How can you conveniently travel from one place to another when you have no car? Well, car rental companies come in handy in many situations or circumstances. Particular situations require you to rent a car. You may be too far from your car or not own one. In other cases, you are waiting for it to be repaired and urgently need to travel to another place. This is where car hire companies step in to help you move around comfortably and conveniently. While you are comfortably driving around, there are so many things that could go wrong. Accidents happen, and cars might get wrecked. As such, you need to have car hire excess insurance to help you in such unfortunate scenarios.
Usually, rental companies pull down their prices to make profits on insurance, which brings in the value of having a car hire excess insurance policy. After reading this article, you will understand what car hire excess insurance is and how it works. Let’s explore all this in an in-depth manner.
What Is Car Hire Excess Insurance?
💡 Car hire excess insurance is an insurance policy where you have little or no rest after accident with any rented vehicle damage. Depending on the car hire excess insurance, it may also be referred to as excess waiver insurance. While car rental companies have insurance for the cars, they will require you to pay for any damage that occurs while the car is in your hands.
Sometimes the charges can be as low as £100 to as high as £1000 regardless of whoever’s fault it was. To avoid all these problems, one should get car hire insurance before hiring a car.
What is an “excess” in car rental? How does it work?
In car rental companies, ‘excess’ refers to the amount of money that a renter is responsible for in case of any damage or loss of the car. It can also be referred to as the ‘Deductible’ depending on the company in question. The ‘excess’ may include fire, vandalism, theft, and the loss of use depending on the car hire company.
All the terms and conditions of the ‘excess’ are outlined in a renter’s car rental agreement.
If the car gets any damage, you will be required to pay an excess to cover the damages. To avoid these issues, you need to get car hire excess insurance. The insurance protects you from any excess that you will be required to pay in the event of an accident or misfortune to the car. The renter does not always pay full excess if there is a problem.
If remediating the damage is £200, the renter will only pay £200 regardless of whether the excess is £1000 or £3000. If CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) is in place, you may still have to pay some money to the car rental company.
What does car hire excess insurance cover?
The car hire excess insurance coverage depends on the type of insurance, as well as the insurer. Usually, if you take out a stand-alone car hire excess insurance before travelling, you will pay a fee for the daily or annual rates. Often, the fee will cover any damage to the most vulnerable parts of the car, such as the wheels, tyres, windscreen, roof, and undercarriage.
You will also get a cover for other mishaps such as losing the car keys or accidentally misfuelling the car. You should inspect the car before leaving the rental car company’s premises and ascertain its conditions. You may also take some photos for proof of any issues.
For you to benefit from this coverage, you must be not less than 21 years and not more than 85 years of age. The car in question must not be more than ten years old. The other terms will be as stipulated in your car rental agreement. While you don’t need to take out car hire excess insurance cover, it is a great idea to protect you from any excess charges in unfortunate scenarios.
If a CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) cover is involved, you may still have to pay some money to the car rental company.
What’s the difference between CDW and other car hire excess insurance?
Various insurance coverages come into play when car hire excess is involved. You will hear terms such as CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), LDW (Loss Damage Waiver), and SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance). A CDW coverage covers your rented car in the case of an accident. On the other hand, LDW will cover theft protection and CDW and cover your car replacement if your car is stolen during your rental period.
⚠️ While in most countries, TW (theft) and CDW are packaged together, they are purchased differently in the USA and Canada. Let’s further explore these waivers.
What is CDW car hire excess insurance, and do you need it?
The rental car company often offers coverage and will cover any exterior car damages or loss. It is often given along with LDW. With this, you do not have to pay to repair or replace the vehicle. Nevertheless, these waivers include a deductible or excess that you will have to pay. As such, you should get third party coverage for your rental car so that you avoid using your money to pay for these charges.
It is important to know that LDW and CDW will not cover you if the damages stretch to another car or if the accident results in injuries.
What is SLI car hire excess insurance, and do you need it?
This coverage will come in handy when the damage stretches to other people’s property. It will cover damages to the other parties’ car or cars and the medical costs that factor in an accident that you are legally responsible for. If you feel that your liability coverage is too low, you should always purchase the SLI coverage. Protecting yourself from liability always come in handy in any instance.
What is the car hire excess insurance offer you can get?
Are you looking for suitable car hire excess insurance? Well, finding great car hire excess insurance depends on a lot of things, including your location, type of car, and desired level of coverage. Depending on the car hire excess insurance you take, you may get annual or daily coverage. It is important to know that many companies in the field have practically the same offers. Some countries may not be covered while others are covered, and this also affects the charges.
Players in Europe can take out a cover for the UK and Europe, while people in other areas can take out worldwide covers. Depending on the rental period, you can take the annual or single policy. The coverage will also depend on whether you will be using the car abroad, as well as the existing travel restrictions.
As you take out the car hire excess insurance, you must know the countries covered and those that are not covered. Usually, this information is found in the ‘terms and conditions’ clause of the provider.
Alternatively, you can give the insuring provider a call and ask whether you are covered in a foreign country. The policy you choose solely depends on your needs.
Before making a final choice, you should visit at least three insurance providers’ websites and check what works best for you. Each will offer you a quotation for annual and daily policies, and you can then select. You can also visit a comparator website.
How to Choose the Right Car Hire Excess Insurance Policy
Before taking out an insurance policy, there are a few things that you should assess, and they include:
- The claim limits available and whether they are enough to cover your excess
- The cost of the policy and whether they are lesser than your excess
- The period of the car hire excess; daily or annual
- The presence of worldwide coverage and the places one can visit
- The inclusions for the insurance according to the different companies
- The exclusions viable for the car hire excess insurance coverage
- Your needs and preferences
Do I need a car hire excess insurance? Is it worth it?
Once you have decided to rent a car, you should consider several factors. Firstly, you must be careful to protect yourself from any liability, just like you would if the car were yours. Getting the right car hire excess insurance is worthwhile. You get to drive without the worry of liability in case of accidents, damages, and injuries.
In case any type of damage occurs, you will save a lot of money that could have otherwise been spent in excess payments.
💡 Most companies require that you buy the insurance before you begin your travels. During your initial consultation session, the company representatives will let you know the amount that you are eligible for in the form of coverage, depending on the car hire excess insurance you take out. Some offers can take care of the whole amount.
Confirm all these things before you sign the agreement.
What are the benefits?
Accidents happen every day. Having car hire excess insurance is essential in every country. While the compliance terms differ, every car owner must have car hire excess insurance to protect themselves and other road users from liability in an unfortunate turn of events. When renting a car, the car rental company usually has car hire excess insurance, but it may be inadequate.
In case of an accident, the rental company will require that you pay for the damage above their limit, often referred to as an ‘excess.’ To protect yourself from the excess, you should acquire car hire excess insurance. It will cover you in the event of an accident, car damage, or car loss. Here are some of the benefits of having a car hire excess insurance.
1️⃣ You get peace of mind
There is nothing that measures up to the peace of mind that one gets knowing that they are not liable for any damages or expenses that come into play in the event of accidents. Accidents can disorient your financial, mental, and physical state. Regardless of the events that happen, you know that you will be covered.
2️⃣ You get quick roadside breakdown and recovery services
Cross-country travels and trips can be risky. As you travel in your rental car, you need the assurance that you can get help regardless of the time you have the misfortune. Some policies will cater to breakdown and recovery provisions. You eliminate the hassle of finding a suitable recovery service at that dire time of need.
3️⃣ You benefit from the personal accident cover
Depending on the car hire excess insurance coverage that you take out, you may get a personal accident cover. Since most car rental services do not cover injuries to the driver, getting third party car hire excess insurance coverage will sort this. While this is a benefit, it is not always included in the covers. Check whether your cover provides you with a personal accident cover.
4️⃣ You comply with the legal requirements
When you rent a car, you need to have the correct car hire excess insurance credentials to drive around in any city. Car hire excess insurance helps you comply with the legal requirements of the particular jurisdiction you are in. Ensure that you get the right type of coverage that will cater to every eventuality you may be met with.
5️⃣ You pay zero excess
What’s better news than this? In case of an accident, you will not be paying any excess fees when you have your car hire excess insurance if it is full coverage. You not only get to save money but also drive stress-free to your required destinations.
6️⃣ You cover the drivers
Car hire excess insurance covers a number of drivers for a rental. Some may cover nine to twenty drivers, as long as you listed them as drivers in the car rental agreement. Since each insurance company has different requirements, you should check the ‘Terms and Conditions’ clause to know more.
7️⃣ No distance restrictions
Most car hire excess insurance providers have no restrictions to where you can travel. If they have restrictions, they will outline them in the ‘Terms and Conditions’ clause. If you pick a European cover, you can travel to the UK and across Europe, except for a few mentioned territories. You will be covered home and away.
8️⃣ You can choose from a wide range of providers
There are so many car hire excess insurance service providers available near you. Each of them offers different rates for their coverage plans. You can always select what you can comfortably afford.
9️⃣ You can never predict the future
No one knows what will happen in the next minute, leave alone in the next few days. When you rent a car, you will always be held liable for any damages caused to the car when it is under your care. It does not matter whether it was your fault or not. In order to prevent such things or instances, you must get car hire excess insurance to cover you in such unfortunate times.
Whether you are a good driver or not, you may be unable to control some situations such as hailstorms or animal accidents. It would also be out of your control if someone stole part or the entire car. Protect yourself and enjoy your car rental.
What are the inconveniences?
Car hire excess insurance makes a lot of things simpler and convenient. In case of car damage, accident or unfortunate eventualities, you will pay zero excess fees. The premiums are usually very low but come in handy in misfortunes. But what are the major downsides of having a car hire excess insurance?
- The biggest disadvantage of buying a car hire excess insurance is that it could cost you a lot of money. This mostly happens when you hire the car and nothing happens, or if you get no problems. However, given that you can never predict the future, it is a worthwhile expense.
- Car hire excess insurance adds paperwork as several steps are required in order to get your reimbursement in case of eventualities. You need to fill out all the necessary documents to get paid.
- If the hired car gets damaged, you might have to make two claims. While the car hire company handles major claims, you will be involved in it to smoothen the process. Once this is done, you will have to make a second claim in order to get your excess chargeback or compensated.
- Some offers only partially cover the costs. Pay close attention to the offers that are interesting!
Are cars hired for business use covered?
The answer is ‘yes.’ However, this is entirely dependent on the company that you go to for the insurance. Some companies will cover business cars, thanks to other offers for professionals or not, while others will not. It is crucial that you first confirm and know the terms involved in the car hire excess insurance coverage. This is because the type of business use covered varies between companies.
Always read the terms before purchasing any policy. However, if you are still unsure whether you will be covered, you can give the company a quick call and get a solid answer. The company representative will guide you on this. Even more, they will let you know the available discounts and benefits that you may be eligible for.
How can you get the cheapest car hire excess insurance?
Getting the right and cheapest car hire excess insurance can be a daunting task, especially when it is your first time. In order to find the best and cheapest deals, you can begin by checking different sites and comparing the deals online. Most companies clearly outline their services and charges on their websites.
You can always read the information on their sites or fill out a contact form to enquire about all the things you want to.
It can be difficult to calculate the rental car’s true cost and the type of damage you will be covered for. However, on most car hire excess insurance websites, you can always feed your data into their systems, make a claim, and get reimbursed for any excess charges. They are professionals and will help you out quickly.
How much does it cost?
Different companies have different rates for their services. The cost will be dependent on the policy, location, and time. For example, if you are in Europe, you will use the European cover. This will be different from a person using a worldwide cover. If you are on a daily cover, then that will be different from the annual coverage.
Other companies have packages usable for people in the USA and Canada (not classified as worldwide covers). For you to get a precise price for the car hire excess insurance, you need to factor in all these aspects.
It depends on the company, but count between £ 2-4 for European coverage and £ 6-8 for international coverage.
You may also be eligible for promotion codes that instantly reduce your spending on car hire excess insurance. Most companies have promotions for particular seasons or periodically to entice their potential clients. You can take advantage of these promotion codes and pay less for your car hire excess insurance package.
How to get Car Hire Excess Insurance?
You do not have to struggle to get your coverage. This is because there are so many providers in the market, and you can choose whichever you wish depending on the services you want. Here is the catch; some offer more interesting offers while others have fewer options.
You can get your car hire excess insurance from car rental companies, car hire excess insurance companies, or other specialised and expert insurance companies. Before you engage any provider, it is crucial to check what you want and the length of your rental period.
💡 Here’s some tips to get cheaper car hire excess cover
1️⃣ Shop around for the best deals
You must shop around for the best deals. Usually, companies display information on their rates and services on their websites. You can check and compare this information in order to get the best deals. Discounts and promotions make a huge difference in the overall cost of the car hire excess coverage.
2️⃣ Read reviews about your selected car hire excess coverage provider
Reviews have always been a great tactic to know more about a service provider. Most companies have understood the value of customer feedback and have incorporated a review section on their websites. As such, verified clients can leave reviews to enlighten other potential clients.
In these reviews, people will narrate their experiences with the particular companies and mention whether they would recommend the companies. After reading them, you know what to expect should you hire the particular car hire excess provider. Take your time and read as many reviews as you can.
3️⃣ Ask your friends and family
Do you have friends and family who frequently rent cars? Talk to them and find out which car hire excess insurance coverage they took. They will give you recommendations on their preferred companies. Once you have this info, use it as a baseline and get into research. You need to do your due diligence and understand how the selected companies operate.
4️⃣ Carefully assess the price
Cheap and expensive are relative terms; what you find cheap might be expensive to another person. As such, you need to individually assess the price of the car hire excess insurance premium payments and determine whether you can afford them. Some providers also offer incredible discounts to their clients, which lowers the entire cost of the car hire excess insurance plan.
5️⃣ Check online sources
Your online sources also matter a lot when it comes to helping you get cheaper options. Any information you need will be in the terms of the website. Take your time and read through it to avoid any hidden charges. Once you are done with this clause, you can check the articles online comparing different car hire excess covers. It is a great way to know about the company you are about to engage with.
How to subscribe to a car hire excess insurance?
Different companies have different subscription processes. The most common one is that you must take out insurance before picking your car from the rental company. For you to be eligible for the car hire excess insurance, most companies start you off from the quotation process.
You will first choose your desired type of car hire excess insurance, the period in which the insurance should run, your place of residence, as well as the expected travel destination. During this time, they will require your date of birth and other personal details. Once you add your date of birth, they will determine whether you are eligible for the policy.
Most of them only allow policyholders over the age of 21, with some specific cases stating that only users between 25 to 80 can get the policy. A client will then key in their preferred travel destination for quote generation. Once you have the quotation, you can then subscribe to the car hire excess insurance if you feel that the terms are friendly. Remember that the subscription procedures depend on the company.
⚠️ In most cases, the restrictions or exclusions of the car hire excess insurance policy are written in the contract agreement. The car hire excess insurance policy differs from one company to another. However, most car hire excess insurance policies exclude:
- Losses from accidental damage to the rental vehicle’s interior or contents caused by wear and tear or carriage of animals.
- Cars more than ten years old
- Cars with more than nine seats
- Drivers under 21 or over 85 years
When is the best time to get Excess Insurance?
Now that you have decided to travel, the first thing that you should think about is your car hire excess insurance. Here are instances that are most suitable for the purchase:
- Before you hire your car: Most companies will not cover you if you purchase the car hire excess insurance after picking up your hire car. Once you decide to travel, you should make plans to pay for the car hire excess insurance. Buying early will also give you a chance to make amends if the policy has some issues.
- Before you travel: Buy the insurance package before you travel. Most companies allow you to purchase a policy just before you pick up your hire car. However, in order to get the widest range of policies and options, you should run a quote with several companies at least three days before you leave home. This solely depends on the company as some will not allow you to purchase on the day of the hire. Others will not allow you to purchase policies while you are abroad. Besides the peace of mind of knowing that you have the car hire excess insurance, booking in advance has no major benefits.
Buying your car hire excess insurance is a great way to safeguard all your travelling adventure via a hire car. You should buy the car hire excess insurance in advance to avoid the inconveniences that come with rush hours. Additionally, you will get enough time to go through your policies and make the relevant adjustments.
What are my responsibilities for an excess on car hire?
Car hire excess insurance has very few requirements. The company will want you to read the terms and conditions and agree to them. By checking the ‘I agree to these terms and conditions’ box, you bind yourself to the provided contract. You are expected to pay your premiums as expected without failure, respect all the terms and conditions, and provide the required paperwork in the event of accidents or problems. These are simple obligations that anyone can fulfil.
Car hire excess insurance is the only one, or there is some alternative?
While car hire excess insurance is a great way to protect yourself when eventualities hit while on a hire car, there are some other options that you can explore. You can use travel insurance or AmEx insurance. Like the car hire excess insurance companies, each has its particular terms and conditions that you must abide by. It is better to be safe than sorry.
What should I do if I want to make a claim?
Claiming your car hire excess insurance is never a hectic process, but you must have all the required documents. While the requirements differ from one company to another, here are some of the general items that you will be required to provide in order to get your claim processed and how to make a claim. Remember that lack of any of these documents could make the process even longer.
- A copy of your insurance certificate
- A copy of your car rental agreement
- A copy of the law enforcement or police report to prove the damage occurred
- A copy of the car rental company’s accident damage or breakdown report to clearly show the detail of the cost
- Invoices and receipts to show the amount you paid for the accidental damage or loss
- A copy of your credit card statement showing the payment for the damages claimed. This is also the bank card where your money will be deposited.
- A copy of your driving license or the person involved in the accident
⚠️ You should claim within 30 days for it to be valid. However, you should confirm with your selected insurer for a more accurate deadline. Some companies will have a full page in the policy details giving a step by step explanation of how to go about the process. The best way is always to make a claim as soon as the damage occurs, and you should have all these documents ready.
How do I make a claim on my car hire excess insurance?
Most companies do not charge customers for claiming an excess in the car hire excess insurance. Once you have all the above documents ready, you should contact your car hire excess insurance provider and give them information about the claim. They will then require you to submit a claims form attaching all the required documents. Depending on the provider, you may have to send the form through email or post. Others have an online system to process claims.
The company will then assess the claims and payouts through your attached credit or debit cards. Most companies process your payment as soon as possible. It is important to note that companies have no cap on the number of times you can make a claim, as long as it is within your car hire excess insurance policy. As long as the claim is valid, they will pay.
What if your car hire excess insurance claim is rejected?
In the unlikely event that your claim is refused by your car hire excess insurance company, they will give a reason as to why this happened.
If, after receiving the reason, you still feel that your claim was unfairly rejected, you can call the provider and request a written explanation on the matter. If you are still unsatisfied with the response, you should proceed to issue a written complaint to your provider.
⚠️ Now, if nothing has worked after eight weeks, you should refer the issue to the ‘Financial Ombudsman Service’. The service is usually free and is not affiliated with any business provider. As such, they can push your car hire excess insurance to pay your excess after checking the claim.
Here are the frequently asked questions about car hire excess insurance and answers.
Do I have to buy car hire excess insurance from my hire car company?
No, you do not have to purchase from your car hire company. You can purchase a car hire excess insurance cover from any car hire excess insurance.
Can I get cover for a motorhome?
You can get a cover for your motorhome or campervan, depending on the policy that you purchase. To be sure, you need to consult the insurance offers from the company.
What are the requirements for car rental insurance in the USA and Canada?
Most car rental insurance companies in the USA and Canada will require you to be of legal age. In addition, basic insurance (CDW, TW …) are not included in your rental contract: be careful!
Are other people travelling with me covered?
Depending on the company you go to, the people travelling with you may be eligible for the cover. You will also be required to name all the drivers that will drive the car.
Do hire companies actually check driving licences?
Most car hire companies verify your driving license before processing your request. It helps them know whether you are qualified to drive in the given jurisdiction. They may also check your driving record before giving you the keys to the car.
Does my policy cover all car rental companies?
That may not always be the case. it is rare that a rental agency is not eligible.