When you hire a car, you usually get insurance as part of the rental price, but many car hire insurance policies impose an insurance excess of several hundred pounds.
The excess is the part of any insurance claim you must pay yourself, so if you cause any damage to your hire car or have an accident, you could potentially face some eye-watering bills.
However, it is possible to buy car hire excess insurance for a small additional premium to cover this cost. Here’s your guide to how car hire excess insurance works.
What your car hire insurance covers
The insurance you get when you hire a car will normally cover you in a similar way to a comprehensive car insurance policy would do in the UK. However, there are some differences:
- It normally has a large excess; several hundred pounds but it can be as much as £1,200 or more, which is the amount you have to stump up in the event of a claim. It’s possible to reduce this to zero, but you’ll pay daily fees to do this with an add-on policy.
- It doesn’t generally cover damage to the whole car; the roof, tyres, window and undercarriage of the car are usually excluded.
Don’t even think about hiring a car without taking care of the excess on the insurance policy unless you’re happy to pay a hefty bill should the worst happen. Some people have been charged several hundred pounds because they hadn’t taken out excess liability insurance and their car’s had a minor scratch. Be warned!
Buying car hire excess insurance
Shop around for car hire excess insurance in advance so you don’t have to sign up to the policy you’re offered by the car rental company. You don’t have to buy it from the company you’re hiring the car from. In fact, it will usually be considerably cheaper if you buy it from a specialist car hire excess insurance company. You’re also likely to get better cover as windows and tyres are usually included.
You can generally buy car hire excess insurance as an annual policy or to cover a single trip. If you want it for a single trip, it’s priced on a ‘per day’ basis.
We have looked at six companies that sell standalone car hire excess insurance. All sellers of this insurance have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We have looked at companies that are highly rated on the review site Trustpilot. We’re ranking them in alphabetical order:
Carhireexcess.co.uk sells both daily and annual car hire excess insurance. Its daily rate for Europe starts at £2.50, while an annual policy for Europe starts at £41.99. You can insure up to five additional drivers as long as they are between 21 and 84 years old and are listed on the rental agreement.
Direct-carexcess.co.uk sells both daily and annual car hire excess insurance. Its daily rate for Europe is £2.99, while an annual policy for Europe starts at £44.99. The policy covers drivers aged between 21 and 85. All named drivers on the car rental agreement will be covered.
Icarhireinsurance.com sells both single trip and annual car hire excess insurance. The policy covers drivers aged between 21 and 85 years old and up to nine additional named drivers on the car rental agreement. If you’re a member of a car club like Zipcar or Enterprise, you can also buy Car Club Excess.
Insurance4carhire.com sells annual car hire excess insurance policies. Its UK and Europe policy starts at £46.99. Its UK and Europe annual policy covers drivers aged between 21 and 85 years old and up to seven additional drivers named on the car rental agreement.
Moneymaxim.co.uk sells daily European policies from just £1.50 a day while an annual policy costs from £31.99. You can buy annual worldwide cover for £39.10. You can insure a wide range of vehicles from campervans to minibuses with up to 15 seats.
Questor-insurance.co.uk sells both single trip and annual car hire excess insurance policies. Its daily excess liability rate for Europe starts at £2.99, while annual policies for Europe start at £44.98.