Have you been shocked by the amount of insurance excess your selected car rental company wants to impose on you? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone.
For those that are not familiar with this practice, the “insurance excess” or a rental contract is the amount that the hirer is expected to pay in the event of a claim. Even if the hirer has Collision Damage Waiver or Theft Waiver, this insurance invariably comes with a very substantial sting in the tail, in the form of an excess.
As competition between car hire companies has intensified and insurance premiums have risen, most operators have elected to keep the headline prices low by accepting a large excess from the insurers and then passing this burden onto the more often than not, unsuspecting, hirer.
Of course, these rental companies are not naive; they also know that offering “waiver insurance” provides a new revenue stream. However, not content with just covering the true cost of the waiver, many rental companies charge a substantial premium for the insurance waiver. It is not unusual to see reports of the insurance waiver premium exceeding the entire cost of the hire car for the duration of the hire.
If hirers are not aware of the large excess prior to collecting the car, then they can expect to listen to a high powered sales pitch on the virtues of taking out the insurance. Remember, this is now a new revenue stream and, it may be a substantial part of their profit on the contract term. Nervous hirers may be too tired to argue or feel pressured into taking this expensive insurance, or having to face the prospect of shouldering the entire burden for the duration of the hire. Neither prospect is particularly appealing.
However, there is an alternative. Hirers can take out an independent insurance policy to cover the insurance excess. These policies can be purchased at any time and it doesn’t matter who the car is hired from. The policies normally operate on a “Pay and Claim” basis, where the hirer pays the claim and then claims it from the insurance company post hire.
Although benefits may vary between insurance companies, they will typically offer insurance of up to £2,000 per claim and also cover additional areas such as damage to tyres, windows, the roof or the underside of the vehicle. These polices are also more flexible, given they can be purchased for a day, the duration of the hire, or even a full year.
Car rental price comparison site, Car Hire Assistant offers once such policy in association with specialist insurer, Odyssey Group. It is not necessary to rent a car with Car Hire Assistant to take advantage of the benefits offered by this insurance excess policy. It is completely independent of the hire.
As always, forewarned is forearmed. Prospective renters need to be fully aware of what is included in the price of the car and the lever of any excess they may be responsible for. It is then for the hirer to decide whether to accept the risk, purchase insurance direct from the car hire company, or to opt for purchasing a ‘standalone’ insurance excess policy.