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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

Is it worth buying car hire excess insurance?

Find out why it might be worth buying Car Hire Excess Insurance - we explain why a small investment in such a policy can potentially deliver a huge saving

is car hire insurance worth it

If you have booked a hire car do you really need to spend even more on car hire excess insurance?

You certainly don't have to, but it could save you a huge amount of money as if your car is damaged, even in a relatively minor way, you could be liable for paying the first part of the cost to the rental firm - and that can often be £1000 or more. That's where car hire excess insurance can protect you.

You do not have to have done anything wrong either - the car could have been vandalised, damaged whilst parked up in a car park, or stolen - but whatever you are the one footing the bill.

When you book a car you normally find that basic insurance is included, but that you are liable for an excess - up to an agreed limit - for damage to the car bodywork, and for theft and most types of vandalism. Some types of damage are often excluded though. The tyres, wheels, underbody, roof and glass are typical exclusions.

Damage to, say the under carriage of the car, can be very expensive - and in this case you would be liable for paying the total bill for any damage, not just the excess. Here you are liable for the full cost of the damage not just the excess. An independent car hire excess insurance policy will cover you right up to the policy limit - which is typically £6000 - £10000.

You can get protection through your rental firm of course, but whilst independent policies would cost about £2 a year (or just over £30 for an annual car hire excess insurance policy), this cover typically runs in at around £10 - £25 per day - so is massively more expensive. You also need to check what is and is not covered (as often it's just the excess that is reduced when this cover is taken - and damage to the the wheels, tyres etc will still be the responsibility of the hirer.

Do I need Car Hire Excess Insurance when I rent a car?

We cover the answer to the question as to whether car hire excess insurance is required in a separate article, but bearing in mind the daily cost is little more than the price of an ice cream we think its well worth taking out.

Every year we hear from hirers who didn't - and who then ask us if the rental company can charge the a enormous sum of money. In most cases I am afraid the answer is yes - even if the damage was not the hirers fault.

Can I wait and decide to buy a car hire excess insurance policy after I have collected the car?

No you cannot - all policies must be in force before the time you sign the rental agreement. This protects the insurer from those who damage the car leaving the pickup location and immediately try to buy a policy they can claim on. Its a hard and fast rule with no flexibility at all.

Is it easy to claim on a car hire excess insurance policy?

Its very straightforward - just make sure you collect the required paperwork from your hire company, and then follow the process detailed on your insurers website. In most cases its an online process now - and we normally see claims turned around and paid within a fortnight. We show feedback of other users experience on the results page when a quote is run on the Moneymaxim Car Hire Excess Insurance Comparison Service.

So is car hire excess insurance worth it?

We think its well worth it - not just because it a huge money saver if you have to claim, but it gives great peace of mind when you are driving a hire car - often on roads you are not familiar with and where slightly different rules apply.

In fact we would say why on earth wouldn't you!

Image courtesy of: Tumisu on Pixabay