Matthew Ashton

Written by

Matthew Ashton

2 minute read

Updated 14th February 2024

When buying your home insurance policy, you can choose to pay a voluntary excess on top. This guide will help you to understand what voluntary excess is, and whether it’s a good choice for you.

In this guide:

What is voluntary excess on your home insurance?

Voluntary excess is an optional payment which you will pay if you make a claim on your insurance. This is paid on top of your compulsory excess, which is the amount you are required to pay in the event of a claim. 

At Stanhope, our standard policies start with £100 compulsory excess, and go up in increments of £100 up to a maximum of £1,000. 

Our high value home policies (premiums £3,000+) start with a £250 compulsory excess. It then goes up as follows:

  • £250
  • £500
  • £1,000
  • £2,000
  • £5,000
  • £10,000

Any amount that you choose over the £250 would be classed as your voluntary excess.

For our subsidence insurance, the excess is always fixed at £1,000. Voluntary excess does not usually affect the subsidence excess but it can do. Be careful to check your insurance schedule. 

Do you have to pay voluntary excess?

No, you don’t have to pay a voluntary excess – as the name suggests, it’s a voluntary addition to your policy. However, people choose to pay a voluntary excess, on top of their compulsory excess, to bring down the cost of their home insurance. 

How much voluntary excess should you pay on your home insurance?

You need to make sure that if you are adding a voluntary excess, you will be able to afford both the voluntary and compulsory excess in the event of a claim. 

We would advise you to choose a higher voluntary excess if:

  • You have a claims free history (no claims within 5 years).
  • The savings are greater than 50% of the increased excess. 

For example – if going from a £250 to £500 excess saves the prospect over £125, then we would recommend choosing this. In other words, take the guaranteed saving instead of the potential saving in the event of the claim.

Is voluntary excess worth it?

Voluntary excess can reduce the cost of your home insurance policy, and bring down your monthly payments. 

You should base the amount of voluntary excess on your disposable income – how much do you have saved in the event of an emergency? 

It’s always worth weighing up the pros and cons of paying less each month against paying more in the event of a claim. We would recommend taking financial advice if you are unsure about what you can afford. For example, we have clients willing to have a £10,000 excess as they are confident any damage up to that value can be repaired at their own expense. 

Further ways to bring down the cost of your home insurance policy

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Written by Matthew Ashton

I started working in the insurance industry in 2004. Four years later, I left to focus on theological studies, working as a youth worker and then as a ministry director in Seattle, USA. When returning to the UK, I had an opportunity to work for the late Andrew Marchington. I joined his firm as a sales advisor when it had around ten staff members. Within three years, I was Head of Ops with a staff team of over 30 people. After a chance encounter in 2019 with Rachel Living and Will Cooper, I co-started Stanhope to build a high-value home, luxury watch, and jewellery broker synonymous with trust. I love being with Donna, my wife, and four kids when not working, cramming in the odd row, or run when I can. I am fortunate to love what I do and consider it a blessing to grow the Stanhope brand.

Matthew Ashton

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