You may be unable to recover your excess when you have been in a car accident

Policy excess not recoverable
If you are in a singular vehicular accident, you may be unable to recover your excess since there is no second party to the accident.
The complainant was insured with Company A when her vehicle was involved in an accident in April 2006. She was forced to take evasive action to avoid colliding with another car and in so doing, her car sustained considerable damage when it ran off the road. No other vehicle was damaged in the accident.

She subsequently submitted a claim to her insurers, under her Comprehensive policy, seeking recovery of the damages to her car. However, the complainant was unable to get any word from her insurers as to the status of her complaint and after repeated delays she lodged a complaint at the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (OFSO).

The OFSO presented the complainant’s case to the Company which appointed an investigator to review the circumstances surrounding the accident and at the same time, assess the damages sustained by the vehicle. When the report was submitted, an offer of settlement was made to the complainant based on the investigator’s report less the applicable excess under her policy. The complainant accepted the offer. However, she was unable to recover the excess.

Lessons Learnt

Although she was not the negligent party in the accident, the complainant was unable to recover her excess as there was no accident to report by another party.

Her insurers were therefore unable to recover any monies paid out to her under her comprehensive cover. Both the complainant and her insurance company were out of pocket by the excess amount and the settlement amount respectively. And, unfortunately, she would have to suffer the reversal of any no claim bonus she would have earned.