More than a third (37%) of hire car drivers are unaware that they are liable for the excess (the first part of any claim) if their car is damaged or stolen, which can be up to £2,000, even if it is not their fault.
Excess waiver can be bought to protect drivers from this, however Opinium research of over 1,000 car hirers, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, finds that two fifths (41%) don’t know what excess waiver is and 43% say it is confusing and difficult to understand.
Six in ten car hirers (59%) are also unsure or mistakenly believe that excess cover has to be bought from the rental company. According to a cost comparison study by iCarhireinsurance.com, travellers could be wasting over £200 a week not buying excess insurance from an independent insurance company.
For example, hiring a medium compact car, e.g., a VW Golf, in Malaga this summer from 29 July to 5 August 2023, the study finds the six rental companies (i.e, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar) surveyed charged on average £259 for excess cover (i.e., £201 for super damage waiver and £58 for tyre and windscreen waiver cover).
A week’s policy from iCarhireinsurance.com covering damage, theft, and tyres and windscreen cover is £33.15 or an annual European policy is from £41.99.
If a car hirer does not buy excess cover from the rental company, or they have a car hire excess insurance policy already, then the rental company will hold the excess amount on the driver’s credit card. Over half of hire car drivers (56%) are unaware that rental company is within their rights to do this.
Drivers need to ensure they have enough credit on their credit card to allow rental companies to hold the excess in this way if they are buying cover from another provider, as the survey found that almost a third (30%) of car hirers bought excess waiver from the rental company rather than let them hold the excess amount on their credit card.
Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance said: “The majority of people hire a car without anything ever going wrong, but when it does you risk being liable for hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, so it pays to have excess cover.
“Do your research and consider looking at independent providers which can be a much more cost-effective option than the rental company’s waiver policies. Then don’t forget to take a credit card with you to cover the excess deposit during the hire.”