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FAQ Section > Car Hire Insurance Frequently Asked Questions > single incident limits

How large does my excess insurance limit need to be?

Is it best to choose the car hire excess insurance policy with the highest limit?

Most people opt for a car hire excess insurance policy primarily so that they can be reimbursed for any money they have paid out on the excess on their car hire insurance. At the end of a holiday, nobody wants an extra £1000 on their credit card that they can’t pay off. Car hire excess insurance is a great solution. You could be reimbursed for the full amount.

When you run a quote through the MoneyMaxim comparison service the table will show the ‘Single Incident Claim Limit’ for each policy displayed. This is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay out for any one claim. This figure needs to be higher than the excess amount stated with your car hire insurance.

There is normally an excess on the Collision Damage Waiver part of your car hire insurance and also on the theft protection. These excesses will usually be stated on the documents that you receive from your car hire company. If you are unsure then a call to the car hire company may give you the clarification you need.

Typical excess levels within European car hires tend to be between €800 and €1800. Excesses can increase with larger vehicles. Even with the higher excess levels in countries such as Italy and Ireland, the lowest Single Incident Claim Limit of £5000 will almost certainly cover your excess needs. However, it is always important that you check this.

So why are the Single Incident Claim Limits so much higher than excess levels? The main reason is marketing. People are often drawn to those policies with a higher figure. And for the underwriters it doesn't really cost more as excess claims rarely get anywhere near these higher limits. There are, however, reasons why a higher claim limit may be worthwhile.

Most car hire excess insurance policies also cover the tyres, wheels, roof, underbody, mirrors and glass elements of the car. These areas are often excluded from your Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) – the part that waives you of your responsibility to pay for damage to the car (except for the excess).

In the event of an incident involving these areas then you would be liable for the whole cost as they are not covered by the CDW. As an example – should you drive over a large rock and damage the underside of the car, you could face a bill that is higher than your excess liability. The underside of your car has a lot of expensive parts!

Also, for the majority of policies the single incident claim limit is also the total limit for the policy. If you are unfortunate and have two accidents while driving the hire car, you do not want to have used up all your cover on the first one. This is particularly relevant with annual policies where you may have several rentals.

It is important that the Single Incident Claim Limit is higher than your excess so that you can be fully reimbursed should you claim on the CDW or Theft Protection insurance. Beyond that we suggest you compare all aspects of the car hire excess insurance policies and choose the one that fits your needs best and that has a claim limit that you are most comfortable with.

If you have any further queries, our dedicated customer service team are here to help. You can contact us via the chat facility online (available at the bottom of any page on our site) or by telephone 0118 321 8197 or email info@moneymaxim.co.uk

This content was last reviewed on 11/10/2023

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