Decoding Excess in Car Insurance: An In-Depth Explanation

Excess in car insurance refers to the amount of money you need to pay when making an insurance claim. This term holds significant importance for your financial stability and peace of mind in the aftermath of an unfortunate event.

Car insurance excess is the sum you are required to contribute when filing a claim. Surprisingly, a considerable number of people still find this term unfamiliar. According to research by Go Compare, only 47% of individuals comprehend the meaning of “excess,” while an additional 12% remain unaware that they are obligated to pay an excess when initiating a claim. Below, we delve further into the details of car excess insurance.

What Does Excess Mean in Car Insurance?

Excess in car insurance is the financial contribution you must make to process a claim. It encompasses both mandatory and voluntary excesses. For instance, if the compulsory cost is $350 and the optional cost is $100, you will need to pay a total of $450.

Compulsory Cost

This fee, predetermined by your insurance provider, remains unalterable. However, individuals under 25 or those driving premium vehicles might face additional compulsory excess, signifying their high-risk status.

Voluntary Excess

Voluntary excess is the amount you willingly contribute beyond the compulsory excess. Here, you can decide the extent of your voluntary excess payment. Opting for a higher voluntary excess could be advantageous if you believe you can cover both mandatory and voluntary excesses during a claim. Alternatively, if you trust your driving skills, you can reduce your insurance premium by increasing your voluntary excess.

How Does Car Excess Insurance Work?

Car excess insurance proves beneficial when your vehicle requires repairs or component replacements. It primarily aims to keep insurance policy rates low and discourages frequent claims. This type of insurance can cover minor incidents, such as windshield damage, contributing to a collaborative effort to manage accident-related costs.

However, it’s essential to adhere to your insurance provider’s maximum excess limit. Determining your chosen excess level is crucial, considering that some providers impose restrictions on the claim amount or frequency. Unfortunately, in accidents where you are not at fault, you might still be required to pay the excess if the other party lacks insurance coverage.

Additionally, renewing excess coverage after a previous accident may lead to an increase in compulsory prices, as insurers may perceive you as a high-risk driver.

Types of Excess Insurance

There are two main types of excess insurance:

  • Single-Policy Excess Insurance:

Covers the excess on a single policy, such as auto insurance.

  • Excess Insurance for Your Lifestyle:

Covers excesses across all your insurance plans.

Beyond these categories, various types of excess exist, including standard excess, voluntary excess, age excess, inexperienced driver’s excess, and excessive driving history excess. Each type varies between providers, allowing you to choose the one that aligns with your needs.

When Do You Need to Pay for Excess?

The situations in which you need to pay excess may include:

  • In accidents where you are not at fault, but the responsible party is unidentified.
  • When an accident occurs, and your car’s driver is deemed at fault.
  • Damage to the car’s windshield or window glass requiring repair.
  • Collisions with animals, especially in areas with wildlife.
  • Damage to a parked vehicle without your knowledge.
  • Destruction caused by rioting or vandalism.
  • Damage due to natural disasters like floods, fires, and storms.
  • Theft or damage by criminals attempting to steal items from your vehicle.

It is important to note that you may not have to pay excess when an accident is not your fault, and the at-fault party is insured, as their insurance will cover the costs.


In conclusion, excess in car insurance primarily refers to the process of filing an insurance claim. Understanding and balancing mandatory and voluntary excess can lead to cost savings on insurance premiums in the long run, ensuring financial protection in case of unforeseen events while driving.

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