Understand how your insurance excess works and when you need to pay it

Sheen Panel Service on 22 August 2019

If you're not at fault for a car accident, you don't need to pay the insurance excess, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. In some cases, you may have to pay your insurance excess even if you believe you are not at fault for the car accident. 

In this guide, we will explain some of the situations where you may have to pay an excess for a not at fault insurance claim and what you can do to try and avoid having to pay an excess. 

If you need to get your car repaired, Sheen will get you back on the road sooner. And we can even help you navigate your insurance claim. For friendly, expert advice on your situation, call Sheen first.

Do I have to pay an excess if it's not my fault?

An insurance excess is the amount you need to contribute when you make an insurance claim. Generally speaking, you always need to pay the excess when you make an insurance claim (even if you're not at fault), but insurers usually agree to waive the excess under specific circumstance.

Usually, the situations where an insurer will waive the excess aren't as straightforward as not being at fault for the accident. The details of when your insurer will waive your excess will be in your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The Financial Rights Legal Centre provides more information in their insurance excesses fact sheet

When don't you have to pay the excess for a not at fault claim?

Different insurance companies will have different policies for when you will have to pay an excess, so you'll need to check your PDS or ask your insurer to get the most accurate information for your case. 

To avoid paying the excess for your not at fault accident, you may need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Your insurer agrees you are not at fault in any way.
  • You can provide the name and details of the person who is at fault.
  • Your insurer can recover the money from the person who is at fault.

In some cases, it may be unclear who was at fault for the accident or it may take time for the insurance companies to determine who was at fault. 

In cases like these, our partners at AANDI Lawyers can help you avoid having to pay an excess by recovering the cost of your repairs from the other party or their insurer. Call your local Sheen workshop and we can help you get the ball rolling.

documenting an accident for insurance

When do you have to pay the excess for a not at fault claim? 

Unfortunately, there are many circumstances where you may have to pay an excess even if you're not at fault. While these will depend on the details of your policy, here are some common circumstances where you may have to pay the excess:

  • If the insurance companies determine that you are partially at fault.
  • If there is a dispute about who is at fault, you may have to pay the excess so your car can be repaired. If it's determined you're not at fault later, you may be able to get your excess refunded.
  • If the at-fault driver isn't insured and cannot pay for the damages. 
  • If the person at fault flees the scene of the accident without leaving their details.

Most insurance companies will still charge the excess if you contributed to causing the accident at all. And if they don't know who the at-fault driver is, you will probably get stuck paying the excess. 

What you can do to try and avoid paying an excess

It may not always be clear whether or not you need to pay your insurance excess. Ultimately, your insurance company will decide if you need to pay your excess or not, but there are a few things you can do to make it less likely you'll need to pay.

Here are some tips for avoiding being stuck with an insurance excess:

  • Document as much evidence as possible so you can provide it to your insurer and prove you're not at fault.
  • If the other driver fled the scene without providing their details, report the incident to police. They may be able to locate the other driver. 
  • If you disagree with the decision your insurer has made, you can lodge a dispute with them.

Choose Sheen for your smash repairs

Whether you're at fault or not, and whether you need to pay an excess or not, Sheen can help you get back on the road sooner. And we can even help you navigate your insurance claim, so call Sheen first.

We give our customers the highest quality smash repairs you'll find anywhere in Victoria, so you can trust us to get your vehicle back to pre-accident condition. 

Choose the best smash repairs for your vehicle. Find your local Sheen workshop