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.

Compare travel insurance providers and car hire excess

1 - 19 of 19
Name Product Maximum Medical Cover Details
Finder Award
Single, annual, Winter sports, golf or cruise cover.
Over 1,300 medical conditions covered
Choose from single-trip, multi-trip, long stay and Winter sports cover.
Barrhead Travel
Barrhead Travel
Barrhead’s policies are underwritten by Travel Insurance Facilities and Insured by Union Reiseversicherung AG, UK
Big Blue Cover
£15,000,000 is a trading style of Rock Insurance Services Limited.
Boots travel insurance policies are underwritten by Travel Insurance Facilities plc.
Choose from single trip, annual multi-trip and winter sports cover.
Fortify Travel Insurance
Fortify Travel Insurance
Single, annual, Winter sports, cruise, backpackers and business insurance. Policies are provided by ROCK Insurance Group.
Insurefor Travel Insurance
Insurefor Travel Insurance
£12,500,000 is part of ROCK Insurance Group, policies are underwritten by EUROP ASSISTANCE S.A
Jet2 travel is a representative of ROCK Insurance Group and underwritten by EUROP ASSISTANCE S.A.
Leisure Guard
This policy is arranged by ROCK Insurance Group, policies are provided by Catlin Insurance Company (UK) Ltd.
Medical Travel Insurance
Medical Travel Insurance is an online comparison website for those with pre-existing medical conditions requiring travel insurance.
MidCounties Co-Operative Travel
MidCounties Co-Operative Travel
MidCounties Co-Operative Travel Insurance is arranged and administered by ROCK Insurance Group, policies are underwritten by EUROP ASSISTANCE S.A
MRL Insurance
MRL Insurance Direct is a trading style of ROCK Insurance Services Limited, policies are underwritten by Europ Assistance
Post Office Money
Choose from single trip, annual multi-trip or backpacker cover.
TopDog Insurance
TopDog Insurance
Find cover for single trip, annual multi-trip, gap year trips , long stay and Winter sports.
Travel Insurance 4 Medical
Specialise in cover for those with medical conditions.
Virgin Money Travel Insurance
Voted Best Direct Travel Insurance Provider 2018 at the Your Money awards.
World First
World First
Choose from single, annual multi-trip, backpacker, cruise and Winter sports cover.
Name Product Maximum cover Max hire Offer

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.

  1. The rental company will take the excess amount off the debit or credit card you used when hiring the car.
  2. You need to then get together all your relevant documents and receipts and pass them onto the insurer.
  3. The insurer or company will then process your claim.
  4. 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.

Frequently asked questions

The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
Esther Wolffowitz's headshot

Esther Wolffowitz was a publisher at specialising in insurance. Esther holds an MSc in Media and Communication Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). See full bio

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