Navigating the World of Car Hire Excess Insurance: A Must-Have or Not?

What is car hire excess insurance?

In Europe, car rentals usually include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) insurance. In America, these insurances are essential but may not be included in the rental price. These policies cover damages, but they come with an “excess” fee – the amount you’re liable for in case of a claim. This fee can range from €500 to over €2,000, often exceeding the rental cost itself. Car hire excess insurance is designed to cover these potentially hefty excess fees.

The Necessity of Excess Insurance

It’s easy to think you won’t need it if you’re a cautious driver. However, many insurance claims involve incidents where the car was parked or left unattended. Small damages like a lost wing mirror or minor scrapes can lead to unexpectedly high repair costs. Without excess coverage, you might be responsible for these significant costs.

Cost of Excess Coverage

Delaying the purchase of car hire excess insurance can be expensive. Buying this waiver at the rental counter can cost up to £150 per week. In contrast, arranging an independent policy online in advance can be as low as £3.49 per day. Frequent travelers might find annual policies more economical, starting at about £41.99 for European trips.

Benefits of Independent Policies

Many rental desk policies don’t cover tyre and windscreen damages, which are common claim areas. Independent policies often include these, offering better protection. Also, these providers are typically regulated, adding a layer of consumer confidence.

Understanding Standalone Excess Insurance

This insurance works on a reimbursement model. You pay the excess to the rental company in case of damage and later claim it back from your insurance provider. It requires a credit card with sufficient balance for a deposit at pickup.

Rental companies may question the validity of independent policies, but their acceptance isn’t necessary. The insurance works on reimbursement regardless. If challenged, request a written statement or document their objections. They often back down from such claims.

In summary, consider getting excess insurance online before renting a car. It can save you from aggressive sales pitches upon arrival and provide peace of mind, potentially saving you money.

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