Does travel insurance cover car hire?
Find out if you need extra insurance for your rental car on your next holiday.
So you’ve got your holiday booked and a rental car sorted for your trip too. You should have been made to purchase a basic level of insurance when you signed on the dotted line for the hire car.
However, you could still end up having to pay an excess fee if the car gets stolen or damaged in any way. What’s more, this charge could be thousands of pounds – potentially more than the total cost of your holiday.
We look at how car hire excess insurance works and how it can save you getting hit with a large holiday bill.
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Does travel insurance cover the use of rental cars?
A standard travel insurance policy won’t typically cover you for using a rental abroad.
However, when you hire a vehicle, the rental company will generally add in some sort of car insurance policy. At the very least, it will give you third-party coverage, paying for any damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property.
The rental car deal will probably come with a damage waiver too, which saves you from having to pay for most of the damage to the rental vehicle should you have an accident. It’s the rental business saying we’ll shoulder much of the cost for repairing the car. However, there is some bad news. These waiver’s often come with an excess, which is basically the amount of money you have to chip in to help the rental company with repair costs.
Given excesses can be expensive, you might end up shelling out hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.
How does insurance cover rental car excess?
When you hire a car abroad, you might be shocked by how much the excess costs can be.
Should you have an accident, you could end up having to pay as much as £2,000. The rental company may even hit you with excess fees if it’s a minor bump or the damage was caused by another driver being reckless. So by taking out a rental car excess insurance policy, you can be saved from having to pay these huge sums. You can get this additional layer of coverage through your rental company, but getting excess insurance through an insurer based in the UK might get you the best deal.
Car hire excess insurance exclusions to be aware of
Any insurance you have covering your hire car comes with plenty of terms and conditions. Should you break any of the rules, the provider might refuse to pay. Here are some reasons why you might be left footing the repair bill.
- The incident was the result of your reckless behaviour – perhaps you were speeding or ignoring traffic signs.
- The incident was the result of you being drunk or under the influence of drugs.
- The incident happened when the person driving is not someone named on the rental agreement.
- The car needs repairs due to mechanical or electrical failures, or needs parts replaced due to wear and tear.
- The vehicle is more than 10 years old.
- The limit on what the car hire excess insurance will pay is less than the quoted excess cost from your rental company.
How do I claim with car rental excess insurance?
Whether you’ve taken out a policy with a travel insurance provider based in the UK or through the car hire company itself, here’s a breakdown of what will happen if you claim on your car rental excess insurance and need to get your money back.
- The rental company will take the excess amount off the debit or credit card you used when hiring the car.
- You need to then get together all your relevant documents and receipts and pass them onto the insurer.
- The insurer or company will then process your claim.
- If successful, you’ll be reimbursed.
Can car hire excess insurance save me money?
Ultimately, it depends whether you have an accident or not. Given you might be charged upwards of £2000 for car hire excess, having a policy like this could save you vast amounts should anything go wrong.
However, if you can afford to pay the sometimes hefty excess fees, then getting car hire excess insurance certainly isn’t mandatory.
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