Beware the false economy of high voluntary excess

It’s hard enough to find discount car insurance in the current economic landscape, and with motoring costs such as the price of petrol seem to climb inexorably upward, many have looked for ways to make keeping a car less expensive – but experts say you should think twice about raising your voluntary excess too high.

Car insurance rates for nearly everyone have been going up over the past few years.  Younger drivers have been the hardest hit, with some car insurance companies furnishing quotes as high as £3,000 for a year’s worth of insurance cover.  This has led many to consider increasing the voluntary excess on their policy in order to drop their rates, but this could turn out to be a false economy in the event of an expensive car crash, experts warn.

Most insurance policies available for purchase in the UK have the option of choosing your own voluntary excess in addition to the compulsory excess, which is the amount of cash you’ll have to pay out of pocket towards a claim before your insurance provider will pay for the rest of the repairs.  Choosing a higher excess leads to a less expensive premium in most cases, as the insurer’s costs are lessened by a driver taking on a larger portion of the financial burden on themselves, but research has revealed that customers in search of more affordable insurance have increased voluntary excess levels higher than they could possibly afford in the event of an accident.

According to one study, nearly 30 per cent of one insurer’s customers lacked the requisite amount of cash in their savings to pay their excess in 2011.  However, the truly shocking figure is that this was a 61 per cent increase on 2010 figures, indicating that an increasing number of motorists may be gambling on not getting into an accident in order to keep their car on the road.

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