Extensive research carried out by the team here at iCarhireinsurance has revealed that people who have hired cars this summer are on average £120 worse off.

This is due to them buying their excess insurance from the rental desk, instead of in advance from a specialist provider.

We looked at the cost of booking a hire car between the 29th July and 5th August in 15 countries, including adding four extras payable on arrival (e.g. excess waiver insurance, child seat, sat nav, etc.), as well as a full tank of petrol to see. And the excess insurance add-on is making a big hole in the holiday budget.

Without excess cover, drivers can be liable for excess charges up to £1000 if the hire car is stolen or damaged, regardless of who’s fault it was. And because of these potentially high charges, hirers are buying the cover sold to them at the point of pick-up. But the cover is often overpriced and doesn’t cover the most vulnerable parts of the car (windscreen, tyres, undercarriage, etc.). For example, if you rent in Croatia with Budget, the cost of waiver insurance with a compact family car is £355. Without the cover, it’s £236.

Generally, we found that the rental companies mainly sell three separate excess policies; Super Damage Waiver (average cost £96), Super Theft Waiver (£32) and Tyre and Windscreen Excess (£25). Add these averages up and you’re looking at a total cost of £153, six times more expensive then selecting our daily European cover (£23.93 for a week).

We commissioned a survey to over 2000 people on the back of this research and 64% of respondents told us that the rental desk excess policies are “a rip off”. That’s the good news. The bad news is 37% of those asked still bought a policy this way. This was less of a surprise when factoring in that 48% wrongly think that an excess policy HAS to be purchased from the rental company in order to be valid. This is of course not the case. Only one in ten buy a separate, independent policy in advance, despite the huge disparity in cost.

Ernesto Suarez, the CEO here at iCarhireinsurance, says this: Car hirers should not be held to ransom at the rental desk. It’s not part of the car hire contract that they must buy the excess waiver policy that the rental desk tries to sell them, i.e., usually at vast commission. Travellers are far better off doing some research at home and buy a more reasonable, and generally more comprehensive policy before travelling.

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.