If you have ever hired a car before – in this country or anywhere else in the world – you are going to be aware of the often very high excess typically incorporated into the rental company’s car hire insurance package.
In their publication entitled “What you should know about renting a car in Europe in 2016”, car rental agents for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Gemut.com issue a two-fold warning:
- the amount of the excess (or “deductible” in US parlance) may be very high indeed, usually between US$1,000 and US$3,000; and
- the cost of protecting that liability with many car rental companies’ excess insurance packages adds a significant daily charge to the cost of hiring your car.
The awkward conclusion you might draw, therefore, is that yes you probably do need hire car excess insurance (as a defence against a possible US$3,000 or more than £2,000 liability), but still have to pay a hefty price for that necessary protection.
There is a solution
Having recognised that you might do well to arrange excess insurance protection, the good news is that the cover is available at a considerably more competitive rate from independent, UK-based providers, such as Bettersafe, who are able to offer potentially more comprehensive cover with greater value for money – research conducted by Bettersafe, for example, suggests that you might need to pay more than £30 a day for excess protection sold by some of the leading car rental chains.
This may be purchased simply and quickly online by payment of a single premium, providing excess protection throughout your car hire period abroad. The price of those premiums reflects the different risks likely to be faced in various parts of the world, so that you pay choose the region to which you are travelling and pay the appropriate rate for those countries only.
If you have an accident or the car is stolen and you are then charged an excess, you simply claim reimbursement of that cost once you have arrived back home – so you need to remember to bring the supporting document relating to the incident home with you.
Standalone excess insurance from these independent providers is also likely to offer more extensive cover, which, unlike many of the products sold by the car rental companies themselves, does not exclude damage to areas of the vehicle such as the undercarriage, wheel, tyres, windows and roof.
Provided that the drivers are aged between 21 and 85 years, it is also generally possible to include these additional drivers under the same excess insurance protection policy.
If you are a frequent traveller, you might make even further savings by arranging annual, multi-trip excess insurance protection. On a trip by trip basis, this is likely to prove still more economical that arranging cover for just one period of car hire and, of course, you then have the peace of mind in knowing that any liability for paying high excess charges is safely protected however often you go abroad and need to hire a car.