Travellers hiring cars in Europe face escalating excess charges of up to £1500*1, if the vehicle is stolen or they have an accident, and feel rental companies try to scare them into buying excess (waiver) insurance, according to a new survey.
Almost a third of those who have rented a car (31%), surveyed by YouGov, think that car rental companies use the threat of holding the excess amount on their credit card, that they are liable for, to scare them into buying their excess insurance.
The research, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, also found that almost one in four (24%) have felt pressured to buy it direct from the rental desk, which can double their final bill.
For example hiring a compact car in Tenerife for a week*2 this summer with Hertz costs £108.77, then customers can either pay for Hertz' excess policy, another £131.86 - so doubling their final bill - or risk excess charges of up to £1050.
Rental companies seem to be aware of the pressure that high deposits can put on customers to buy other services and appear to be increasing the amount that they hold as a deposit on customers’ credit cards. Excess deposits in Europe have gone up 22% since 2013, pressuring customers into buying costly excess waivers at the desk which have also increased by an average of 26%.
Rental companies now charge up to £27 a day*3 for excess insurance which protects customers from the 'excess' amount in the event of a claim - this is over nine times more expensive, however, than a week's policy from iCarhireinsurance.com (from £2.99 a day).
YouGov found that 45% of car renters think the excess insurance bought from the car rental desks is a rip off; but nearly two thirds (62%) were unaware that if they want to buy excess insurance they don't have to buy it from a car rental company.
“British holiday makers shouldn't be intimidated into paying for expensive excess waivers at the rental desk, particularly when these costs aren't made transparent to them when they're booking," said Ernesto Suarez, CEO and founder of iCarhireinsurance.com.
"It’s a scandal that sky high deposits are being used as a stick to beat people with when people are just trying to budget for a well-earned break. Don't let yourself be ripped off. Cheaper alternatives are available so always buy your excess insurance in advance before you travel.”
An iCarhireinsurance.com policy is also more comprehensive than rental companies' policies as it includes damage to all parts of the hire car including the tyres, undercarriage, roof and windscreen.
*1 Hiring a compact car in Nice, Milan, Larnaca or Barcelona, from 25 July to 1 August 2014, a car hirer would be looking at an excess cost of around £1500.
*2 Hiring a compact car from 25 July to 1 August 2014
*3 Hiring a compact car in Milan with Hertz from 25 July to 1 August 2014.