A guide to car hire excess

The ultimate guide to car hire excess

What is car hire excess?

The excess, also known as the deductible, refers to the limit of how much you will have to pay if the car is damaged while under your care.

All car rentals come with a basic insurance policy that usually includes a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). Although these policies may appear to cover you in case of damage, they actually leave you liable to paying for a certain amount of your claim – the “excess”.

What you need to know about “excess”?

How much is the “excess”?

The excess amount you could be liable for varies from supplier to supplier, but can range anywhere from £500 to £3000.

If you don't want to be stuck with an ugly bill in case of an accident, it is better to search for a supplier with a low excess amount. That way, when you make a claim, you are only responsible for paying the first £500 of repair work, rather than the first £3000.

Am I always liable for the full excess?

No, you will be liable only for the cost of repairs. So, if your excess is £2000 but the damage cost is £300, you will only pay £300 and the rest of your deposit will be returned to you.

However, remember that some things are not covered at all by provided policies.

For example: Collision Damage Waiver does not cover the cost of damage to the wheels or tyres. So, if you puncture a tyre or crack a windscreen, the CDW will not help and you will have to cover the full cost of repair.

How can I avoid paying the excess?

The easiest way to ensure you won't be stuck paying excess is to shop around for an alternative insurance policy that will provide zero excess or protect your excess. You may buy extra cover from:

  • The site you book your rental through (most brokerages, including easyCar, offer an insurance package while booking)
  • A third-party insurer
  • The rental company

Top tip: You'll probably find that your supplier will offer you extra coverage at the desk upon pick up, and although this coverage may include zero excess, it is likely to be very expensive. It is a better option to shop around for an insurance policy beforehand. Third-party insurance is also usually cheaper and covers more.

What is excess reimbursement insurance and how does it work?

As an alternative to buying an insurance package from a third-party or an expensive zero excess policy from the supplier, you can consider buying excess insurance, which covers the excess charges . It may also include extra cover for parts of the vehicle that are rarely covered by standard policies (e.g. windows and tyres).

If you are charged an excess fee by the rental company, you must first pay the rental company and then submit your claim to the excess insurer. As it works on a reimbursement basis, you'll want to be sure to keep all your paperwork as evidence.

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