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Car insurance excess explained

  • 3, Aug 2020
  • Read time: 6 mins
Excess is an important part of car insurance that needs to be carefully considered when purchasing and renewing a policy. It’s important that you’re aware of the different features that make up your car insurance. While other insurers may have different processes, in this guide you'll learn exactly what our car insurance excess is, how it affects your motoring costs and when you need to pay.
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What is car insurance excess?

An excess is an amount you may have to pay in the event of a claim. Insurance is designed to cover you for the more expensive claims that you couldn’t settle by yourself. If there was no excess set, then this may encourage drivers to claim for minor damage such as scrapes and scratches on bodywork. This is why the excess is set.

There are two types of excess; compulsory and voluntary. We set your compulsory excess and you choose your voluntary excess. Both amounts are automatically added together and this is what you will have to pay in the event of making a claim, so ensure you’re comfortable with the amount. In the majority of cases increasing voluntary excess will result in a decrease in price, however, this isn’t the case for every single customer.

The amount of excess you pay when you claim may vary depending on:

  • The voluntary excess amount you chose to pay
  • The type of claim
  • Your age
  • Your driving experience
  • The make and model of your vehicle

The amount you pay is outlined in your policy schedule.

It’s also important that you only purchase or renew your car insurance policy if you’re happy with the excess amount.

How does car insurance excess work?

If your car is damaged, the amount you pay towards getting it fixed will be set before you purchase your policy.

Imagine that you have an excess of £100. Your car is damaged in an accident and the cost to get it fixed is £500. We can help by paying £400 and you will be charged your excess amount of £100.

What is the difference between voluntary and compulsory excess?

Compulsory excess

This is the fixed amount pre-set by your insurer to be paid if you make a claim on your car insurance. The excess level tends to be higher for new drivers with less driving experience, or those who drive high-performance cars - depending on the car's insurance group.

Voluntary excess

Voluntary excess gives you control over the cost of your car insurance. You decide how much to pay. Added to your compulsory excess, you will need to pay both in the event of an accident so make sure you can afford to pay this amount in the event of an accident. You may either choose a lower voluntary excess for a higher premium, or a higher voluntary excess for a lower premium.

Do you pay the excess if you aren’t at fault?

You will need to pay your excess if you’re in an accident and you make a claim, even if it wasn’t your fault. The good news is you may be able to recover this amount from your car insurance provider if there is evidence that the accident was someone else’s fault.

Do you pay the excess if the other driver isn’t insured?

We can't speak for other insurers but here at MORE THAN you will need to pay your excess. However, this will be refunded if the other party isn't insured. The driver will need to be identified as uninsured and the claim will need to be settled in your favour for the refund to take place. If your No Claim Bonus was reduced at your policy renewal after being in an accident with an uninsured driver, it will be reinstated with any premium you’re owed.

When won’t you have to pay an excess?

There are a few instances that you won’t need to pay your excess when making a claim. Some examples include:

  • If a driver has crashed into the back of you and, once safe to do so, you have collected their name, address and vehicle registration, we will get in touch with their insurer and your excess fee will be waived
  • If you’re in an accident and the other driver admits they were at fault (known as accepting liability), then you won’t need to pay your excess. If your car is in a garage being repaired and you have paid the excess amount to the garage, we can refund you. 

Can you change the amount of excess you pay?

When it’s time for you to renew your car insurance policy, this is a good opportunity for you to look at your voluntary excess amount. By altering the amount of excess you voluntarily pay, you can see what effect it has on your quote. Make sure the amount set is an amount you are able to pay for the duration of your new car insurance policy if you need to make a claim.

When should you make a claim?

Every time you make a claim this may affect how much you pay when you come to renew. You should always report incidents to your insurer, but if the costs are relatively low and you can afford to pay for the damage yourself, such as a broken wing mirror, then do so. This will keep your no claim bonus intact which will help to keep costs low in the future.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, your first priority should be your safety and to call for medical help if you or anyone else is injured. If you've been involved in an accident, here's a step by step guide you can follow.

When you need to make a claim, you can notify us by phoning our UK call centres. If you don’t require immediate assistance, you can make a claim using our online claim tool.

Please note: the information in this article is for MORETHAN customers and other insurers may have different processes.

Find out more about our car insurance.

You can make a claim or renew your policy by accessing your online account.

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