What does “Voluntary Excess” mean?

Voluntary Excess car insurance is the UK equivalent of a deductible. With a voluntary excess for car insurance, you agree to pay a certain amount of money before your insurance company starts paying.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 26, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • In regards to car insurance, the UK has many of the same laws as the USA
  • Voluntary excess car insurance is the UK equivalent of a deductible
  • The exact amount of voluntary excess needed depends on the insurance company you choose

Voluntary excess car insurance is the UK equivalent of a deductible; it just has a more interesting name! Much like in the US, a driver who chooses voluntary excess car insurance can pay less for their premiums than those that don’t.

The UK has many of the same laws that we do in the US. You must have car insurance for any car on the road; however, their system works a little differently than it does in the United States.

By entering your zip code, you can get online car insurance quotes to compare right now!

How much voluntary excess car insurance can I add to my policy?

The amount of voluntary excess car insurance that you can choose will depend on the insurance company you choose for your insurance cover. You can choose as little as £250 while some companies will allow you to add a voluntary excess as much as £1,000

When you choose a voluntary excess, you are agreeing that you will pay a certain amount of money out of pocket before your insurance company starts paying for the damages on your vehicle.

There are some cases where insurance companies will waive this voluntary excess fee. One example is if you are in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have any insurance. Your insurance company will then have to step in to pay your claim.

However, because the UK government has reimbursement policies for accidents that include uninsured drivers, your insurance company may waive your deductible because they can collect the full amount of the claim elsewhere.

Your insurance company is not legally responsible for waiving your fees. However, you may file your claim to recoup your out of pocket costs.

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What is the difference between compulsory excess and voluntary excess car insurance?

The biggest difference between voluntary excess insurance and compulsory excess is that compulsory means that you are required to have excess added to your car insurance cover. An insurance company can require compulsory excess insurance for any reason, and quite legally too!

One of the most common reasons for a compulsory excess requirement is if a driver is considered a high-risk to insure.

The thought process here is that if you have to pay £500 before your insurance company covers your damages, then you will be a more cautious driver.

Also, it is also thought that if you have a higher deductible, you will be much less likely to file a claim for a minor accident. Keep in mind that this benefits you as well as every claim that you make increases the cost of your insurance cover.

Teen drivers typically face the largest compulsory excess requirement of any drivers in the UK. That is because teens are the number one cause of car accidents. This isn’t something restricted to the US; this is the case in nearly every country in the world; teens have the highest accident rates of drivers of any age.

This isn’t something restricted to the US. This is the case in nearly every country in the world. Teens have the highest accident rates of any driver.

If you are an American who is driving for an extended period in the UK, then you will probably find that you have a rather large compulsory excess amount added to your policy.

Some of the considerations that an insurance company will use to determine what your compulsory excess amount will be are:

  • Your age
  • Type of vehicle you drive
  • Your driving record
  • How many insurance claims you have made in the past
  • How much cover you choose

Many insurance companies require all drivers to have compulsory excess car insurance. In this case, it can be as low as £50. If you want to save more money on your policy, then you can increase that amount to however much you want, or the maximum amount allowed by the insurance company that you choose.

A voluntary excess addition isn’t for everyone, however. You have to consider your financial ability to pay that money out of pocket.

Also, if you are prone to auto accidents, you probably want to pay as little as possible out of pocket for each accident.

Your voluntary excess amount is in addition to your compulsory amount. What this means is that if you have an accident and your compulsory excess amount is £200 and you choose a voluntary excess amount of £500, then your total out of pocket expense will be £700.

You don’t have to choose a voluntary excess addition to your policy if you don’t want to. However, if you are typically a safe driver, this is an excellent way for you to save more money on your auto insurance cover.

It is important to note that a car insurance voluntary or compulsory excess isn’t the same as a deductible required by an insurance company. You don’t pay your deductible once and then never have to pay it again. This deductible is payable every time you have an accident.

Why choose voluntary excess car insurance?


As mentioned above, choosing voluntary excess car insurance is an excellent way to save you money. The question that many people ask is why does voluntary excess reduce your premiums and who thought up this option in the first place?

To answer the second question first, voluntary excess has been around almost as long as there has been car insurance available.

Regardless, it has long been a way for consumers to save money on their car insurance cover.

These deductibles benefit the insurance company as well. When you have an accident, you may not be inclined to automatically call your insurance company, especially if the accident is a minor one.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the hope is that if you know, you are going to have to pay money out of pocket if you cause an accident. Hopefully, you will take more caution when you drive.

When you get a quote on your auto insurance cover, you may find that a voluntary excess is assumed via the quote tool, typically about £250. You need to determine whether the quote you receive includes a voluntary excess.

Getting a car insurance quote is the easiest way to save money on your car insurance. It doesn’t matter if you live in the US, the UK or you are an American citizen driving in the UK, taking the time to get a quote can save you a lot of money.

Start right now by entering your zip code and getting free online car insurance quotes!

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