Drivers crippled financially by huge car insurance excesses

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A study by vouchercloud.com has found that many UK drivers are opting for a big insurance excess, in a bid to slash their premium – despite knowing that in the event of an accident, they'd be unable to pay the agreed excess.

The study polled 1885 drivers across the UK, aged 18 and over, as part of research into insurance costs and affordability amongst Britons. 

You’ve signed a contract with your insurer, so to avoid financial blacklisting or other penalties, you need to be able to pay

Of those asked, 61% pay their insurance on a monthly basis – and more than half of these reckon it’s the only way they can afford to insure their car.  Unsurprisingly, 72% of respondents also reckon they’re paying too much for their cover, 56% of these also admit it’s a struggle to find the cash to insure their car – while 18% are considering giving up their car because of the high cost of insurance.

Intriguingly, 62% of those polled said they’dbumped up their excess to cut the cost of their insurance cover – but most worrying of all, 26% of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay this excess in the event of a claim, while another 38% said it would be a struggle.

Across the board, the average excess is for £300, with almost a fifth of those polled saying they’d have to turn to a payday loan company – two-thirds would rely on friends or family to bail them out.

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud comments: "Whilst increasing the excess is a legal way of keeping insurance down, you’re obliged to pay the agreed figure, so if you don't have the sufficient savings to back you up and dip into, you're going to face a financial battle to pay the money to your provider.

You've signed a contract with your insurer, so to avoid financial blacklisting or other penalties, you need to be able to pay. You might consider yourself to be one of the safest drivers around, but there's no accounting for the actions of other road users, which could land you in the financial mire."

If you're confused by the whole excess thing, check out our guide to how insurance excess works - or we've got a whole section on car insurance advice.