Almost 1 in 5 travellers told by rental company that credit card was not working forcing them to purchase their excess waiver insurance.

Nearly a fifth (18%) of car hirers were told by a rental company that their credit card would not authorise the deposit amount, forcing them to purchase the rental company’s excess waiver policy before they could take the car, says a new Opinium survey.

If a hire car is stolen or damaged the hirer is liable for the first part of any claim i.e., the excess amount which can be as much as £2,000. Hire car drivers do not have to purchase excess waiver insurance from the rental desk, but if they do not they usually have to leave a deposit.

Rental desk excess insurance costs on average £25* a day this summer, according to an study of car hire costs in five European destinations, and a separate excess policy might also be required for tyre and windscreen damage, taking the price for a week to around £180. Many people choose to purchase their excess insurance from a standalone provider like, as policies start from only £3.99 a day, or £39.99 for an annual policy, but a deposit is still required.

The Opinium research of 2000 UK car hirers, commissioned by, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, found that many also feel the car rental companies use the threat of holding the excess they are liable for on their credit card as a strong factor in persuading them to buy their excess insurance (77%), with nearly a third (29%) stating they have been scared into buying expensive extra insurance at the rental desk.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of, said: I urge everyone hiring a car this summer to ensure they have enough credit on their credit cards for rental desk deposits, and if possible take a few different credit cards with you just in case one is declined. This should ensure that if you don’t want to buy the rental company’s excess insurance, as perhaps you’ve already bought an independent policy, you’re not forced into it. Otherwise, by the time you get to the rental desk, if you want insurance you’ll only have one option – to buy from the rental company. This tends to be most expensive option and can easily add over £100 to a week’s rental.

* surveyed car hire costs for the week, 28 July to 4 August 2018 in five European destinations (Barcelona, Crete, Faro, Milan and Nice) from six car hire companies (Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, Budget and Avis). The average price of a super damage waiver policy is £115, a super theft waiver policy is £39 and a tyre and windscreen policy is £27, amouting to £181. This is equiavialent to an car hire excess insurance policy from only £2.99 a day for European travel or £39.99 for an annual policy.

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.