Car insurance buyers guide

Why do you need it, what do you need and what should you look out for? Sit back, relax and let Elephant help you decide.

Explaining car insurance excess

The excess is the first part of a claim, which we don't pay. But the good news is, it can make your car insurance cheaper.

Why do we have an excess? It's so people don't make lots of claims for small amounts of damage (e.g. £20 to replace a door mirror that got knocked off). Insurance is there to cover the really big claims you probably wouldn't be able to pay.

Here's how it works

Say your policy has a £100 excess. You have an accident and make a claim, and the bill to repair the damage comes to £695. We pay out £595, and you make up the difference so the bill is paid in full.

If you have a minor knock (perhaps a little dent on the back bumper) that costs less than £100 to repair, you should sort out the repair yourself. You can't claim for it, because it's less than the £100 excess.

Why does my policy have different excesses?

Simply because it can cost more to repair or replace some items than others. Or because some drivers or cars are greater risks than others. So we set the excesses appropriately.

For example, unless you have a huge pumping stereo in a very rusty old banger, your audio system will probably be worth less than your car. So it's only fair we set a lower excess for your audio system, than we do for your car.

How can an excess be a good thing?

Nearly all policies will have an excess which you must pay. This is called the compulsory excess.

We may well offer you the chance to increase that excess, in return for paying less for your insurance. You need to weigh up the pros and cons - if you do have to make a claim, you'll pay more of the repair costs yourself. But if you drive safely (and have good luck!) you could save yourself some money.

 
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