Car rental insurance – could you afford your excess?

posted in: General News, Insurance

A new study discovers that only 2% of us would be willing to pay the excess on the standard rental car policy.

Lady Taking Our Car Rental Insurance

Despite being in the car rental market, we have the luxury of being able to distance ourselves from certain parts of it – you know, that part that occupies vast swathes of airport land and quotes you a tiny fee online only to add hundreds of pounds in extras when you arrive at the service desk.

Of course, you don’t have to pay the extra insurances recommended by the major car rental companies. But that can be a real risk. A new study by revealed that only 2% of UK car rental customers would be willing to fork out the standard excess that comes with most car hires. And with many basic excesses starting at £1,000 and the charge for even the smallest of scuffs and scratches coming in north of £400, it’s easy to see how those costs can mount up.

So what’s to be done?

  1. Read your contract – it’s easy to get irritated at the car hire firms but effectively we’re giving you an option. Either pay a lesser amount for the car but risk a big excess if you have a shunt. Or pay a larger amount up front but reduce (or even remove) your excess entirely and drive the car with complete peace of mind. The thing is that choice needs to be a conscious one – so know what you’re buying. Read the contract, and if you can’t find the details, ask.
  2. Weigh the risk – You know a) how confident a driver you are, b) how likely the journey you’re undertaking will result in an accident. If you’re hiring one of our cars for the weekend to drive 50 miles away, after which time the car will stay parked for most of the time while you enjoy a spa break, well, you might consider the risk there to be low and opt for a higher excess. In contrast, I drove into Bosnia in a hire car recently, a country where the tarmac doesn’t even stretch to the edge of the road, and where death appears to await you around every corner. I have never been so glad to spend extra on insurance.
  3. Weight the expense – a simple point, perhaps, but if you couldn’t afford the £1,000 excess, surely it’s worth paying a little extra to reduce it.

Car rental firms (in the main) don’t offer insurances to catch you out or irritate the hell out of you. They do it to give you the maximum balance of choice between cost and the level of risk you’re prepared to accept.

Just make sure that you have all the information you need to make the right calculation.

Want to talk about your car rental? Talk to us now.

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