What are the different types of car excess?

01 June 2023

No matter how much you love your car, accidents happen and they’re not always your fault. Cars are expensive things to own and can be very expensive to fix in the event of an accident. This is why it’s always a good idea to have car insurance.

After you have had an accident, you may need to pay an excess as part of your claim. But what is an excess?

How excess works

An excess is the amount you pay or bear for each incident covered by your policy. Your total excess is determined by the circumstances of your claim. Usually, if you elect for a a higher excess, your premium (the amount you pay each year) will be reduced.

So, if your car has been damaged in an incident, and the repair bill comes to $5000, you will pay for the first portion of the repair bill with your excess. If your excess is $500, the insurance company will pay for the remaining $4500.

This doesn’t mean you always have to pay the excess if you have an accident. You won’t have to pay an excess if you (or the person driving your vehicle) are not at fault for the accident occurring, and you are able to provide the name and address of the person at fault with the registration number of their vehicle.

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What kinds of excesses are there?

There are different kinds of excesses that you may have to pay, and there may be more than one depending on the nature of your incident and claim.

Standard excess

A standard excess applies to all motor insurance claims unless stated otherwise in your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The PDS for any insurance product details what is and what isn’t included in that product, so make sure to read it carefully to know what you are covered for.

The standard excess is shown on your insurance certificate. All of the following excesses will be added on top of the standard excess, when relevant.

If you want more information about the specifics of the PDS before you buy an insurance product, they are always available on the website.

If you are an existing customer, you can log in to My Suncorp to check out all of your policy documents.

Voluntary excess

When you sign up for car insurance, you may decide to add a voluntary excess to reduce the premium you pay. The way it works is, the more you are willing to pay for the repairs when you make a claim, the less the insurance company will have to pay, therefore, bringing down your premium.

This extra excess will be added on top of the standard excess applied to the claim. This voluntary excess will, of course, apply to all claims where the standard excess is needed to be paid as part of the claim.

Age excess

The age excess applies to claims where the driver of your car is under 25 years of age.

This age excess is an addition to the standard excess and voluntary excess.

Inexperienced driver excess

The inexperienced driver excess applies when the driver of your car is over the age of 25 however has held their licence for less than two years.
Again, this excess will be added on top of the standard and voluntary excess

Driver history excess

A driver history excess applies to people involved in an incident where they are at fault and have had their driver’s license cancelled, suspended, disqualified or restricted in the three years prior to the time of the incident.

This provides yet another incentive to be a safe and responsible driver.

When you go to purchase new car insurance or renew your existing policy, check your excess and make sure it suits your budget and your needs. Also make sure to read over your PDS to see what excesses you may be faced with.

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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding this product.