Have you ever hired a car and then had to pay a whopping excess because of damage you couldn’t even see? Understanding what car hire excess is will help you to find the best ways to avoid having to pay out in the future.
What is car hire excess?
When you insure your home or car, you will almost invariably agree to pay an excess if you should ever need to make a claim. The same applies to car hire insurance. Although you’re covered for theft and damage, you’ll also be expected to pay an excess and that’s where the problems start; rental car insurance excess can run into thousands.
There can be huge discrepancies between the excess charged by different rental companies so it’s worth shopping around.
How do I know what excess I’m liable for?
The next time you book a car, take the time to check the insurance details. These should be easy to find on the rental car website, usually listed under Important Information. You should then be able to pinpoint the excess amount.
One thing to remember is that the excess is not the same as the deposit. The car rental company will block off an amount for the deposit when you book the car and release it when you return the car, damage-free. If there are signs of damage then the excess will be charged.
So how can you avoid paying car hire excess charges?
Take out car hire excess insurance
The hands-down best way to avoid paying huge car hire excess charges is to cover yourself with an additional insurance policy. Car hire excess insurance is designed to reimburse you in the event of the rental car company charging you an excess that could amount to thousands for a minor scratch.
Instead of paying these excessive and often unexpected charges, a single trip or annual policy can protect you when driving in Europe or worldwide.
Don’t buy at the desk
Buying excess insurance is the number one tip for avoiding excessive charges. Just don’t buy direct from your rental company. Arm yourself with a low-cost policy before you turn up to collect your vehicle and then conduct a thorough inspection with a member of staff, taking videos and photos as necessary. You’ll still be expected to pay the deposit but any excess will be reimbursed by your third party insurance.
The problem with buying at the desk is that you can expect to pay up to 10 times more for insurance that doesn’t provide the cover you need. Vulnerable areas of the car such as windows, tyres and undercarriage are most likely to show signs of damage and many car rental policies don’t cover them.
Try a car hire excess insurance comparison site
When you’re looking for car hire excess cover, start with a specialised comparison site such as Excess Buddy. You’ll find single trip and annual policies for Europe and Worldwide with cover starting from as little as a few pennies a day; much less than that new pair of must-have sunglasses.
You’ll also have the opportunity to compare the cover on offer. You’ll definitely want to include cover for windscreen, mirrors, tyres and undercarriage but you can also add cover for lost keys and misfuelling which can cost you a small fortune. There’s no doubt that taking the time to get the best policy for your trip could help save you a substantial sum of money, especially if you do get charged for a minor scrape.
Let ExcessBuddy be your travelling companion
At Excess Buddy, we help you to find the best car hire insurance policies so you can travel with complete peace of mind. We work with a panel of top insurers to get the best car excess cover for you, whether you’re travelling on business in Europe or on the road trip of a lifetime across the USA.