EU Car Hire Excess Insurance for Holidays to Europe

Minor prangs are much more likely when you are driving an unfamiliar car on the opposite side of the road. Here’s how damaged happened on our holiday and how the right excess insurance could have saved a lot of worry (and money)!

car hire excess insurance

Image by Thamlamm CC0

Why damaging a hire car abroad sucks (without the right excess insurance)

My first run-in with a large bill from a car hire company abroad was after friends hired the car at the airport, went with the hire car’s car hire excess insurance, and then a few days after returning the car (undamaged and with no issues) they get a bill for over €1,000 for “damage” not covered by the excess insurance.

In this scenario, because the excess insurance was with the car hire company, there was no way of calling upon them to fight the case on our behalf. It felt like it was its own moneymaking machine! I’m unsure the route my friends took to deal with this, but I know they were lumbered with months of stress from it.

Fast forward a few years and this time, we are involved in a prang. A silly one at that. The father-in-law reversed into a low wall, partially ripping the bumper off and leaving some deep scuff marks in it even if it could be forced back on.

The truth is, being a competent driver in the UK doesn’t necessarily translate to being a competent driver abroad. The car was unfamiliar, as was the layout of the roads, there was stress from driving on the right-hand side in general, and things like that can accumulate into silly mistakes that can be costly.

How would having car hire excess insurance from someone else help?

There are a few things at play here. Firstly, excess insurance provided by the hire company has a long list of exclusions, things that are not covered by the insurance that you will have to pay for such as:

  • Damage to tyres
  • Anything to do with the underside of the vehicle
  • The expected wear and tear from driving e.g. damage from loose chippings
  • Windscreen damage
  • Lost keys

(The most common stuff I think you’ll agree!)

Add to that the hire company’s insurance is a money-maker, so as well as being not very useful, it is generally more expensive than insurance from an unconnected company.

Car Hire Excess Insurance from a dedicated travel insurance company covers the types of things that are on the exclusion list from the car hire company and is cheaper because it’s not part of the hire company’s revenue stream!

Plus, if you incur damage that isn’t your fault, it is easier to dispute a claim if you have taken separate insurance – remember, the car hire company want as much money as they can from you.

Want to know more about car hire excess insurance before you travel?

Head on over to our blog What Is Car Hire Excess Insurance? (and do I need it?), which explains how to minimise charges from a car hire company, what to do if the hire company insist you take their excess policy, and also the benefits of getting insurance with us before you travel. Or go straight to our Car Hire Excess Insurance page. Alternatively call our team on 01892 833338

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