A warning triangle warns other drivers about a broken down car on the roadside

Buy better cover at a fraction of the cost

Finding the best car hire deal isn't just about finding the cheapest rental car. The extras that you're charged at the rental desk can also cost. The most expensive of these extras is car hire excess insurance which can cost as much as £20 per day depending on the company and the 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 a number of insurances including collision damage waiver (CDW or sometimes called Loss Damage Waiver - LDW) and third party liability insurance. These may well give you a false sense of security, as if the vehicle is damaged in an accident or is stolen, the person who rents the vehicle is usually liable for the first portion of the loss. This 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, of course, protect yourself against these excess charges by purchasing an excess waiver. Some companies will attempt to sell you this during the booking process, but it can cost you up to £20 a day and we suggest that you buy a standalone excess insurance policy instead. You will be amazed at how much you can save by doing this. Purchasing a standalone excess insurance policy from via TravelSupermarket, for example, will cost you as little as £2.99 per day. A typical one-week cost is only £23.92 for European destinations such as Malaga, while a one-week policy for Florida would cost £47.92.

iCarhireinsurance is a specialist in providing car hire insurance, enabling you to buy complete peace of mind for a fraction of the cost. It can cover you for up to 60 days continuous car rental. What's more, hire car excess insurance from protects the vulnerable parts of the rental vehicle that are usually excluded by the 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 you are hiring a car as a one off, we help you to select the right product for you...

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

However, if you're a regular car hire user, or if you have a longer trip planned, you could save even more with an annual car hire excess policy. With prices starting from just £39.99, if you're a regular 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 cover for just Europe or for worldwide destinations.

What are the key benefits?

The benefits of taking out a standalone policy before you travel are wide. Here are the key benefits to put your mind at rest...

 Lower prices - With prices starting at just £2.99 a day for cover in Europe, this represents a saving of up to 65% on the rates charged at the rental desk.

• Higher savings - If you travel several times a year, you can buy an annual policy, meaning you can save even more on your holiday rentals. Prices for this 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 - Not only do you have the benefit of reducing your excess to zero, but you also have better levels of cover with these policies, ensuring that damage to vulnerable parts of your car are also protected. This includes windscreens, the car undercarriage, tyres and the roof - which are often omitted from rental companies' more expensive products. You'll also be protected against excess charges for damage and theft, and for additional drivers who are named on the rental agreement.

• Better choice - You can choose between European, USA/Canada or worldwide 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 do not include free breakdown or towing cover - you get this included on the car hire excess cover at no additional cost.

How does it work?

Buying a policy and getting yourself covered could not 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 this, you can still buy from overseas on the day you pick your vehicle up, but you cannot backdate the policy.

2. Print out your 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 are offered at the rental desk or when you book your car online or by phone. If they try the hard sell on you and advise that your policy is worthless or that the police won't recognise it, stand your ground. They are just high pressure sales ploys.

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