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How Long Does it Take to Get Excess Back From Your Insurance Company?

November 9, 2023

For many drivers, the time after a road traffic accident can be stressful, particularly when considering the financial implications of paying excess on an insurance policy. Understandably, the question of "how long does it take to get excess back from insurance?" is one of the most frequently asked. While the process isn't always instantaneous, knowing what to expect can alleviate some of the uncertainty.

Unfortunately, the truth is that there’s no set waiting time for getting your excess back. The time that it takes your provider to issue you a refund will depend on how quickly they work through your claim and liaise with third parties if necessary - and more complex cases can even take up to a year.

But what other factors play a role in determining how long you’ll have to wait for your excess to be returned to you? Let’s take a closer look.

Waiting Times for Car Insurance Excess: Explained

To estimate how long it might take for you to get your excess back, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the claims process itself. Generally, once a claim is made to an insurance company, a series of evaluations begin: the insurance company assesses the circumstances of the accident, determines which party is at fault, and estimates the costs involved.

If you're found not to be at fault and have paid your excess, you'll typically make a ‘car insurance no fault claim’ and be reimbursed. The timeframe for this, however, can vary based on a range of different external factors.

Factors Affecting Excess Return Time

Several elements can influence the duration it takes to get your excess refunded:

  • Fault Determination: The time it takes to establish which party is at fault can vary; investigations might be straightforward, but in situations where responsibility isn't clear-cut, delays can arise.
  • Communication Between Insurers: Sometimes, the delay can come down to poor or slow communication between your insurance company and the third party's insurer, especially if there are any ongoing disagreements or conflicts over costs or liability.
  • Complexity of the Claim: More complex cases, such as those involving multiple vehicles or injuries, might naturally take longer to process.
  • Amount of Excess: Oddly, the value of the excess can sometimes influence the speed of return, especially if it's a significant amount requiring further validation or approval.
  • Your Insurer's Processes: Some insurers might naturally be faster or slower in their processing due to their internal operations.
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Average Processing Times for Excess Refund

On average, once fault has been determined and all necessary documentation is provided, most insurers will aim to refund excess swiftly, with most aiming to take anywhere from a number of weeks to a number of months. For a more precise estimate, it’s better to refer directly to your insurance policy documents or contact your insurer.

How to get your Excess Back Quicker

So, how can you get your hard-earned cash back in your pocket as soon as possible? If you want to ensure that your excess is returned swiftly, you’ll need to ensure that you’re taking proactive measures on your end:

Provide Complete and Accurate Information

The sooner you can provide all required details about the incident, the smoother the process; always ensure that your account of the event is consistent and backed by any available evidence, like photographs or witness statements.

Promptly Responding to Requests for Documentation

Delays often arise when insurers await further documentation. Be it repair bills, photographs, or other forms of evidence, prompt responses can speed up the claims process.

Maintaining Communication with the Claims Adjuster

A claims adjuster is usually assigned to handle your claim. This professional evaluates the details of the accident and determines the payout amount. Maintaining a good line of communication with them can be pivotal. They'll provide updates on your claim's status and can guide you on any additional steps needed to hasten the process.

Why is My Insurance Excess Refund Delayed?

While most insurers strive for a seamless experience, sometimes delays are unavoidable. Some of the most frequent and common causes for prolonged waiting times include:

  • Disputed Claims: If the other party disputes the claim, it can take longer for insurers to come to an agreement.
  • Incomplete Paperwork: Missing details or incomplete forms can lead to back-and-forths that extend the processing time.
  • Third-party Delays: Sometimes, the delay might be on the end of third-party repair shops or other entities that need to provide documentation or assessments.
  • Legal Implications: In cases where legal action might be taken, the return of excess can be delayed until all matters are settled.
  • External Factors: Unexpected events, such as a high volume of claims following a large-scale event (e.g., a major storm), can overwhelm insurance companies, causing delays.

Key Takeaways

In short, navigating the aftermath of a car accident is a complicated process, and often one that takes longer than we’d hope. But it’s simple really: when it comes to recouping excess from your insurance provider, patience is required.

That said, policyholders are by no means powerless; if you’re able to be proactive and keep on top of all paperwork, documentation requests and communication between you and your insurance provider, you can help get your excess back into your bank account faster.