AXA Motor Insurance

What is voluntary and compulsory car insurance excess?


Been in an accident and need to make a claim, but don’t know the ins and outs of car insurance excess? Follow AXA’s easy excess explainer guide.

The chances are you’ve heard about excess when it comes to your car insurance. But if you’ve been in an accident, making a claim is stressful enough without having to make sense of your excess too.

To put it simply, your excess is the amount of money you have to pay towards making a claim on your car insurance.

But how does excess work exactly? What’s the difference between compulsory and voluntary excess? And how does this all impact the cost of your insurance?

Read on for the AXA guide to car insurance excess.

How does car insurance excess work?

Alongside the monthly or annual price of all motor insurance policies is the excess – this is the amount you need to pay towards any claims.

As a basic example, if you make a claim for £1000 and your excess is £250, you’ll be expected to pay £250 of the costs, while your car insurance provider pays the other £750.

If you’re involved in an accident you’ll need to pay your excess, even if the accident isn’t your fault. In those cases, however, you may be able to recover your excess from the person responsible if you have legal expenses or uninsured loss recovery as part of your policy. Check the terms and condition of your insurance policy for more information.

What is compulsory excess?

Compulsory excess is sometimes referred to as ‘mandatory’ excess. It’s the amount set by your insurer that you’ll have to pay in the event of a claim.

Compulsory excess is applied to your policy no matter what. If you’re a young or inexperienced driver you may find that your compulsory excess will be higher. This may also be the case if you have a high performance vehicle.

What is voluntary excess on car insurance?

Voluntary excess is a little different. It’s what you choose to pay towards any claim in addition to your compulsory excess. Choosing to pay a higher voluntary excess could save you money on your car insurance premium, but it means you’ll pay more if you have to make a claim.

For voluntary excess, you should always choose a realistic amount that you can afford to pay in the case of a claim.

Do younger drivers get charged a higher excess on car insurance?

Younger drivers, typically those under the age of 25 years old, might be charged higher compulsory excess on their policy. This is because younger drivers are seen as more likely to be involved in an accident due to their lack of experience.

Remember, compulsory and voluntary excesses apply together. While you can reduce your insurance cost with a higher voluntary excess, there is a risk that the excess may end up being higher than the value of the car.

How does windscreen cover excesses work?

Windscreen and glass excesses tend to be lower compared to others due to the costs and time needed to repair. There are also different excesses between windscreen repair and windscreen replacement, with repair excessed again being lower. When repairing or replacing your screen, the approved repairer will usually take payment at the time or when the replacement is complete.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that voluntary and young driver excesses do not apply to windscreen excesses. Additionally, while windscreen cover is included as standard in our comprehensive cover, it isn’t included in third-party, theft and fire coverage.

How much is the usual car insurance excess?

When applying for insurance with AXA, you’ll be shown the amount of the excess when you get a car insurance quote, and it’ll depend on a couple of things such as:

  • Your age
  • How long you’ve held a full licence
  • The make and model of the vehicle you’re looking to insure
  • The type of cover you choose – third party, fire and theft policies usually only have a single excess for fire or theft claims

To find out how much car insurance can cost and the levels of excess applied by AXA, get a quote.

Should I increase my voluntary excess?

This depends on whether you want to pay less for your insurance policy and whether you’re able to afford to pay a higher excess if there is a claim.

In most cases, choosing a higher voluntary excess will reduce the cost of your insurance. So if you have a history of no claims, it could be worth considering.

And while choosing to pay a higher voluntary excess could bring down the cost of your car insurance policy, saving you money in the long run if you don’t make a claim, it could also make it more costly if the worst happens.

Deciding on whether or not to increase your excess can be something of a gamble, so only make the decision if you can afford to meet the extra cost of paying an increased excess in the event of a claim.

Why is an excess included on my car insurance policy?

This is to discourage drivers from claiming for every little bump and ding and to avoid the increased costs associated with these smaller claims. This, in turn, helps to reduce the insurer’s costs and keeps premiums at an affordable level across the market.

So by including an excess to cover smaller claims like scratches or scrapes, it helps to keep everyone’s costs down.

Do I always have to pay the excess?

Following a claim, you will normally have to pay your excess.

However, if you have comprehensive cover with AXA and we can establish that the claim was not your fault, we’ll refund this back to you. Just make sure to get the make, model and vehicle registration of any other vehicle involved in the incident. We’ll used this to confirm that you weren’t at fault for the claim.

When do I have to pay a car insurance excess?

If you have comprehensive cover you’ll be responsible for paying your total excess (compulsory plus any voluntary or young diver excesses) for the following things:

  • Fire damage
  • Theft
  • Write-offs
  • Accidents where you are the party at fault

If you have third-party, fire and theft cover, you’ll have a flat excess applied for your fire and theft excess.

You’ll usually be asked to pay the excess upfront when you start a claim. However, in some cases, the cost of your excess may be deducted from the total bill for all repairs, in which case you can pay it at the end of your claim.

If you can’t afford to pay the excess, you might be given options for payment, such as a repayment plan. In other cases, your insurer may refuse to process your claim or release your car until the amount is paid. To stop this from happening, always be aware of the amount of excess you’re committing to with a policy, and don’t set your voluntary excess too high.

Who pays the excess if I’m in a car accident?

If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll have to pay the excess yourself, although you can recover this cost in some cases.

If the other driver doesn’t have insurance and you have comprehensive cover, AXA’s uninsured driver promise will put things right without you having to lose out by paying the excess – it won’t affect your no claims discount either. However, you may have to pay your excess, and your NCD may be affected until we establish that you were not to blame for the accident.

It’s important to note that making any claim could mean that insurance companies consider you to be a higher risk in future, and you may face a higher compulsory excess when it comes time to renew your policy.

At AXA, we want to make your journey as smooth as possible. And even if the worst happens and you get into an accident with another car, we’re working to make our claims process as simple as possible to help give you peace of mind – and get back on the road – as quickly as possible.

If you do need to make a claim, follows these easy claims tips or download our accident guide to make the process as simple as it can be.

Keep your car moving – no matter what

Keeping your car moving can be a challenge. With AXA car insurance, it’s easy to get cover to fit your needs, keeping you road-ready from A to B. If you’re an AXA customer, you’ll find the details of your excesses listed in your online account details.