Two cars with damaged bodywork

Standalone car hire excess insurance can save you up to 65%

Finding the best car hire deal isn't just about getting hold of the cheapest rental car. The extras you're charged at the rental desk can add substantially to the cost.

The most expensive of these extras is car hire excess insurance, which can cost as much as £20 a day depending on the hire firm and location.

What is car hire excess insurance?

With many people renting cars and not even aware of these charges, we explain what the product is and how you can save money...

When you hire a car your rental agreement will usually include cover such as a collision damage waiver (CDW or sometimes called Loss Damage Waiver - LDW) and third party liability insurance.

Such policies shouldn't give you a false sense of security, however, because if the vehicle is damaged in an accident or stolen, the person renting it is usually liable for the first portion of the loss.

That portion is called the “excess” and it varies from one rental to another. However, it's usually between £500 and £2,000 depending on the vehicle type you rent - but it can be substantially more on high value cars.

You can protect yourself against these charges by purchasing an excess waiver. Some companies will try to sell you a waiver while you book, but it can cost up to £20 a day and we suggest you buy a standalone excess insurance policy instead.

You'll be amazed at how much such a policy can save you. Purchasing a standalone excess insurance policy from via TravelSupermarket, for example, costs as little as £2.99 a day. A typical one-week charge is around £24 for European destinations, such as Malaga, while a one-week policy for Florida would cost about £48.

Policies such as that from iCarhireinsurance provide peace of mind for a low daily cost. A standalone excess policy can cover you for up to 60 days of continuous car rental. What's more, car hire excess insurance protects vulnerable parts of the rental vehicle usually excluded from damage by rental companies - even if you've bought their more expensive damage waivers.

What types of policy are on offer?

Whether you rent on a regular basis or are hiring a car as a one off, we can help you select the right product...

If you're going on a short break, a daily policy will usually work out as the best option. Paying £2.99 per day for cover is great value.

However, if you regularly regular hire a car, or if you have a longer trip planned, you could save even more with an annual car hire excess insurance policy.

With prices starting from just £39.99, if you're a frequent user who usually buys the excess waiver at the rental desk, an annual policy will have paid for itself after the first three or four days of use!

You can also buy car hire excess cover for just European or worldwide destinations.

What are the key benefits?

The benefits of taking out a standalone policy before you travel are considerable. These are the key ways it can help put your mind at rest...

• Lower prices - With prices starting at just £2.99 a day for cover in Europe, you can save up to 65% on rental desk rates

• Higher savings - If you travel several times a year, you can buy an annual policy - saving you even more on your holiday rentals. Prices start at £39.99 a year for Europe, while annual policies for the USA and Canada start at £79.99 with iCarhireinsurance. For all other worldwide destinations, an annual policy costs £59.99

• Better cover - You not only reduce your potential excess charges to zero but also have better levels of cover with these policies, ensuring that all parts of the car are also protected. That includes windscreens, the car undercarriage, tyres and the roof - parts that are often omitted from even rental companies' more expensive policies. You'll also be protected against excess charges for damage and theft, and for additional drivers who are named on the rental agreement

• More choice - You can choose between European, USA/Canada or worldwide car hire coverage

• Fewer restrictions - UK rentals are automatically included for UK residents at no extra cost and there are no “distance from home” restrictions

• Breakdown cover - Some car rental firms don't include free breakdown or towing cover - this is included in car hire excess cover at no additional cost

How does it work?

Buying a hire car excess policy and getting yourself covered couldn't be easier...

Our four step approach will have you driving safely with low cost, comprehensive cover in no time at all.

1. Buy your annual or daily car rental excess insurance policy from our partner iCarhireinsurance before you travel. If for any reason you forget to do so, you can still buy it on the day you pick your vehicle up - but you can't backdate the policy

2. Print out your car hire insurance policy and keep it with you or keep a copy on your smartphone or tablet

3. Say no to the additional insurance or excess waivers you're offered at the rental desk or when you book your car online or by phone. If they try the hard sell on you and say your existing policy is worthless or that the police won't recognise it, stand your ground. These are just high pressure sales ploys

4. If you do incur damage or your car is stolen and you're charged an excess amount when you drop the car off, claim it back from iCarhireinsurance within 60 days of your return to the UK. The claims centre is open 24/7, 365 days a year