Use our search tool to browse our database of frequently asked questions!
When hiring a car in the UK Car Hire Excess Insurance can protect you from being out of pocket should the car be involved in an accident or if it was stolen or vandalised. An excess protection insurance policy will reimburse you if you are held liable for the excess (the amount you have to pay if the car is involved in an incident) or for the costs of damage to the tyres, wheels, glass, underbody or roof - all areas which tend to be excluded from the cover provided by car hire firms.
We will now explain particular features of policies that you might want to consider when choosing a policy best suited for your hires in the United Kingdom.
We will assume that you have run a quotation through the MoneyMaxim car hire excess insurance comparison service, as this will enable you to easily compare different features from leading excess insurers in the UK.
Those booking car hire in the UK tend to be offered a package with includes Collision Damage Waiver, Theft Protection and Third Party Liability Insurance. The first two elements are normally subject to an excess, and this is what renters look to protect with a car hire excess insurance policy. These policies also contain a number of side benefits, which, depending on your circumstances, may be of more or less use to you.
If you are a non UK resident please do check the insurances above are included. US and Canadian residents may, for example, find they get restricted cover as it's assumed they will have separate CDW insurance through other policies or credit card cover.
This is important as some policies are open to residents around the world, others restricted to those domiciled in the UK.
Some policies will not cover hires in your home country - it's to discourage those who may not own their own car and are very regular hirers! Those policies will be removed from the results shown if you advise you are are a resident here, and are also hiring in the UK.
Whilst 'best' will always differ from one person to another we would suggest that you review the results from your MoneyMaxim search and consider the following factors.
All policies shown will cover a standard rental car for core issues and an excess of at least £5000, more than enough for any standard UK car hire. There are also policies available to cover other vehicle types - just select the appropriate option when running a quote.
There are a few additional options that are also worth considering.
Breakdown Cover - In the UK all the main car hire companies will provide breakdown assistance if the car has a mechanical failure, and all the policies will cover you if you need recovery after an insured incident (accident, damage to the wheels, windscreen replacement etc). It is therefore fairly unlikely you would need to worry about any differences in policy cover in this area.
Personal Effects / Baggage Cover - some policies offer this feature - normally limited to a few hundred pounds - and normally an excess of say £50 applies. If you are hiring abroad and have travel insurance you would probably be covered for theft by that policy - but if hiring in the UK you might not be (although you might be covered by your home insurance). So it might be useful. Do read all the conditions carefully though - items left on show, unlocked or in the vehicle overnight are often not covered.
Courtesy Car Cover - this means cars lent to you by your garage whilst your own is in for repairs are covered as well - useful if you are likely to need this feature. You do need to sign a formal agreement with the garage which documents your liability.
Car Club members - some car hire excess insurance policies also cover members of a UK Car Club - that's a club you join and it lets you borrow a car for a few hours at a time, picking it up and dropping it back to parking spaces dotted around major cities. If you are a member or plan to be one consider this.
Multiple lead driver policies - if other members of the family also rent cars these policies can be very useful as other drivers can hire cars in their own name - be aware some policies do not allow multiple hires at the same time though.
European or worldwide policy? Daily or annual? - If you are just hiring in the UK you will only need a European policy - a daily policy if you are hiring for less than 15 days over the next 12 months, and annual policy probably working out cheaper if more. If you are also hiring a car outside Europe during the year a worldwide policy will probably be best - although individual circumstances do differ so there is no hard and fast rule here.
So that is a summary of the main factors we would take into consideration when choosing a policy - less important if it's a standard week's hire for a holiday in Cornwall, but maybe more important if you are a frequent UK car hirer.
Still unsure? Don't hesitate to call upon the MoneyMaxim team who will be delighted to assist you in your search - we have been helping customers find car hire excess insurance for over 10 years now and would be delighted to help you too.
This content was last reviewed on 14/11/2023