A simples guide

Car Insurance Excess Explained

Being involved in an accident can be a worrying time, and you certainly don’t want to add to the stress by discovering that your car insurance excess isn’t quite what you thought. So, we’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand just what you might have to pay out should you make a claim. 

What is a car insurance excess?

Car insurance excess is the amount you’ll have to pay when you make a claim on your insurance. Your total excess could be made up of a compulsory and a voluntary excess. For example, if you have a compulsory excess of £250 and a voluntary excess of £150, you’ll have to pay £400 in the event of a claim. 

on the road

What’s the difference between voluntary and compulsory insurance excess?

Compulsory excess is set by the insurance provider and can’t be changed. Voluntary excess is the amount that you choose to pay in addition to the compulsory excess. It’s always important to remember that if you do make a claim, you’ll have to pay both the compulsory and voluntary excess.

You may also have an additional compulsory excess on your policy. For example, if you’re a young driver (under the age of 25), you could have an additional young driver excess, as insurance providers consider you to be a high risk. You might also have an additional compulsory excess if you drive a luxury or high-performance vehicle.

On the majority of car insurance policies there will also be a windscreen/glass excess. Should you make a claim for a damaged windscreen, you may have to pay a small excess if the windscreen needs replacing; the excess is often waived if the damage can be repaired. Check with your provider and your policy details as this excess can vary.

car on top of money

Can I change the compulsory and voluntary excess?

You have no control over the compulsory excess – your insurance provider decides the amount. They look at all the information you’ve provided to determine the type of risk you pose. Your age, driving experience and even the type of car you drive will be taken into account when the insurance provider decides on the compulsory excess.

Voluntary excess works differently as you can choose the amount you’re willing to pay. But remember, if you need to make a claim, you’ll have to pay your chosen voluntary excess and the compulsory excess.

Should I increase my voluntary excess?

If you consider yourself a safe driver with a low risk of having an accident, then choosing a high voluntary excess could help to reduce your car insurance premiums. But be aware that your total excess might be more than the cost of repairing your car should you have a minor accident. And you must ensure you can afford to pay the total excess if you need to make a claim.

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

Yes, but you can claim back your excess from the insurer provider of the person who was at fault. You may need to have motor legal protection to help you get back your excess, and it will take time.

Making a claim may mean that your insurance provider will consider you to be a higher risk and you could have an additional compulsory excess when you renew your policy.

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

Check your policy. If you still aren’t sure, ask your insurance provider.

How can I find car insurance to suit me?

Not sure where to start, then don’t worry. We independently compare more than 100 of the UK’s most trusted car insurance providers to help you find the right car insurance deal for you. We’ll show you policies based on price, policy cover level, add-ons or annual or monthly payment terms – helping you compare policies based on your needs.

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