The true extent of consumer confusion surrounding excess waivers sold by car rental companies has been revealed in new research. The survey, carried out by YouGov on behalf of iCarhireinsurance.com, found that only 29% of hire car drivers knew what car hire excess was and one in five (19%) mistakenly believe they can only buy it from the rental company.
Excess cover is one of the most important considerations when hiring a vehicle, as driving without it can leave consumers vulnerable to hefty charges of up to £2,000 if the car is stolen or damaged, even if it's not their fault. Low cost, fully comprehensive independent policies are available if drivers buy in advance, but those that find themselves at the rental desk without cover have to pay an average of £17 a day for a rental company policy.
The survey found that;
- A sixth of hire car drivers (16%) bought it to be on the safe side even though they were not sure what it covered.
- More than a quarter (28%) thought car hire excess protected them from having to pay for damages, when unfortunately protection from rental desks often does not include damage to windows and tyres.
- 4% believed that excess cover protected them from charges such as speeding tickets and parking fines.
- A sixth (16%) admitted they were surprised to be offered this cover at the car rental desk as they assumed it was included in the price.
- While 6% admitted they bought because of pressure at the rental desk with 5% stating they were actually 'scared' into buying it.
Ernesto Suarez, founder of iCarhireinsurance.com said, "Our research has highlighted a worrying lack of knowledge about this form of protection. Rental desks seem to take advantage of this and can 'scare' drivers into buying their expensive and limited cover. Our policies can be bought online for only £2.99 a day, or £39.99 a year, so for excess insurance that covers ALL of the car, without any of the confusion the message is simple - Buy before you fly"