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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.

What is Negligence when it comes to car hire?

Driving up a footpath onto a ski slope certainly counts, but so do a lot of other more surprising and mundane activities.

You've got your car hire sorted, you have the best car hire excess insurance, you can be certain you won't have to pay a penny more whatever happens, right?

Well not quite. There's always one area that won't be covered – negligence, as a Kuwaiti tourist visiting a ski resort in Bavaria recently discovered, the Metro reports. According a police spokesman, the father wanted to show his children snow for the first time and drove up a forest footpath as far as he could. He then lost control of the BMW 7 series which slid sideways onto the ski piste where the family abandoned the vehicle.

The wealthy family will apparently be charged the full £3,000 cost of the rescue of the BMW by the Fire Service in addition to any charges from the car hire firm for damage incurred to the underside of the car, lost income while the car is off the road etc.

No insurance will cover you for gross acts of recklessness or negligence like this, if it did, we wouldn't be able to afford it, but what counts as negligence?

If you rely upon Collision Damage Waiver products from car hire companies, the answer is more than you might expect. For example, if you hire a car through Auto Europe with a Fully Refundable Excess they specifically exclude damage incurred while parking or in a parking facility as driver negligence.

Now Auto Europe are, from our viewpoint, one of the best car hire brokers out there but, if you park your car in a car park, go and explore the town, come back and find someone else has scraped your car, in their eyes, it's your fault and you have to pay.

Likewise most cdw policies exclude damage to high risk vulnerable parts of the car such as tyres, wheels, glass and underside of the car, areas that will be covered with our specialist insurance policies.

This highlights one of the fundamental differences between a hire company's CDW policy and a proper Car Hire Excess Insurance policy. With CDW you are purchasing a waiver from the car hire company – it's not an insurance policy, the terms and conditions can be onerous and there's normally no higher authority bar the courts to complain to if you feel you've been hard done by. And talking of terms and conditions, it's not a regulated insurance product so they don't even have to show you the t & c's before you buy, unlike the proper insurance sold through our site.

So though you may make considerable savings by purchasing a car hire excess insurance policy in the vast majority of cases, you will also be getting more comprehensive cover.