How much you have to pay when you make a car insurance claim depends on a few things: the type of cover you have, who caused the damage and how much your excess is.
One of the first things that insurers will do is to establish is who’s fault the accident is. This is important because it decides whose insurance will be claimed on. If it’s your fault, then it’s yours. If it’s the other person’s fault, it will be theirs.
Establishing whose fault it was
Generally, this is a pretty quick process that will take place when you report the accident. Usually people have a good idea of what happened and, happily, are pretty honest.
But of course there are situations where people might not know or where each side has a different story to tell. In that case, the insurance companies will speak to each other and work it out between them. They’ll do this by looking at the reports and things like who had right of way.
Sometimes, the insurers will decide that both parties involved are at fault. Then they’ll agree to split the claim 50/50.
In very rare situations it ends up in a lengthy dispute, and solicitors could get involved. This is very unusual and in no one’s best interest, so most of the time the insurers will work it out between them.
What do I have to pay to claim if the accident wasn’t my fault
In this case, we will discuss the different scenarios when you report your claim. In the best-case scenario, where the other driver has admitted fault, then you won’t need to pay anything. You’ll claim against their insurance and your no claims bonus won’t be affected.
However, sometimes this takes a while. And as the excess needs to be paid when the repairs are finished, you may need to pay it before the other insurer confirms that they’re responsible for paying the claim. If they confirm after you’ve paid, we’ll reimburse your excess when we’ve recovered the full cost of the claim from the other insurer. Depending on the circumstances, your no claims bonus may also be reinstated.
The exception to this is if the other driver involved can’t be traced or wasn’t insured. Then, if you have fully comprehensive cover, you may have to pay your excess to claim on your own insurance. We’ve written more about that here.
What do I have to pay if the accident was my fault
If it was your fault, then what you have to pay to get your car repaired will next depend on the insurance cover you have.
If you only have third party insurance or third party, fire and theft, then the other driver can claim on your insurance to get their car fixed or replaced. You won’t need to pay anything for this to happen. However, if you only have those covers then you won’t be able to claim for any damage to your car. You’ll need to fund any repairs or even a replacement.
However, if you have fully comprehensive cover then the other driver will be able to claim on your insurance AND you’ll be able to as well. This will involve you paying an excess.
Paying the excess
If you’re claiming on your own insurance for damage you accidentally caused to your car, then you will need to pay an excess. This is an amount of money you pay towards the claim.
What is an excess?
An excess is the money that you pay towards your insurance claim
It’s made up of two parts: the compulsory and the voluntary excess. These will be shown to you in detail when you set up your insurance policy. Make sure that you take notice of them and that they’re affordable for you.
The compulsory excess is the minimum excess we’ll offer you. You can’t change that.
The voluntary excess is an amount that you can set on top of the compulsory one. Why would you do this? Generally, the higher you set your excess, the lower your insurance premium will be. This is because you are agreeing to pay more of any claim you may need to make.
It might be tempting to set your voluntary excess as high as you can to reduce your premium. Just remember: you’ll need to lay hands on that sum of money at short notice if you need to make a claim.
Do I have to pay an excess if I have third party only insurance?
No, you don’t typically pay an excess if someone claims on your third party insurance. You usually only pay an excess when you’re claiming on your own insurance to repair your own car.
When do I find out what I need to pay?
When you ring us to make the claim, we’ll discuss your options. We’ll remind you of how much excess you need to pay. You won’t have to settle up with us then – you pay your excess when the repairs are completed.
If we decide your car is a total loss, we will offer you money – called a settlement – instead of repairing it. We deduct the excess from the settlement before we pay you.
There shouldn’t be any other transactions associated with your claim. We’ll settle all the bills, so don’t worry about having enough money in your account or handing over your credit card to pay for repairs. If you have paid for things like taxis or train tickets to complete your journey, we’ll reimburse you if that’s part of your cover. Let your claims handler know what you’ve paid for and share the receipts. This should be with you within a few days.
Still got questions about making a claim? Here’s what you need to know about making a claim with boom.