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Andrew Daniel

Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.

Do we want all inclusive rates for Car Hire?

We support Which?'s call for car hire companies to be more upfront on their charges for extras, but beware of some risks.

Consumer magazine Which? recently complained that Car Hire Companies were hiding too many additional charges and were "taking customers for a ride”.

So it seemed quite good news when Europcar recently announced a new deal called Europcar Complete. Concentrating on simplicity, the deal allowed you to pay up front and get:

  • 10% discount from standard hire rate
  • Zero excess collision damage waiver
  • Zero excess theft waiver
  • Unlimited Mileage
  • One free Additional Driver
  • Roadside Assistance Cover waiving any roadside recovery fees if incurred
  • Nothing else to pay, except your fuel

There were some terms and conditions, it was only available for drivers aged 26 or over and is only available for hires in the UK.

So, a tempting deal, one simple price to pay, everything you need and even includes a discount. Or does it?

We ran a quote for a weeks hire of a compact class car (Astra or similar) from Heathrow Airport using the Europcar Complete deal and came up with a quote of £302.47.

We then ran through their standard pricing:

| Car | £150.00 | || | Unlimited mileage upgrade (2,100 miles included as standard) | £15.00 | | Risk Reduction Cover+ (excess insurance) | £132.97 | | Total | £297.97 |

Given the Additional Driver, normal charge £69.97 is included free, we can't quite make out where the 10% saving on normal rates is reflected in the quote.

Alternatively, sourcing car hire excess insurance through MoneyMaxim, those rates could read:

| Car | £150.00 | || | Unlimited mileage upgrade | £15.00 | | Car Hire Excess Insurance | £12.95 | | Total | £187.95 |

Saving £114.52 over the Europcar Complete price or £44.55 if you actually want the additional driver. Incidentally, though we asked, we couldn't find the precise terms of the Risk Reduction Cover so can't say what is included or what Europcar may decide was down to your negligence. We chose the cheapest insurance policy available through our site which still covers excesses up to £3,000 and includes cover for high risk items like tyres, wheels, windscreen, mirrors, underbody and roof of the vehicle as well as recovery charges cover. Other policies costing a few pence more add cover for misfuelling and lost keys.

To us, the simplified pricing model is fine if you can afford it and they are actually offering what you would pay for anyway. However, shopping around and buying the elements you want separately is the best guarantee of value and getting what you want.