Car Insurance, Essential Information About Excess Payments
An excess payment is the fixed contribution you must pay each time your car is repaired through your car insurance policy. Normally the payment is made directly to the accident repair garage when you collect the car. If your car is declared to be a write off, your insurance company will deduct the excess agreed on the policy from the settlement payment it makes to you.
If the accident was the other drivers fault, and this is accepted by the third party’s insurer, you’ll be able to reclaim your excess payment from the other person’s insurance company. But what if the other driver is uninsured?
All motorists know that it’s a legal requirement (under Section 143 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act) to have insurance for any damage they cause to third parties. But still many drive without insurance. An estimate of the incidence of uninsured driving in the UK is hard to come by and, for the obvious reasons, those drivers involved in breaking the law have every reason to keep quiet about it.
Calculations from the Department of Transport suggest that in the UK around 5% of vehicles are being driven without valid insurance. This group of people not only impose costs on honest motorists in the form of higher premiums, but their presence on our roads also represents a serious risk to other road users. Consequently, uninsured driving is increasingly being regarded as a major social problem.
But driving without insurance is not a victimless crime. If you have an accident with an uninsured driver and the accident wasn’t your fault, the repair costs will be paid for by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau that’s funded in its entirety by the industry, or by your insurer. Therefore, if you’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver you’ll eventually get you car repaired but you’ll still have to pay the excess and there’ll be no one to reclaim your excess from.
What is a Compulsory Excess?
A compulsory excess is the minimum excess payment your insurer will accept on your insurance policy. Minimum excesses do vary according to your personal details and driving record and by insurance company. Today the average excess is around £100, but younger drivers could be faced with excesses of up to £500 – whilst more mature, experienced drivers with a good driving record, could be offered an excess of just £50.
So what is a Voluntary Excess?
In order to reduce your insurance premium, you may offer to pay a higher excess than the compulsory excess demanded by your insurance company. Your voluntary excess is the extra amount over and above the compulsory excess that you agree to pay in the event of a claim on the policy. As a bigger excess reduces the financial risk carried by your insurer, your insurer I able to offer you a significantly lower premium.
The garage has repaired my car but it won’t release the car too me until I pay the policy excess to them. Is this right?
Yes, that is normal practice. But make sure you inspect the car when you collect it. Satisfy yourself that the repair is perfect. Then make sure you keep their receipt for your excess payment as you will need this if you’re reclaiming against a third party’s insurance. And just in case there’s a dispute, it’s a good idea to make sure the repair garage gives you a repair schedule. This will list all the repairs that were made to you car.
Car Insurance – How can you lower your premiums?
Many factors influence the premium for your Motor insurance policy. Your insurer will have asked you many questions whilst producing your quote – some of which will affect your premium and some will not. Below we discuss the key variables that are within the policyholder’s control.
By insuring a number of vehicles with the same insurer, or by trying to take out home and life insurance through your car insurer, you may be able to secure a ‘bulk buy’ discount.
A big influence on the cost of your car insurance is where you live. The chance of your car being broken into or stolen is a key concern for the insurer. More urban areas traditionally facing greater risk of theft and therefore tend to be more expensive than countryside locations.
By agreeing to pay a greater excess on each claim you can reduce your car insurance premiums. This is because you are reducing the liability of the insurer and therefore in return they are able to offer you a lower premium.
The cheaper and slower your vehicle the lower your premiums are likely to be. If you are looking to buy a new vehicle make sure you fully consider the cost of insurance – you may be able to buy the car but can you afford to run it?
You can control your insurance premiums by restricting your annual mileage. However, be aware that if you exceed the restricted number of miles you’ll then become uninsured!
Where you park your vehicle overnight is also very important to the insurers. If it is kept in a locked garage, you should be offered a lower premium than if you leave it unattended in the street.
Security devices that prevent or hinder theft may also reduce your premium. Common examples include alarms and immobilisers, however, be aware that as we improve the quality of our security devices the thieves just become better at bypassing them.
No Claims Discount
Save up your no claims discount by avoiding making small claims upon your policy. After a set number of years, 4 or 5 typically, you’ll often be offered the option to pay an additional small premium to protect your no claims bonus. This can prove very helpful if you subsequently end up having an accident.
Advanced driving skills
By taking an advanced driving course you may also be able to reduce your premiums. The Institute for Advanced Motorists and the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents each offer membership which provides you with discounts for both the cost of driving courses and your car insurance premiums. Two key variables NOT within the policyholder’s control.
Women are statistically less likely to have an accident and, if they do, it’s less likely to be serious. Because of these statistics women benefit from lower premiums. It is also worth noting that if you represent one half of a couple you should consider having the female as the primary driver with the male as the second driver.
The older you are, the less likely you are to make a claim. As a result insurance companies charge lower premiums for more mature drivers.
One final piece of advice.
A large percentage of car insurance is now sold on the Internet. That’s because it’s convenient and cheap. Many insurers now give a further 10%-15% discount if you buy online.
Car Insurance, Save On Premiums!
Everyone has to agree to an excess of some kind when getting a car insurance policy – it’s the way the system works. Basically it means that if you have an accident and your car needs to be repaired, you will have to pay a set amount towards the bill. If the accident is your fault, you lose the money. If the accident is not your fault, the third party insurer reimburses you for the excess payment. If your car is written off, then your insurance company will deduct your excess from the settlement payment.
Things aren’t always that simple however, unfortunately there are a number of drivers on British roads that don’t have any insurance, so the question is, what happens with your claim if you have an accident with an uninsured driver?
The 1988 Road Traffic Act, section 143 clearly states that all drivers on the UK roads must have insurance for the vehicle that they are driving. The point of the insurance is that if you have an accident and it is your fault, you have the means to cover the cost of the damage incurred by way of your insurance policy. It’s a sad fact that a significant minority of drivers choose not to bother with insurance, disregarding UK law and saving themselves hundreds of pounds a year as a consequence. Someone has to pay for these drivers though, and it’s the people that do have insurance that foot the bill!
The Department of Transport estimates that as many as 5% of drivers are not insured on the vehicle which they are driving. Statistics also show that uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. It’s a growing trend and is proving very difficult to eradicate.
If you have an accident, you are not at fault, and the third party is not insured, then you will be reimbursed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. Who funds them? The car insurance industry! That’s where some of your inflated premiums end up. You will also find that you’ll have to pay the agreed excess yourself, there will be no-one able to refund that for you.
Here’s the low-down on the basics about ‘excess’:
Compulsory Excess – this is the amount that the insurance company regards as the minimum amount that you must pay towards the cost of damages . This is agreed at the outset and depends on a few details you’re your age and your driving record. For example, if you are older and have a clean driving record, you could only have to pay a minimum of £50. Those with a more chequered driving history, or those that have not been driving for very long, could feasibly have to agree to pay £500. The average for most drivers is £100 .
Voluntary Excess – this is the amount over and above the minimum ‘compulsory’ amount set by the insurer that you are prepared to pay. This is an opportunity to lower your premiums, because if you can agree to a high excess, then the insurance company knows it won’t have to pay out as much if you need to make a claim. It’s one of the few sure fire ways of saving a few pounds on a car insurance policy, but you may not be offered the choice, it depends on individual insurers.
The garage won’t give my repaired car back until I give them a cheque for the excess – is this what usually happens?
This is completely normal, and you will have to pay and then get the money back from the third party insurer. Always give the car a good once over to ensure that the repairs have been satisfactorily completed. You also need to keep the receipt to get the excess back from the insurer, and just in case they dispute the charges, get a copy of the repair schedule so the insurer can see exactly what work was completed on your vehicle.
Car Insurance: Types of Insurance You Need to Understand
With all this traveling in and out, back and forth around the maze that is the United States infrastructure, its easy to understand why auto insurance is required in order to own an operate a car. For car buyers, an effort needs to be made on the part of insurance companies to provide information on the different types of auto insurance available. These include bodily injury and liability, collision, comprehensive, full glace, liability, medical coverage, personal injury protection, and underinsured or uninsured motorist.
Liability insurance coverage is imperative to have as a driver. This insurance covers any injuries or damages to property that may occur during an accident. Two types of liability include bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance.
Medical insurance is different in that it focuses on the driver and passengers of the car. This will cover any medical treatment for the driver and the passengers. In addition, the medical insurance may or may not offer disability insurance and pain and suffering compensation.
Uninsured or under-insured drivers insurance will pay any costs that you or your passengers may experience if an accident should occur with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured.
Collision insurance deals with the cost of damage caused by a collision to your car that may affect the book value. Comprehensive deals more with damage caused by vandalism, natural disasters, theft or other kinds of damage.
There are several other types of car insurance. These include glass replacement insurance, towing insurance etc. These types of insurance are often not required and are not popular as they are often costly.
Now that you know what types of car insurance are out there, the next step is to find a credible insurance agent. The first place to investigate this is through family and friends. Referrals will help you sort those agents that you want to investigate further. You will want to speak with several different agents before you make your final decisions. Ask any and all questions you may have. That is what the agent is there for.
Car Insurance Are You Getting the Best Deal?
Getting car insurance can be quite a difficult task. There are just so many insurance companies out there that are desperate to get your business that choosing between the good deals and the dubious deals can be daunting. But since taking out insurance is such a crucial and important thing to do, you have to wonder if getting the cheapest insurance you can afford would be the best idea.
Because of the fierce competition in the insurance market, premiums have been falling, which is good news for those shopping for car insurance. It is prudent to bear in mind however that price is not the most important part of your car insurance deal!
What you should look to achieve is lower premium payments in order to ease the burden of paying insurance. This can take a great deal of time especially when it comes to comparing the different insurance companies and what they might offer. However there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of success.
Shop around. Each insurance company offers different setups – sometimes differing so drastically that attention to detail is a must. You can ask for quotations from these companies so that you can compare them with regards to the prices and packages they offer. An easier step would be to visit websites that list insurance companies offering affordable insurance packages.
Keep a good clean driving record. If you can show that you are a good driver then insurance companies will consider you a low-risk candidate, and thus will have lower accompanying premium rates
One great way to lower car insurance premiums is by installing a number of additional safety devices or features in your car. Some insurance companies will automatically lower premiums if they see anti-theft devices, automatic seatbelts and airbags.
Creative mathematics can also bring your car premiums down. Ask for higher deductibles on your car insurance policy. By increasing your deductibles you can lower your premiums from between 15 to 20 per cent. Just make sure that you can shoulder the difference!
If you own a second hand car or an old model car, ask to reduce its coverage. A car whose cost is equivalent to less than ten times the premium that you pay for a comprehensive coverage is not a good deal.
You can actually ask for more discounts from insurance companies. A number of discounts can be requested like lower rates if the car has a low annual mileage. There are also companies that grant discounts if you show proof that you have taken a defensive driving course. Passing an advanced driving test can also be used to ask for a discount.
Your profession can give you a better deal than you think. Ask around if your particular profession can be considered as a low-risk group. Insurance companies have a list of professions that are grouped between low risk and high risk. Low insurance risk professions are awarded with lower insurance premiums.