Car Hire Insurance & Excess Explained

There are many publications jumping on the bandwagon and creating stories about hidden extras and retrospective charges made by car hire suppliers. The car hire industry is not without it’s flaws but this scaremongering is getting a little out of hand.

The first topic i would like to try and clear up for you is Car Hire Insurance. Insurance is mandatory for every vehicle driving on the roads in the UK and abroad. The insurance policies work in the same way as yours for your home, personal car or even mobile device.

Part of your rental cost is made up of your insurance premium usually listed as CDW or Collision Damage Waiver. This is fully comprehensive insurance that means, if you are involved in a traffic accident then you and the others involved are covered if it is your fault. If this were to happen then you would be liable for an Excess, as you would be if you were to claim on any other insurance policy such as the ones above.

This excess can be anything from £100 to £2000+ depending on the supplier you are using and the vehicle you are intending to hire.

That is the basics covered, you can drive away after paying your rental cost including CDW without having to pay any more (security deposit aside). You do have options to reduce your excess liability with most if not all suppliers. These are OPTIONAL services, only in very rare circumstances would reducing the excess amount be mandatory.

The Insurance Excess Is Too High

On the most part, insurance excess amount are high. What we need to understand here is that you are not just paying a nominal fee to drive a car around on holiday. You are renting a vehicle worth £10,000, £20,000 even £30,000 and more.

You do have options, if you would like a little peace of mind or reassurance that if you were to be involved an accident or damage was to be caused to the vehicle then you wouldn’t be liable for such a huge amount. You can reduce it, sometimes even remove it altogether.

Your first option is excess reduction aka Super CDW, Platinum Cover or something else along those lines. This is an ‘Extra Insurance’ for a daily fee of between £20 and £30 per day and means your excess will be greatly reduced or taken away altogether. This means that if damage to the car was to occur, then you would have a lower or zero liability. Obviously providing their terms and conditions are adhered to. EG, you didn’t take their Mini Cooper on the beach or up a mountain!!

The Excess Reduction Is Too Expensive

Your other option is an excess reimbursement policy. This is a totally separate insurance arrangement that you would arrange yourself and not with the rental company. You can arrange cover per day for a short trip or annual multi-trip cover for about £50. This works differently to the above ‘reduction policies’. In fact your liability to the car hire company will not change, you will still be liable to pay them the excess amount outlined on your rental agreement but you can then claim this amount back via your own policy.

Obviously there are different policies out there to consider and you should select the option that best suits your needs. if you have any questions about insurance excess and/or insurance protection policies then please contact one of our team today. We are here to help.

5 Tips To Help With Car Hire Insurance

1. Always read the terms and conditions of rental before signing the rental agreement, no matter how busy or how eager to get to the pool you are. Some insurance do not cover parts of the car like rubber and glass.
2. Always check the car with the rental agent and ensure ALL, no matter how small, damage is listed on the vehicle check out sheet.
3. Drive the car like you own it, not like a rental car. Look after it, do not smoke inside it.
4. If you are involved in an accident or the vehicle is damaged, do as you would do with your own car. Take details, photos, witness ect. Call the police if needs be and then report it to the rental company.
5. Always get the supplier to check for damage and sign the check in form to show no damage was present on return, if not it could bite you down the line.

Summary Of Phrases

Fully Comp | Fully Comprehensive Insurance | The insurance cover included with all rental vehicles, which covers damage, theft and 3rd party libility. This usually comes with and Excess.
Excess | The amount you are liable for in the event of an accident
CDW | Collision Damage Waiver | All rental cars have this included in the prices
SCDW | Super Collision Damage Waiver | A daily fee to reduce your liability (European term)
Super Relaxed | A daily fee to reduce your liability (Spanish term)
LDW | Loss Damage Waiver | All rental cars have this included in the prices (USA term)
SLDW | Super Loss Damage Waiver | A daily fee to reduce your liability (USA term)
Excess Reimburement | A seperate insurance policy to protect your excess amount