When you hire a car, do you read the small print? And do you know how large an excess you’ll be liable for if your rental car was damaged? It’s so easy to hire a car but far less simple to make sure you don’t get caught out with a massive credit card bill after your trip is over.
Even if any damage to the car is not your fault, you’ll still end up paying the excess. If you’ve ever claimed on your home or car insurance you’ll know that’s the sum of money you have to pay before the insurance kicks in. The difference is that where you’d normally pay tens or hundreds of pounds, a car rental company can charge you hundreds or even thousands before they pick up the tab. Sometimes the excess can cost more than the trip itself.
The solution is simple. Car hire excess insurance involves taking out a policy to cover the excess. You’ll pay upfront and be reimbursed by your insurers. It’s the simple way to enjoy stress-free motoring, but how do you get the best deal?
Get the right policy
The cost of your policy will depend on where you’re travelling to, and European cover is generally much cheaper than worldwide cover. If you’re looking to get the best deal on your excess insurance, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
– How often will I need insurance over the coming year?
– Will I be travelling exclusively in Europe?
– Am I likely to need cover for travel in the US?
– Will I be travelling somewhere dangerous or off the beaten track?
Depending on the answers, you can buy a single or annual policy that covers Europe or worldwide. Getting the right policy for the trips you intend to make can save you money in the long run.
Don’t buy from the rental company
It can be incredibly tempting to just grab a policy from your rental company as you head for the hotel. But these policies are a huge money-spinner for car hire companies and they can cost many times what you’d pay if you did a few minutes research ahead of time. In fact, the best way to save money on your car hire excess insurance is never to buy at the rental desk because those policies are more expensive and more restrictive than the policies you can buy elsewhere.
Remember, you don’t have to take out this type of insurance so don’t be pressured by the desk agent. And if you have arranged your own policy and they try and tell you it’s not valid, ask for that in writing – you’ll soon find your policy is just fine.
Buy from a third party insurer
Want to get the best deal on your excess insurance? Buy from a third-party insurer. You’ll find policies with great levels of cover for just pennies a day. Look for cover that includes misfuelling, lost keys and damage to vulnerable areas of the car that are excluded from rental firm insurance.
One word of caution: the car rental company will still expect you to have enough credit on your card for them to charge you an excess if any damage occurs. You can then make a claim on your policy so you’re not out of pocket.
The level of excess cover differs from insurer to insurer so it makes sense to shop around. Take time to compare what’s on offer and look out for the extras you need. For example, if you frequently hire a car in the UK, make sure that your excess policy will cover those trips.
At Excess Buddy, we make comparing standalone car hire excess insurance policies a breeze. We’ll help you to get the cover you need for the price you like every trip.