Car hire companies are charging customers as much as five times more for insurance than third-party providers, new research by Which? has revealed.
- Which? launches campaign on issues in car hire industry, including insurance.
- A week’s excess waiver insurance in Spain costs £110 on average with car hire firms.
- Third-party insurance is significantly cheaper and also more comprehensive.
Holiday car hire continues to be a major source of frustration for consumers after a study highlighted the eye-watering price of excess insurance when bought at rental desks.
The research by Which? showed car hire companies charging an average of £110 for a week’s insurance in Spain, compared with the equivalent price online of £21.
The independent, not-for-profit charitable organisation also found a big difference in the quality of the cover. Its experts gave the top eight online standalone insurance providers a policy score of between 70% and 87%. The highest rated car hire provider managed 61%.
Car hire complaints
Which? says it gets more complaints from its members about sales tactics, unexpected charges and customer service in the car hire industry than any other travel-related service.
It recently joined forces with Telegraph Travel to highlight some of these issues, including the disproportionately high levels of excess insurance sold at rental desks.
Car hire excesses can be £2,000 or more, making a waiver policy essential if the customer is to avoid being stung with sky-high charges should the vehicle be damaged. But Which? says staff are bullying customers into buying a policy that can more than double the cost of the rental.
Based on hiring a Ford Fiesta at Malaga Airport, the research found that the £17 headline rental cost with one budget provider rose to £80 when excess waiver insurance was included. Another firm wanted £186.91 for insurance on top of the headline cost of £77.96.
Excess reimbursement insurance from online providers is cheaper and also more comprehensive. The cover usually includes damage to the windscreen, tyres and underbody of the car. But also covers other scenarios such as misfuelling or if you lose the keys. Which? said none of the car hire companies’ policies in its research covered all of this.
If you refuse the cover on offer at the rental desk, it will be standard practice for the rental firms to hold the excess on your credit card. If the rental company does not return this excess for whatever reason, you can claim on your insurance policy.
Compare and save on excess insurance today with excessbuddy.com.