your insurance premium, if you are happy than continue.
  • Step 11: enter the “meldcode”. The meldcode is a 4-digit number that you can find on the license plate card of your car. You can also find the number on the inside of your car door, under the hood of the car or on the invoice of your car dealer.
  • Step 12:  choose the date when your insurance must start.
  • Step 13: enter the person who owns the car (the car owner is the person who is registered as the license plate holder).
  • Step 14: enter how many damages you claimed on insurance the past five. years. This includes other damage insurance besides car insurance.
  • Step 15: give honest answer to several acceptance questions such as: Have you been in contact with law enforcement or the police in recent years (8 years)? If you are not honest than that is considered as fraud. You will have problems in the future to get any insurance.
  • Step 16: You will get insurance once accepted. If you are not accepted immediately then in most times you will get a temporary coverage. With this coverage you can drive on the road.
  • Step 17: You are insured and can drive on the road! Be sure that you check every year if your insurance is up to date and the cheapest!

Making insurance claim in the Netherlands

If you have created damage or someone else created damage to your car you will need to make a car insurance claim. You will have to do the following:

  • fill in your car insurance claim report form.
  • file your insurance claim with your insurance company – you can do this online or via phone.
  • complete the EU accident statement form. The other party should also fill out this form. The form is for your insurer to support your claim.
  • if necessary, contact the police. The police will produce a separate incident report. This can be used by the insurance company to determine liability.
  • get contact details of the other party.
  • take photos of the situation
  • take contact details of witnesses to the incident.

Provide your insurance policy number on all documents sent to your insurer. In the Netherlands, a deadline is nonexistent for making a claim. You should however always file a claim as soon as possible.

Key takeaways about car insurance in the Netherlands

  • Third-party liability insurance (WA) is mandatory in the Netherlands
  • Three types of insurance available in the Netherlands: third party coverage (WA), third party insurance + limited coverage (WA beperkt casco) and third party + comprehensive coverage (allrisk or volledig casco)
  • Additional insurance plans are possible such as breakdown assistance and legal expenses insurance for your car
  • Claim-free years (schadevrije jaren) will get you discount based on the no-claim scheme of the insurer
  • Insurance claim will let you drop 5 years in claim-free years
  • Insurance premium is unique for everyone. It depends on several factors such as age and type of car.
  • You can only insure Dutch license plates in the Netherlands
  • When you stay for a long time in the Netherlands you will need Dutch car insurance.
  • You can easily check car insurance premiums through comparison. You can compare car insurance on this website.