In the UK, driving licences initially obtained outside of the EEC and "Designated Countries" are valid only for 12 months after the beginning of residency. They are non-exchangeable [1].
Insurance premiums for experienced drivers are generally much lower than the ones for new drivers [2].
You are contractually obliged to report changes on the drivers status to the insurance company, such as a licence change.[3]

I tried to find information, but it seems the situation does not occur frequently. Unlike other foreign drivers, EEC and "Designated Countries" licence holders can exchange their licence, thus maintaining the years from the previous one.
I would like to know if someone has information on how the transition from non-exchangeable licences is handled by the insurance company:

  • If you keep the same insurer, do they consider your experienced licence when issuing a new policy, and thus reducing the premium?
  • If you want to switch car insurance, is there a way for other insurance companies to consider your previous driving experience when issuing a quote?


I have checked the wording of the questions to get a quote, and some insurance companies ask:

"How long have you held a driving licence?

Please tell us how long they have held a valid UK or European Union driving licence (starting from when they were issued with a provisional licence). They must be able to provide a copy of their driving licence documents if required."

While others ask:

Does the driver hold a Full UK Manual driving licence? (Yes or No)

How long has the driver had it for? (Number of years)

From this, I get that some insurance companies might consider the non-exchangeable driving licence years when assessing risk.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence
[2] https://www.comparethemarket.com/car-insurance/new-drivers/
[3] https://www.aviva.co.uk/insurance/motor/car-insurance/motor-changes-to-tell-insurers/

  • 1
    Would this not depend upon the underwriting policies of the individual insurance company? Have you asked your questions of their agency? Oct 14, 2020 at 21:41
  • @DavidSupportsMonica As far as I understood, when the situation of the driver changes, the insurer drafts a new policy with a new premium. So yes, the new premium depends on the insurance company. My question is whether this new policy is based on the fact I am a new UK driver only or if I am a new UK driver and I had years of experience on my foreign licence. Well, I haven't spoken with the insurer as of now, because the expiry date of my foreign licence is way ahead and I don't want to create a problem that still doesn't exist.
    – Adam Smith
    Oct 14, 2020 at 22:21
  • Some UK insurance companies can take your accident-free years in another country into account. Admiral and Aviva are said to accept "No Claim" records from US insurance companies, according to a forum for "UK Yankees" that I sometimes visit. You should probably try one or more insurance brokers, as they exist to get you the best deal. You may be able to print out your claims record (or lack of it) from your US insurer's web site. Oct 16, 2020 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


It depends on the insurance company, and you may have to try more than one.

When you exchange your driving license, th U.K. one will have the date when you received your original license, so a brand new license might have a date of 1999 if that’s when you took your driving test.

You need to ask, but it would be unlikely that your insurance premiums go up because you exchanged your license. What can happen is that they sneakily increase the premiums because many people don’t notice and don’t switch, nothing to do with your license.

I haven’t seen any insurance that doesn’t take your “accident free” years from your previous insurance.

  • Okay, maybe I was not very clear in my question but I am taking about non exchangeable licences (non-EEC and non "designated country").
    – Adam Smith
    Oct 15, 2020 at 7:17

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