Almost a third (32%) of car hirers are unaware that if they damage their hire car they must pay the first part of the claim; an excess of up to £2000*.

In a survey of over 2000 UK car hirers commissioned by iCarhireinsurance, 60% of respondents told us they were confused by the jargon used by rental companies to explain their insurance offerings. This is leaving travellers at risk of losing a significant sum of money in the event their hire car is damaged or stolen.

According to a European study of car hire costs this autumn, rental companies charge on average approximately £22** a day for excess waiver insurance. This is over six times as much as a policy from us, with premiums starting from as little as £3.99 a day and £31.92 for a week’s cover.

Take Faro in Portugal as an example. To hire a car there during the upcoming October half-term (21-28 October) costs £149 with Budget, but the excess is over £2300. This means the hirer is looking at footing the bill up to this amount should they damage the hire car.

To take up Budget’s full excess waiver cover costs 36.57 a day, broken down into the super excess waiver policy (£119), super theft waiver (£125) and tyre and windscreen cover (£12). A total cost of £256. An policy covers all of these elements including the most vulnerable parts of the car; the undercarriage, tyres and windscreen.

The survey also revealed that only 46% of car hirers buy excess insurance and 37% buy it from the rental company themselves, rather than from an independent specialist where significant savings can be made. Some of the reasons given for not buying excess cover include it’s a waste of money (26%), too expensive (23%), didn’t know they were liable (21%) and thinking they were unlikely to cause damage (21%).

Ernesto Suarez, CEO and founder of said: Cars are increasingly high-tech, making not buying excess protection a risky business for car hirers. It doesn’t take much damage to reach the excess limit. Buy car hire excess insurance direct from a specialist such as ourselves and save on average £120** a week

*, a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, surveyed the cost of hiring a medium compact car* in four destinations, Tenerife, Faro, Larnaca and Barcelona from 21 to 28 October 2017, compared to hiring two weeks later from 4 – 11 November 2017. Six rental companies’ costs (i.e. Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar and Enterprise) were researched.

In Faro, Avis charges an excess cost of £1939, Budget’s excess is £2385 and Hertz’s excess is £1846.

**Across all destinations, super damage waiver cost on average £97, super theft waiver £30 and tyre and windscreen excess cost £27. A total of £154, making an average daily rate of £22.

Disclaimer: All prices contained in this article were correct on the original date of publication. Prices may change over time, so for current prices, please get a quote.