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Car insurance excess explained

Car insurance excess explained

Being involved in an accident is worrying enough without discovering your car insurance excess is unaffordable. Here’s our guide to what you’ll have to pay should you make a claim.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
3
minute read
posted 29 OCTOBER 2019

What is car insurance excess?

Car insurance excess is the amount you’ll have to pay towards a claim you make on your insurance. The total excess is likely to be made up of a compulsory and voluntary excess. 

For example, if you have a compulsory excess of £250 and a voluntary excess of £150, you’ll have to pay £400 towards the cost of any claim you make. 

What’s the difference between voluntary and compulsory excess?

Compulsory excess is set by your insurance provider and can’t be changed. Voluntary excess is how much you choose to pay on top of the compulsory excess. 

Some policies may also have an additional compulsory excess. For example, if you’re a driver under 25, you could have an additional young driver excess, as insurance providers consider you a higher risk. You might also have an additional excess if you drive a luxury or high-performance car.  

Most car insurance policies also have a windscreen/glass excess. If you claim for a damaged windscreen, you may have to pay a small excess if it needs replacing. If it can be repaired, the excess is usually waived. Check your policy as this can vary.

Can I change my compulsory and voluntary excess? 

You have no control over the compulsory excess – your insurance provider sets it. They look at the information you’ve provided and decide what risk you pose, taking into account your age, experience and even the car you drive

Voluntary excess works differently as you can choose how much you’re willing to pay, within a range. 

Should I increase my voluntary excess?

If you consider yourself a safe driver, paying a higher voluntary excess may reduce your premiums. However, make sure you can afford to pay the voluntary and compulsory excess in the event you do need to make a claim following an accident.

Do I still pay car insurance excess if the accident wasn’t my fault? 

Yes, but your insurance provider will usually claim back your excess from the other driver’s insurance provider. But be warned – it will take time to get back your excess, and you may need legal protection. 

If the other driver can’t be identified or doesn’t have insurance, you could end up having to pay the excess regardless of whose fault the accident was. 

Making a claim may also mean your insurance provider considers you a higher risk, and you may have a higher compulsory excess when you come to renew your policy. 

How do I know how much excess I’ll have to pay?

You can check your policy documents but if you still aren’t sure, call your insurance provider. 

How can I find car insurance to suit me? 

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. We independently compare a variety of insurance providers to help you find the right car insurance deal. We’ll show you policies based on price, cover, add-ons or payment terms, helping you compare policies based on your needs. 

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