Buying excess insurance beforehand means you can avoid paying over the top when you pick up your vehicle overseas Excess car hire insurance does exclude 'vulnerable' parts of a vehicle.
British holidaymakers are collectively wasting more than £800m a year by buying expensive "excess" insurance from car rental firms rather than pre-buying more cheaply online before they go, it was claimed this week.
According to research by specialist insurer iCarhireinsurance.com, at least £1bn is spent on excess cover by drivers of rental vehicles each year in Europe – much of it unnecessarily.
The company says there will be 255m car rental days in Europe next year, with 45% of drivers taking out "excess" cover that reduces their liability to zero in the event of crash or damage. It warns the average price charged for top-up insurance by car rental desks is £9.99 a day ... that's on top of the rental charge. Buyers report coming under big pressure to take it out when they pick up the car.
But the company says canny consumers, who pre-buy excess policies online, will pay as little as £2.99 a day, saving as much as £49 a week. Ernesto Suarez begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, founder and chief executive of iCarhireinsurance.com says: "Excess cover is important when hiring cars abroad because most rental companies have an excess of between £500 and £1,500. However, many policies offered at car rental desks do not cover the most vulnerable parts of the vehicle, so drivers can still get stung. Also, many rental companies wait until customers pick up the car before mentioning this, and drivers then have little choice but to pay over the odds."
He says that many holidaymakers don't realise they can pre-buy from independent suppliers. Until recently, insuarnce4carhire.com had the market to itself. For £49 a year it offered unlimited excess cover on car rentals across Europe.
However, it is now being undercut by iCarhireinsurance.com which is offering the same service for £39 a year, or £2.99 a day. The pre-bought products are also more comprehensive.
Drivers will not only be covered if their hire car is damaged or stolen but also if the roof, tyres, windows and undercarriage are damaged.
Those pre-buying these policies have to authorise the car hire company's excess on their credit card. In the event of a claim, this will be taken by the car hire firm.
Drivers then claim this back from the insurance firm. For an extra £19.99, iCarhireinsurance.com will add cover for all car club rentals. Users of Streetcar have to pay £179.40 annually to bring their £750 standard excess to nothing.
Both firms offer worldwide cover for those venturing outside Europe. Insuarnce4carhire.com does not cover rentals made within 150km of your home – iCarhireinsurance.com does.