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Sally Wilson

Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.

Sally Wilson is one of our Team of Experts

Our Tips to Getting the Most from your Car Hire Excess Insurance Policy

All our do's and don't to ensure you have the right excess cover for your rental vehicle

family in rental car

Buying excess insurance

Do run a comparison for excess insurance with MoneyMaxim

Our panel consists of 11 (soon to be 13) excess insurers and we will show quotes from any of the insurers who can help you. These are shown in price order in your results but we also make it easy to compare the policies and their cover.

Do ensure you have run quotes which cover your requirements

You will need to select the appropriate vehicle type from the drop down list. If you renting a 7 seater then be aware that you may be given a larger vehicle. This is very common in the US and Canada. You may wish to choose the 'Up to 9 seats' option to ensure you will not be caught out!

Do consider an annual car hire excess

If you are hiring for more than 15 or 16 days either in one trip or split between trips, an annual insurance can be the more cost effective option. Run quotes for both options and see what you could save.

Do check all special requirements are covered

If you need to cover business use, a car club vehicle or a courtesy car for example. you will need to select the appropriate filter to tailor your search results to those that can offer the cover your want. You will also need to check the box if you will be driving the car in your country of residence. This applies for example to UK residents who are hiring in Northern Ireland.

Don't wait! Buy your excess insurance before you collect the vehicle

Any excess insurance must be purchased before you sign for the vehicle and have those keys in your hand. If your rental has already started then you cannot buy excess insurance. The policy must be bought in the name of the lead driver - the person who is signing to take responsibility for the vehicle.

Don't leave out additional drivers

All car hire excess insurers on our panel will include cover for at least 4 additional drivers. However the drivers must be on the rental contract and any additional driver fees paid to the car hire company. For some of the insurers, being on the hire contract is enough to get them covered but others will ask for more information during the purchase. Please read and answer all questions carefully.

Before you go

Don't leave the insurance documents at home

With any luck you will not need it, but if you were involved in an incident that might result in a claim then having all the information to hand including the insurer's contact details can save you worry. All the insurers email their policy documents out.

Do read what you will need to do in the event of a claim

Having this information in mind can really help if you damage the car . You can make sure that you have collected the documents you need to submit a valid claim before you have left the country. It is a lot easier to get them together during your hire than to have to do it once you are back home.

Do confirm you have the main insurances in place

These excess policies cover the excess on your Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Waiver.(TW) They also cover other areas of the vehicle such glass, wheels, tyres, roof and underbody which may not be covered by the CDW. They work alongside the CDW, TW and Third party cover, they do not replace them. Car hire in the USA and Canada is one region where rentals can commonly come without the main insurances in place. We may be able to help there with a more comprehensive policy so do get in touch with us if you are unsure.

At the car hire desk

Do make sure you have a valid payment card for any security deposit

Hire excess insurance operate on a reimbursement basis. You will still be required to leave a security deposit if it is stated on your rental agreement. This deposit can be taken on a credit card or, provided your car hire company accept them, a debit card.

Do remember these are personal policies that cover you and NOT the car

Excess insurance has nothing to do with the car hire company. It covers you to pay you back should you be charged your excess. The car hire company do not need to 'accept' them, nor do you need to tell them about it.

Don't feel obliged to buy the car hire company's extra insurance

As long as you have the main insurances in place of CDW, TW and third party you are good to go. Unless you fall into certain categories where that particular car hire company's terms say you must buy their additional insurance (eg younger or senior driver, debit card user, or hiring a premium vehicle) you can refuse any top up insurance they offer. If you get to the car hire desk and the bill is not what you are expecting then query it before you sign.

During your rental

Do look after the car

This may seem like an obvious one but the interior of the car is not covered by the majority of insurers so, if you are charged for cleaning or damage to the seats, you cannot claim it back.

Don't drive outside the terms and conditions of the rental

If you were to use the car in a way that is against the terms of your rental - driving on a beach, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, allowing a non-authorised person to drive the vehicle are a few - then any damage caused would not be covered by your CDW and therefore you would not be able to claim on your excess insurance.

Don't attempt to make any repairs yourself

You will need the authority of your rental company to make any changes or carry out any work on the vehicle. If you have an accident or you get a puncture for instance then you need to phone the rental company first to get advice on what to do next.

Do keep hold of any police reports if you have an accident or any bills you are given at the end of your hire

In some countries you must involve the police if there is an accident. You may need a police report to submit a valid claim to the excess insurer. The same goes for bills from the rental company if they charge you for scratches, dents or any other damage at the end of your hire.

If you need any further assistance to get a quote for van, motorhome or car hire excess insurance then our customer service team are on hand to answer any questions.