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Rental car insurance

Reduce expensive excess charges when your rental car is stolen or damaged with rental car excess insurance.

Rental car excess insurance is a type of insurance policy that will cover the excess charged by rental companies if the car is damaged or stolen.

That’s helpful because it reduces your out-of-pocket expenses. These excess amounts can sometimes be as much as $3,000 to $4,000. There are different options to suit all budgets so you can save yourself from unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.

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What vehicles are covered by rental car insurance?

Surprisingly, car rental excess insurance can actually cover most vehicles that includes standard cars, luxury cars, 4WDs, campervans and even motorcycles.

Limits to this include, the weight of a vehicle (for campervans, the vehicle needs to weigh less than 4.5 tonnes for most brands), the engine displacement of a motorcycle and driving conditions (e.g. icy and off-road). Always check directly with your insurer for exact specifications.

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Luxury cars

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5 benefits of car hire excess insurance in New Zealand and overseas

One It’s affordable

Getting standalone cover is usually much cheaper than cover purchased through a rental car company. On average, car rental excess insurance is three times cheaper than cover from the rental car companies.

Two Windscreens, tyres, roof and underbody can be included

Some providers can cover damage to the above, even if it’s excluded from your rental agreement.

Three Get other helpful inclusions

Some brands will also include cover for your luggage and personal effects, and returning your vehicle to the correct location if you get sick or injured and can’t return it yourself.

Four Covers all sorts of vehicles

Sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs and more – most policies cover an extensive range of vehicles as long as they weigh less than 4.5 tonnes.

Five Domestic and international policies available

Regardless of whether you’re travelling within New Zealand or overseas, there are standalone car rental excess policies available to suit your needs.

Is it worth it? Yes

For some perspective, here are the minimum excesses charged by major rental companies in New Zealand. These charges are based on standard 2WD vehicles, that means that the excess amount can increase if you’re renting a more expensive vehicle. If you decide not to take out any type of rental car excess cover, you risk having to pay these amounts if the rental car is damaged or stolen.

  • Alamo – $2,875
  • Avis – $3,450
  • Hertz – $3,450
  • Jucy – $3,000
  • Omega – $2,500
  • Thrifty – $3,000

What options do I have?

Excess reduction cover straight from rental company


  • Pros. This is the most convenient option if you haven’t already got cover.
  • Cons. Usually the most expensive way to get cover for car rental excess.

Standalone car rental excess insurance policy


  • Pros. Affordable and flexible option that can give you additional benefits.
  • Cons. You’ll need to take out cover before picking up the rental car.

Travel insurance including car rental excess insurance


  • Pros. Affordable option since it can be automatically included in some policies.
  • Cons. Sometimes not an option if you’re hiring a car in your home city.

What’s not covered by car rental excess insurance?

When choosing a policy, be mindful and make sure you understand your agreement. There can be big differences between policies so it’s relatively safe to say that you get what you pay for.

Car rental excess insurance policies are designed to cover an excess charged by a third party. So if the damage caused to your rental car is not approved as an insurance claim, an excess isn’t charged and you won’t be able to use your car rental excess insurance policy.

There are some situations and events when car rental excess insurance will not provide any cover such as:

  • You use the rental vehicle in breach of your rental agreement
  • You use your rental vehicle without a valid licence
  • Your claim is for administrative fees charged by the rental company (unless this is included in your policy)
  • You were driving the rental car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • You failed to act sensibly to protect the vehicle or your property
  • You did not do everything possible to reduce or minimise your loss
  • You travel against medical advice
  • Your claim arises due to a pre-existing medical condition
  • Your claim is for consequential loss of any kind, for example loss of enjoyment
  • Your claim arises due to mental illness, depression, anxiety or stress
  • Your claim arises because you participate in any race, speed or time trial
  • Your claim arises from a government authority confiscating, detaining or destroying anything

With this in mind, make sure to check the terms and conditions of whichever cover option you choose to work out when you will and will not be covered.

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