People often hire vehicles when travelling around the world. This way, they can conveniently access specific tourist attractions, and this is becoming much easier with the improvement in GPS technology. However, car rental companies will usually offer very expensive car hire excess insurance rates.
It is also possible to travel without this insurance, but you will end up suffering very high losses in case the vehicle gets damaged or lost. In order to solve this problem, you should purchase car hire excess insurance from third parties.
Are they worth it? Do you really need it? In this piece, we intend to cover everything you need to know about car hire excess insurance. We will also look at some of the top-rated insurance companies. Let’s start!
What is car hire excess insurance?
Car hire excess insurance is a cover that is meant for people renting vehicles, but it is not compulsory to take out this cover when hiring a vehicle. The insurance can be used by people who are driving in a single country or around the world. They allow you to reimburse you for the excess spent in the event of an accident with your rental vehicle. This can allow you to reduce your costs, or even eliminate the costs resulting from an accident.
What is an “excess” in car rental? How does it work?
An excess is the amount of money a tenant will have to pay if the rental vehicle is damaged or lost. This simply means that the rental company will not be liable for the entire amount.
💡 Car hire excess insurance is a cover that protects you from the excess costs you would be liable for in case your rental vehicle is damaged or stolen. Usually, the standard vehicle insurance policy does not protect you from these excess costs, so you will be liable to pay a share of the repair costs.
With excess car hire insurance, you would not have to pay this amount in case of damage or car loss since the insurance company will cover the cost. It’s worth noting that car hire excess insurance is optional and is not required by the law. Still, it can provide you with a sense of security as you travel. You will still need to come up with the funds early, but the insurance company will eventually reimburse your money.
The payment should be settled within a few days or weeks of sending in the claim, although some companies can be very slow. You should remember that the insurance is paid separately from the deposit of the car rental.
What does car hire excess insurance cover?
This car hire excess insurance policy covers many different issues. The main one is collisions, and this service would especially be important for people travelling abroad. This is because you will usually need to drive on unfamiliar roads. When purchasing the car hire excess insurance policy, you will need to indicate the people who will be driving the vehicle. In case an accident occurs when any of you are driving the vehicle, the company will cover the costs of the repairs.
The car hire excess insurance company will also cover the costs of replacing keys and locks, most of the time. Other issues covered in the car hire excess insurance policy include carjacking, road rage, mis-fueling of the vehicle, lockout charges, and drop-off charges.
Again, renters are not required by law to take out car hire excess insurance, but they will benefit significantly if they end up needing to pay excess fees. You can take time to evaluate the excess charges you would need to pay in case of a collision and determine whether or not you will be able to comfortably cover the costs without extra help.
What’s the difference with CDW and others cover protection?
CDW or collision damage waiver is meant to reduce the amount of money you have to pay in case of collision, and it covers the cost of damage during the rental period. CDW is not always obligatory but, very often, it is when you rent a vehicle, as in France or in Italy.
With CDW, you will have to pay the excess charges in case the car gets damaged. On the other hand, car hire excess insurance will pay the full amount for the damages, thus giving you some peace of mind during your trip. Another option is to take the LDW or loss damage waiver, and this covers the costs of losing the vehicle, as well as any damages. Still, you should remember that LDW will not cover the excess charges.
What are the offers?
When taking out car hire excess insurance, you will have to indicate the regions where you intend to drive the vehicle. You should remember that some companies do not offer covers in all countries. For example, WorldWide Insure does not apply when you visit Jamaica, Iceland, Dominican Republic, and Armenia.
You will also need to indicate your current residence, and this is the country where you have resided for the past six months. If you are planning to drive through multiple countries, you should select the first country you plan to visit. You also have to pick the region of hire, and this could be Europe or Worldwide.
The rates will vary depending on the places you choose to visit on your trip. The European cover costs less than the worldwide cover, and you will have the chance to purchase the standard or deluxe package. However, insurers often offer packages that include CDW and SLI. This can be interesting, compared to the price of insurance from rental companies.
With car hire excess insurance companies, you will be able to purchase single and annual covers. With the annual plan, you have to pick only one hire at a time, and the maximum number of days included in the package is 60~62 days. Still, this car hire excess insurance plan can cover any number of hires during the year. The single trip car hire excess insurance package covers only one rental, and in this case, a single day is calculated as a 24-hour period from the time of collection. You have to purchase car hire excess insurance before the vehicle is collected. People who travel multiple times throughout the year would get better prices if they go for the annual car hire excess cover.
Do I need car hire excess insurance? Is it worth?
There are various benefits of getting car hire excess insurance, and the main one is that you will no longer need to worry about paying excess fees in case of damage to your vehicle. You will find the cover worthwhile since your trip will be stress-free.
What are the benefits?
No one likes to imagine that they can have an accident, and we all want to believe that we will be safe throughout our trips. In most cases, you should be able to get back home with the car in perfect condition. However, it is possible that the car might get damaged as you adapt to different roads and driving rules. Also, statistics indicate that most car damages occur when the vehicle is unattended, so you can still end up with excess charges regardless of your driving skills and experience.
💡 With car hire excess insurance, you will no longer have to waste money in case of an accident. Your vacation will not end abruptly whenever you have an issue with the vehicle, and that means you will be able to enjoy the experience better.
It is also worth noting that there are many companies offering car hire excess insurance services, and that means you will always find interesting offers. This is better than getting a cover from the rental company since the car hire excess insurance companies engage in healthy competition.
What are the inconveniences?
Like any other forms of insurance, the car hire excess insurance cover may never need to be used, and in that case, you will have spent money on the cover for nothing. Still, it would be ideal to purchase the car hire excess insurance plan for the chance that the vehicle may be damaged. Also, taking out car hire excess insurance can sometimes be a problem if you are not comfortable with technology, since the whole process often goes through a digital route only.
In case of an accident, you will also have to collect a lot of evidence of the damage and accident. However, the documents requested are easy to obtain, so reimbursement is not a tedious process.
Are cars hired for business use covered?
Yes, it is possible to get a car hire excess insurance plan for business use. You should remember that the type of business use varies from company to company, so it is important to check the terms of the cover before purchasing. Most companies will only offer car hire excess insurance for short business trips. If you want to know if this is worth it for your situation, do not hesitate to request a quote.
How can you get the cheapest car hire excess insurance?
There are a number of factors that can help you get the cheapest car hire excess insurance, and we shall cover them in this section. Also, we will look at the methods used by insurance companies to calculate the cost of car hire excess insurance.
How to get Car Hire Excess Insurance?
There are many players in the car hire excess insurance industry, and these have some interesting offers. These include rental companies, insurance companies, and specialized car hire insurance companies. With a lot of competition in the industry, you should be able to find excellent deals, even without consulting an expert.
One of the best ways of finding cheap car hire excess insurance plans is to avoid buying covers from car hire companies. You will almost always get higher prices from these companies because they make their margins on it, so it would be better to work with insurance companies instead.
You should also consider your needs so that you can determine whether you should pick a daily or annual cover. A daily cover would be suitable for travellers who intend to hire a vehicle for just a few days in the year. On the other hand, an annual plan would suit travellers who intend to spend more than 30 days driving a rental vehicle.
Also, you will need to check the limits on the plans. With annual plans, you may find it better to go for higher limits. Although these may cost more money, they will provide sufficient coverage to ensure that you will not need to pay any amount in case of damage or car loss.
In some cases, car hire excess insurance companies will give you better deals if you purchase policies for multiple cars and multiple drivers at once. Similarly, some companies will give you better rates if you already have other policies with them. You will also be able to negotiate for lower rates if you are able to prove that you have maintained a safe driving record.
💡 You should also shop around for good car hire excess insurance deals long before your trip starts. This way, you will not have to rush through the process and will be able to find a cheaper plan. It is worth noting that insurance offered by third-party companies works with the vast majority of rental companies.
1️⃣ The main ones : rental cars companies
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to purchase CDW and car hire excess insurance from rental companies. You will usually be able to pay for the plan at the counter, as you rent the vehicle. However, you should remember that this option is usually costly and will usually cover you for theft and damage. Once you purchase this plan, you will no longer need to worry about the excess fees as they will be covered by the rental company.
Although car rental companies offer car hire excess insurance, renters will still be free to purchase plans from another company. Here are some of the top car rental companies that also offer car hire excess insurance:
2️⃣ Anothers big players : The insurance companies
You can also purchase car hire excess insurance from the big players of the industry, and these will usually offer excellent prices. Also, you will be able to purchase other insurance services from them. Here are some of the big players in the car hire excess insurance sector:
3️⃣ More specialized : The independent insurance
There are a few companies that specialize in fewer insurance products. These companies also offer excellent prices and will provide substantial coverage. Here are some of the top-rated standalone car hire excess insurance companies:
- Worldwide Insure
- Reduce my excess
- Chew Insurance
Which one got the best reviews?
When searching for excellent car hire excess insurance deals, you will need to go through reviews on third party websites. At the moment, the most reputable customer review website is Trust Pilot, and here are the Trust Pilot ratings for the different car hire excess insurance services:
|Reduce My Excess
(these notes are valid as of March 24, 2021)
CarHireExcess is highly rated because of its low rates and excellent cover. Also, many reviewers appreciate the straightforward nature of the car hire excess insurance service. Their customer service agents are knowledgeable and will answer all your questions without delays and inconveniences.
Worldwide Insure also has lots of positive reviews, and many of these focus on the quick handling of car hire excess insurance claims. Most negative comments about this company are from individuals who seem to have missed some steps in the claims process. In order to avoid such inconveniences, you should ask for clear instructions on how to make a claim on this car hire excess insurance company. Also, remember to send clear pictures and documents.
With iCarHireInsure, you will find several positive reviews of their mobile app. Many clients also enjoy the prompt responses from the customer service team. From the reviews at Trust Pilot, you will also note that the car hire excess insurance company has very good rates, and that can help you save money as you travel. A notable issue with iCarHireInsure is that the forms are very long, and some of the information on them can be confusing.
Insurance4carhire has also been noted to have an excellent support team, and claims at this car hire excess insurance company are handled within days. You just need to familiarize yourself with the process of making a claim, and after that, everything will be handled smoothly.
At the moment, Allianz has the lowest rating on Trust Pilot, and this is mainly because they frequently wiggle their way out of paying any claims. Also, the insurance company been noted to raise their prices randomly and without any explanation. Therefore, they can offer a poor experience for long-term users of the plans.
With AXA car hire excess insurance, you will get competitive quotes, although the website can be a little challenging to navigate. If you have trouble using the platform, you should contact the customer service team of the company.
Which one is the most interesting?
One of the most interesting car hire excess insurance service is WorldWide Insure. This company has some of the cheaper deals. On the Money Saving Expert forum, the car hire excess insurance company has been identified as one of the cheapest ones for shorter trips.
Nevertheless, we advise you to use specialized comparators or to do your own simulations insofar as it depends on your own needs.
How subscribe to a car hire excess insurance?
Subscribing to a car hire excess insurance service is quite simple, but the process will vary from one website to the next. Also, you should remember that some car hire excess insurance websites are easier to navigate. Firstly, you will have to visit the car hire excess insurance website, where you will need to add some details on your journey and car rental. Also, you have to indicate the countries you plan on visiting with the rental vehicle.
In order to take out the car hire excess insurance, you will have to be between the ages of 21 and 74. However, some car hire excess insurance companies will raise the limit to between 25 and 80 years. You should remember that the cover will have to be taken before you rent the vehicle.
The number of items covered will vary depending on the type of plan you choose.
Generally, these car hire excess insurance companies will exclude vehicles that do not meet certain standards (for example, vehicles that are too expensive or that go from 0 to 100 km / h too quickly). Also, you should remember that the claims will only be reimbursed if you meet the terms of your rental vehicle agreement. In many cases, the car hire excess insurance companies will also not cover interior damage, except in the event of a collision. This means the car hire excess insurance companies will not cover accidental interior damages or issues caused by animals.
Car hire excess insurance companies also restrict their services to specific countries, and the excluded countries will usually be listed on the company website. Depending on the car hire excess insurance company you choose to work with, motorhomes and campervans may be excluded or may have different charges. Exclusions may also apply to any vehicle with more than nine seats.
Car hire excess insurance companies have limits to the ages of vehicles that can be covered in their plans. For example, with many companies, you will not be able to take out car hire excess insurance on rental vehicles that are more than 20 years old, in relation to your place of residence and / or destination.
Why buy in advance?
Buying a car hire excess insurance plan in advance will give you an opportunity to compare prices as you will not need the plan urgently. Also, remember that companies will require you to take out the car hire excess insurance plan before you rent the vehicle.
What are my responsibilities for an excess on a car hire?
Your main responsibility in the contract would be to make sure only accepted individuals drive the vehicle. Many car hire excess insurance companies will allow you to list multiple drivers in one application, and these drivers will have to meet the conditions of the company.
⚠️ Of course, you must respect the general conditions of your contract and provide all the necessary documents requested in the event of a claim .
Car hire excess insurance is the only one, or there is some alternative?
There are some alternatives to car hire excess insurance, and one of these is the travel insurance cover. However, you should remember that travel insurance usually has a lower cover and may not cover the excess fees in case of an accident or damage. Also, travel insurance will usually incur extra charges for every driver listed on the plan. Car hire excess insurance is not calculated on a per person basis and will, therefore, be cheaper if you intend to list multiple drivers.
Travel insurance is mostly beneficial for people who need medical cover when travelling, but car hire excess insurance will primarily cover damage and loss of the vehicle (without removing the franchise).
Some credit cards also come with a special car hire excess insurance plan. With the American Express cover (AMEX), Visa or Mastercard, you will be able to make claims to the credit card companies if it gets damaged while you are driving. You will only qualify for this cover if you are the license holder in the rental car agreement.
What should I do if I want to make a claim?
Many car hire excess insurance companies allow their clients to claim by telephone or online. Usually, the online method is faster and is convenient for people claiming reimbursements away from their home countries.
When making your claim, you will have to provide a copy of your insurance certificate, a copy of your car rental agreement, and a copy of your credit card statement indicating that you covered the costs on your own. If the vehicle was damaged in an accident, you will also have to provide police reports. These reports will also be required in case your claim relates to stolen property. You will also have to provide a copy of the driver’s license of the lead named driver, as well as the driver who was involved in the accident.
⚠️ When you get into an accident, you should make sure you take pictures of the damage since these images would be required by the car hire excess insurance company. When taking these pictures, make sure you capture the number plates.
You should note that these claims have to be made after you pay for the damages, and the car hire excess insurance company will simply reimburse you for the expenditure. Many companies will require you to make the claims within 31 days of covering the costs.
How do I make a claim on my car hire excess insurance?
You don’t have to make any payments when making a claim for your car hire excess insurance. However, the car hire excess insurance company will require you to cover the costs first, and then you can provide the payment receipts as you make the claim.
What if your car hire excess insurance claim is rejected?
If your claim is rejected, you will have to contact the customer service team of the car hire excess insurance company and ask for a written explanation for their decision. You can then compare their explanation to the terms of the cover, and if you are still unsatisfied with the decision, you can escalate the matter to the complaints section of the car hire excess insurance company. In case the matter is still unresolved after eight weeks, you should escalate the issue to the Financial Ombudsmen Service. This service is free to use, and it will intervene and ensure that your issue is resolved.
It is possible that you may have breached the terms of the contract, and if this is the case, the company will not cover the excess costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to buy car hire excess insurance from my hire car company?
No, you will not be required to purchase car hire excess insurance from the rental company. In fact, it is advisable to forego this insurance as it is usually very expensive, but you should still find a good cover.
When and how could I receive a reimbursement?
You can receive reimbursement within days or a few weeks, but this entirely depends on the car hire excess insurance company you are working with. Some companies will be happy to delay the payment for a few months.
Can I get cover for a motorhome?
Most car hire excess insurance companies will avoid covering motorhomes, campervans, and any vehicles with more than nine seats. However, that does not mean that such vehicles cannot be covered by insurance companies; a number of notable services offer motorhome car hire excess insurance.
What are the requirements for car hire excess insurance in the USA and Canada?
One of the most important requirements for car hire excess insurance in the USA is that the individual has to be at least 21 years old. Still, many companies will require the drivers to be above the age of 25, and they should also not be above the age of 85.
Please also be careful because the CDW, necessary to be able to benefit from the repurchase of franchise, is not always obligatory in the United States.
Are other people travelling with me covered?
When you take out car hire excess insurance, you will have to name all the individuals who might drive the vehicle. All these individuals will be covered under a single plan, and you will not systematically need to pay an extra amount for each new driver.
I’m an annual policyholder. What happens at renewal?
The annual car hire excess insurance is ideal for individuals who travel multiple times every year. Once it expires, you will have to make a payment for the following year. Renewal is not automatic.
Do hire companies actually check driving licences?
Yes, car hire excess insurance companies have to check driver’s licenses to ensure that they are valid. Also, copies of these licenses will be required when you make your claim after suffering car loss or damage to the vehicle.
Why the country you normally reside in matters when you compare car hire excess insurance?
The cost of the car hire excess insurance plan will vary depending on your country of residence, and your options will also be limited if you hire the vehicle from your home country. In addition, some countries are not covered