Excess insurance for hire cars is one way to keep costs down when renting a vehicle in the UK or abroad.
Along with the insurance that car hire firms offer, they’ll also try to sell excess cover. The excess on hire cars can range from about £500 to £1,000 and the hire companies may try to charge you hundreds for pounds of that excess for as little as a scratch.
If you cover the excess it means an insurance company will pay the excess bill if you have an accident. Car rental companies often charge over the odds for excess cover but there are third-party inurers that provide much better value.
The difference can be more than £100, even for short trips.
You can buy these policies in the UK for car hire here, in Europe or the USA. If you buy from one of these companies, you pay the car hire firm's excess if you crash and then claim the money back from your insurer.
When you get to the car hire desk to pick up your car you’ll often have to put a ‘pre-authorised’ amount on a credit card, which will cover the excess in the event of a crash. If you don’t have any accidents your card won’t be charged or it will be refunded. Although this can be a pain it's still cheaper than paying for the hire companies excess policy, which is often called "super CDW (collision damage waiver ) insurance".
Like travel insurance, excess cover can be bought for a single trip or as an annual policy. Annual European excess cover can start at under £50, so if you’re hiring a car a few times in a year it may be the best value. Single trip excess cover can start from under £20.
Unlike the businesses in our car insurance top 10, there are no excess insurance ratings from review services such as Defaqto or Fairer Finance.
To find some of the best car hire, excess providers we looked at customer reviews of companies listed by car hire excess comparison site Moneymaxim.
All of these companies scored at least 8/10 on Trustpilot or 4/5 on Reviewcentre from at least 100 reviews:
Other companies that scored well or didn’t have many reviews include Insurefor.com and Insurance4carhire.
Big Blue Cover, Better Safe and Reducemyexcess.co.uk were all listed on Moneymaxim but we could not find any online reviews for them.
As with any insurance policy you should shop around to get the best deal. And if you do buy excess cover from a third party, don’t let the car hire firm sell you a policy you don’t need when you get to their desk.