Does travel insurance cover car hire excess?

It's not automatically included but you may have the option to add it for a fee.

Updated

If you’re hiring a car as part of your trip, you may have the option of adding car hire excess cover to your travel insurance policy for a fee. This could save you time and money as you won’t have to bother with shopping around. Although you may need to pay a little more to add this extra cover, it could work out cheaper than buying separate car hire excess cover direct from the rental company.

What does travel insurance with added car rental excess cover include?

If your travel insurance provider allows you to add car rental excess cover to your policy, it could include:

  • Travel insurance car rental excess. Car rental excess is the amount you are charged by a rental company if your rental car is damaged, stolen or involved in a collision. Adding car rental excess cover to your travel insurance policy offers cover for car rental excess charges that apply.
  • Transportation of the vehicle back to the car rental depot. If you suffer an injury or illness during your journey, you may not be in a fit condition to drive your rental car to the nearest depot. When this happens, some insurers will cover the cost of returning the car to the nearest depot, as long as you can obtain evidence that you are not medically fit to drive.
  • Medical expenses if you get into an accident. Travel insurance provides cover for medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident overseas. If you crash your car and need ambulance transportation, medical treatment, hospital accommodation and even repatriation to Ireland, your travel insurer will be able to cover the costs. You won’t receive any cover if you break an exclusion on your policy, such as failing to follow the road rules in the country you’re in, so make sure you’re aware of the exclusions in your policy before you get behind the wheel.

    Travel insurance car rental excess VS waiving my excess

    Before you sign your car rental agreement, car rental companies will offer the option to reduce your car rental excess charge for a daily fee. This is often referred to as an excess waiver or excess reduction option, and you will often be able to reduce the excess to zero if you are willing to pay the additional amount. While this may sound like an attractive option, paying a daily fee to reduce your excess can actually work out to be quite costly. If you have the choice of adding car rental excess cover to your travel insurance policy, then it might be a more cost-effective way to take out financial protection.

    Other car hire concerns

    Am I covered for damages and repairs to the car?car-damage

    Travel insurance does not usually cover you for the actual damage you cause to a car or the cost of getting that damage repaired. These costs can be covered by the car insurance provided by the rental company. This insurance is commonly known as the loss damage waiver or the collision damage waiver, and it’s automatically included in the basic cover provided by rental companies in Ireland.

    Am I covered if I injure someone else or cause damage to their car?

    Travel insurance policies typically include personal liability cover, but do not offer protection if you injure someone else or damage someone else’s property while driving a rental car. This cover can be obtained through the car insurance available from the rental company.

    Am I covered for medical expenses if I get into an accident?

    Travel insurance provides cover for medical costs if you’re injured in an accident overseas. If you crash your car and need ambulance transportation, medical treatment, hospital accommodation and even repatriation to Ireland, your travel insurer will be able to cover the costs. You won’t receive any cover if you break an exclusion on your policy, such as failing to follow the road rules in the country you’re in, so make sure you’re aware of the exclusions in your policy before you get behind the wheel.

    What isn’t covered by rental car excess cover

    Although cover differs between insurers, your car rental excess claim will usually not be paid if:

    • You fail to comply with the terms of your rental agreement
    • You rent certain excluded vehicles such as commercial vehicles, buses, motorbikes, limousines, or expensive or exotic cars
    • Your claim is for losses sustained because you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or because you were driving recklessly
    • Your claim involves an unauthorised driver not listed on the rental agreement
    • Your claim is for theft and you cannot produce the keys to the vehicle due to your own negligence
    • Your claim is for theft or damage and your vehicle has been left unlocked or unsecured
    • Your claim is for wear and tear or mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure
    • Your claim is for blowouts or tyre damage, unless caused by fire, malicious damage or vandalism
    • Your claim is for intentional damage by you
    • Your claim is for a loss resulting from any sort of illegal activity
    • Your claim involves the use of your rental vehicle to carry passengers or property for profit
    • You were driving the vehicle without a driver’s licence

    Picture: Shutterstock

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