View Full Version : Car Hire Insurance

2nd Sep 2016, 09:23
I rent a hire car a few times a year in various places across the world, but I never opt for any of the optional extras insurance wise - I decide instead to just take the risk and hope that nothing goes wrong!

This almost bit me on the arse one year in Iceland as a stone chipped the windscreen, but a piece of carefully placed snow on the windscreen prevented them noticing the chip on a cold, snowy 4am Keflavik morning. The paperwork was subsequently signed off with 'no damage' noted - Sorry AVIS :\

However, I've read in the past that it's possible to purchase car hire insurance yourself to avoid the large optional extras from the big firms, Hertz etc. Does anybody have any advice on doing this, is it worth it etc?

Thanks :)

2nd Sep 2016, 09:42
In the states, paying with certain credit cards (AMEX, and some premium VISA cards), automatically provides you, the renter, with coverage for the car.

2nd Sep 2016, 09:43
All I know is that a former employer of mine did exactly this. They used hire cars globally a lot, with Avis, and had their own insurance for everything above the basic cover the hire car companies give.

Each of us had a card with the insurance details on, and the cover included accidental damage etc.

Avis would very regularly try it on with claims though. I only once had an incident, when a hole was punched in the passenger door overnight, whilst the car was parked in a hotel car park. I reported it to the hotel who called the police. It was recorded as an attempted break-in; the police knew of a gang who were gaining entry to cars by punching holes in the door skin adjacent to the lock (didn't work in my case).

I took some photos of the damage, as required for my employers internal accident report form, submitted the paperwork after I returned the car (and the Avis depot recorded the door damage on return, too). A few months later I had a call from our finance people, saying there was an accident claim from Avis on the hire car I'd been driving. I agreed there had been, and that the passenger front door was damaged. The Avis claim included a new windscreen, rear bumper and lots of trim, in addition to the door skin.

Apparently this is pretty typical, Avis will often just offload all the damage repairs on a vehicle before they sell it on to one of the people who hired it, rather than chase them all up. Apparently a lot of the time the corporate insurers just pay up - I had to argue strongly that the only damage we were responsible for was the door skin, the rest was just a scam.

2nd Sep 2016, 11:19
However, I've read in the past that it's possible to purchase car hire insurance yourself to avoid the large optional extras from the big firms, Hertz etc. Does anybody have any advice on doing this, is it worth it etc?

The hire care will always be insured; you can’t opt in or out of that one.

I think you may be referring to Damage Excess Insurance. Basically, should you damage the vehicle while it is in your care then the hire company’s insurance will cover the cost of repairs but they will expect you to be responsible for any excess payable on their policy. They normally do this by asking you to pay for a damage waiver and you can either accept this or take out your own Damage Excess Insurance. Believe me the latter is much cheaper, typically only a few pounds. Be aware that if you provide this yourself the hire company will probably ‘pre-approve’ a sizeable deposit on your credit or debit card. This will be duly extracted if you damage the car and you will need to claim it back under your own Damage Excess Insurance.

I guess you’ve got to balance cost against convenience.

2nd Sep 2016, 12:17
Excuse my vagueness (it was a while ago), but a friend once told me that when travelling, he would take out a cheap online travel insurance policy, said policy would include cover in case of damage to hire car. Price was apparently equivalent to premium charged by hire car company to lower/waive excess, and he gained numerous other travel insurance benefits as well.

2nd Sep 2016, 12:26
I just took a 3rd party insurance against excess eventually rising from a rental. Cost me 35 quid / year. Refusing to take the "extra offer" to have a full cover with zero excess for only about 25 GBP a day makes many of the rental assistants quite furious.

2nd Sep 2016, 12:26
The hire care will always be insured; you canít opt in or out of that one.

Actually you can, but it's more common at the corporate level than the individual level. My employer self-insures for most things and has an agreed no-insurance rate-table with our preferred rental supplier.


2nd Sep 2016, 12:36
I too have an annual 'excess' policy. Sod's Law, I've never had to use it, but it stops me being paranoid that I might have missed a scratch on my pre-rental 'walk round'.

2nd Sep 2016, 12:53
Try "insurance 4 car hire". Made three substantial claims on one trip to NZ and they were fast and faultless.

2nd Sep 2016, 13:15
Thanks for all the informative replies :ok:

I found Car Hire Excess Insurance | insurance4carhire.com (http://www.insurance4carhire.com/) that offer insurance for £39.99 a year (as recommended by someone previously in the thread) which I think I'll take.

Have a car booked for Finland in a few months with Budget and the excess alone on that is upwards of 900EUR.

2nd Sep 2016, 13:34
The excesses in UK area are 1250 GBP where I am now. It is a deliberate push to sell the upgraded insurance. I found one company actually openly not interested in renting for the advertised price without the extras. This one in particular did not return the blocked sum back to the CC, blaming the card vendor for it. Hence upon my return for the second rent with them, the card was maxed out due to their 14 days overdue block of funds.

B Fraser
2nd Sep 2016, 13:35
I have an annual policy that covers me for global car rental damage. I hired a car in Milan a few weeks back and the rental company were very put out that I didn't take their policies. I subsequently found a couple of scuff marks where somebody had scraped against a door while in a car park. A bit of T-cut soon sorted it out and the car was returned with "zero damage".

I also rented a truck in the UK and managed to clip my gate with a door mirror which shattered the glass. Rather than losing my £100, a diversion via a dealership only cost me £33.

Metro man
4th Sep 2016, 00:30
I have my own excess insurance and have claimed on it once for a non repairable puncture on a Volvo. The tyre cost was the equivalent of four years worth of premiums so definitely worth it. ANY damage at all on a hire car will usually involve you having to pay he full excess as even a minor scrape will run into hundreds of pounds.

If you think the major car hire companies are bad when it comes to inflated claims for damage wait till you see what the second and third level ones get up to. If tempted by an attractive price from one of these operators always take the full excess reduction, if you don't, when you return the car they will charge for every pin head sized blemish. They know exactly where each scratch is and pull this stunt on every customer who doesn't pay for the extra insurance.


4th Sep 2016, 09:52
Or who doesn't take pictures of the car before setting off. I do same on arrival, it drives the poor sod bananas.

Background Noise
4th Sep 2016, 10:10
Previous discussion here: http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/578236-european-car-hire.html

4th Sep 2016, 10:12
It's called "purchasing Accident Excess Reduction" in Australia. It's a rort on the part of the car hire companies, they generally make a lot of money out of it.

A "regular Insurance Excess" amount, for car hire damage, is quite often something to the order of AUD$3750.
By paying a daily fee (which is often about 50% of the actual car hire cost), you can reduce your Insurance Excess to nil, or a very low figure, such as $250.

I normally refuse to take up the car hire companys Insurance Excess Reduction offer, simply due to its excessive cost.
When I take out travel insurance (which is every time I travel far enough distance from home, that it involves car hire), I select the travel insurance option that includes hire car Insurance Excess cover.
In the policy I generally take out (a mid-range one), the amount of cover for car hire Insurance Excess (or damage) is AUD$4000. I find this is adequate for all intents and purposes.

When in the Greek Islands a couple of years ago, I managed to put a scrape down the side of a hired Nissan Micra.
The damage was assessed by the car hire operator, at AU$750 (500 Euros). I paid that figure on returning the car, and made a claim upon my travel insurer for the damage payout, upon my return to Australia.

On the claim form, I included everything they requested, plus everything else I thought they might want to know.
I had multiple clear photos of the damage, a map of the location, and all the paperwork.
The travel insurance company re-imbursed me the full $750, without even wanting an excess payment for making the claim.

(I might add, if you return a car hire damaged, the car hire company will nearly always bill you the full insurance excess amount, even if the damage cost is only half the amount of the excess).

Chef Bruz
4th Sep 2016, 22:19
Car Hire companies "Self Insure".
Think about the phenomenal amount of money that they would pay in premiums to insurance companies?
Think about that as a negative revenue stream to the Car Hire company...
That's why the excess is so much higher than your normal comprehensive cover. Because there is effectively NO insurance policy. The companies are their own insurers...
Check that their "policy" covers you after dark rural highways, or the roof of your camper or truck vs overhead damage...You may find no coverage even if you take the excess reduction...
Your existing comprehensive car insurance may allow you to claim for damage to a hire car, read the policy document to check.
(I worked for the bastards once...)

Metro man
5th Sep 2016, 04:12
Single vehicle accident is another common exclusion.

Tech Guy
5th Sep 2016, 11:34
Spanish car hire companies seem to ignore any insurance document you show them and insist you buy their insurance. And as they have your card details on file, they will make their own deductions if they deem the car damaged and you dont have their preferred insurance waiver.

5th Sep 2016, 16:14
Those insurance sums on the car hire are really high. I've used AMEX for virtually decades and their gold and platinum cards cover it automatically, so it can be declined on the car hire form.

The sole claim in all these years was when a lorry ran into my hire car from behind, while I was stopped at a light near Luton.

Amex's department handled the whole thing superbly with Hertz and it all went away. Amex even challenged Hertz's extra charge they tried to levy saying the car was out of use for the time it was being repaired. But Hertz shot back that they had to prove they had NO other car to rent at that time. Hertz dropped it

What I did learn, however, when hiring a car in Ireland a couple of years ago, was that (not sure if this is still is true, but it was in 2012) AMEX was no good in Ireland for this purpose.

At the advice of a friend, who is an Ireland travel specialist, I took out a Mastercard World Card for this purpose and it allowed me to decline the insurance in Ireland if I used the card for the car hire. Renting the car for almost 4 weeks, made the small fee for the Mastercard a no brainer.

She said it was one card available in the US that worked for that purpose in Ireland, since AMEX did not.

Taught me to read the fine print! I'd have shown up in Ireland, waving the old Amex platinum and been sent packing....

5th Sep 2016, 16:54
slight thread drift if I may.. I've just returned a van I hired for the last 3days from Budget rent a van, I decided not to take out the extra insurance policy at £18 per day which would have worked out at almost the same as the rental cost. fortunately it wasn't needed anyway.
But having returned the van the chap at the depot told me that the deposit id put down £200.00 and £90.00 fuel deposit could take between 3 to 7 days to be re-paid into my bank account and it some cases 20 odd days.
I said I'm not happy about that and there was no mention of this when I hired the van, he said oh its not us its the banks that are slow returning the money to customers.
anyone know if this is the norm ?

5th Sep 2016, 17:04
Rubbish, it takes no longer to process a credit than a debit.

5th Sep 2016, 17:27
That's what I thought, surely its just a reverse transaction?
think i'll phone my bank and the hire firms head office tomorrow.

Espada III
5th Sep 2016, 18:15
I also use Queastor. They have the option (for more money) of insuring multiple drivers and different lead drivers. So my wife flies ahead of me to the destination, she picks up the car, I arrive later, get added to the rental contract and we are both covered, even though the policy is in my name.

That costs about £90pa, but compared to the annual cost we would incur on rental company insurance, is a drop in the ocean.

Metro man
6th Sep 2016, 01:10
But having returned the van the chap at the depot told me that the deposit id put down £200.00 and £90.00 fuel deposit could take between 3 to 7 days to be re-paid into my bank account and it some cases 20 odd days.

Was the deposit taken or the funds blocked ? Some companies block a certain amount from your credit card which is available for them to draw on should you damage the vehicle or return it with the tank empty. The money isn't taken off your card but they have a guaranteed payment if they decide to charge. This give you a lower amount of available spend until the block is released.

If the money is actually removed from the card then it's effectively an interest free loan to the hire company until they return it. Multiply the amount by the number of customers at any one time and it soon mounts up. Whilst the money is debited from your card immediately, returning it is usually a more leisurely affair, a bit like an increase in interest rates being applied to your mortgage far quicker than a decrease.

6th Sep 2016, 05:02
OK, let me try again ...

Rubbish, it takes no longer to unblock a credit card than to block it.

6th Sep 2016, 07:36
Ah! metro man your right the funds have been blocked, its not showing on my account that the money has left but my account is £290. lighter than it should be.
But even so why the delay in un blocking the money?

Clare Prop
6th Sep 2016, 12:06
In another life I was a hire car chick. If the renter damaged the car they paid for it no matter what "waivers" they had paid for. The small print is very very small and almost impossible to read for a reason, especially as you are often knackered after a long flight when you collect the wretched thing.
I just tell them I used to work in the trade too and they don't bother trying to make me pay for any "extras"