If you’ve ever hired a car, you’ll be familiar with the expensive add-on extras that can go with it. The problem is that after a long day travelling, we’re all guilty of skipping the proper vehicle body checks or ensuring that we have the correct insurance cover because we’re desperate to get to our destination.
For most of us, finding the best deal for car hire doesn’t automatically involve finding a better alternative to the hire company’s expensive car hire excess insurance. Once at the hire desk, you realise you need excess cover since if you don’t have it and you have a prang, you can end up paying thousands. So you sign on the dotted line. It really doesn’t have to be this way!
What is car hire excess Insurance?
When you hire a car, you’re required to have collision damage waiver insurance so you won’t have to pay if there’s any damage to the hire car. The problem is that the excess on the policy can run into thousands and if the hire company offers you additional excess insurance, it’s usually stupidly expensive and coverage is variable.
Is it really necessary?
It’s tempting to believe that, because you’re a careful driver, accidents won’t happen. But if vandals pinch your car stereo in St Sebastian or your windscreen blows thanks to loose chippings in Cremona, you’ll have to pay for the damage. Car rental companies may have come in for a lot of bad press recently for inflating minor repair charges into the thousands, but if you’ve taken out car hire excess insurance you won’t be out of pocket.
Do I have to buy from the car hire company?
No you don’t. In fact, you’ll find cheaper – and better – coverage when you shop online. For example, most rental car damage is to windscreens and tyres and some car hire company policies won’t cover that type of repair. Buying independently means you can get the level of cover you need at a more competitive price. In fact, standalone policies can be up to 65% cheaper than those that car hire companies typically offer. And if you’re a regular traveller you can opt for an annual policy that saves you even more money.
Any other benefits?
By buying your policy in advance, you’ll avoid the hard sell at the airport which can only be a good thing if you’re travelling with the family. You’ll also have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered before you even pick up your keys. That way you’re not under pressure to buy a costly policy or check the terms and conditions. You can also explore a greater range of cover options, not only for Europe, but the USA and the rest of the world. Whether you need single trip or annual cover, there are savings to be had.
Anything else I should know?
Don’t let your car rental company tell you that your policy is invalid – this simply isn’t true. That’s because your insurance works on a reimbursement model so the insurer is covering you, the customer, not the rental company. And because this type of policy is not compulsory, you can point out that you don’t have to buy it at all. If you find that the car hire representative is unwilling to budge, ask them to make a written or recorded statement that you are required to take out their insurance.
Before your next weekend away or family holiday, why not check out our car hire excess insurance. It can save hours of haggling at the rental desk so you can enjoy peace of mind during your time away.