If you are planning to hire a car this summer, you are probably aware that you are going to need some element of insurance – a minimum of third party cover in order to stay road legal in most countries of the world.
You are also likely to want to protect yourself against the risks of theft or accidental damage to the vehicle – threats for which you remain personally liable for the duration of the period of hire. This requires a further level of insurance.
Are there ways in which you might save money on that insurance?
It is suggested that there are essentially two possible course of action – one appearing to be eminently straight forward and apparently hassle-free, the other having greater potential for actually saving you money on your car rental insurance.
The easy way
UK and European car rental companies, in particular, seem to go out of their way to help the customer. Insurance against third party risks, theft and accidental damage is seen as important both by the company and its customers, so a package is neatly bundled into the overall cost of hiring a vehicle.
It may be difficult to disentangle just how much you are paying to hire the car and how much to insure it, but the all-inclusive price may save you the bother of having to do so. You might even overlook the need to establish just what the insurance covers – and, perhaps more importantly, just what it excludes.
Any insurance package is also likely to include an excess, for which you remain financially responsible in the event of loss or damage to the vehicle. Since the excess is typically in the region of £1,000 to £1,500, the rental company may also offer you excess insurance.
The smarter way
It may be more difficult, but if you are interested in saving money on your hire car insurance it still pays to shop around.
Indeed, a Guide to Car Rental published by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association recommends that you specifically ask the hire car company about what is covered in any insurance package, the nature of any exclusions and the amount of excess you may need to pay in the event of loss or damage.
A major money saving precaution, however, lies in your avoiding any excess insurance package offered by the rental company. These are widely considered to be an expensive way of protecting your liability and still leave you responsible for the cost of any damage to certain areas of the vehicle – typically, the roof, undercarriage, wheel, tyres and windows.
Instead, you might want to consider the competitively priced car hire excess insurance products marketed by independent specialists which may be bought entirely separately before you embark on your journey.
These typically include any damage to the whole of the car (so the roof, tyres and underside etc), giving more comprehensive cover than some car rental packages.
You might consider standalone car hire excess from such a UK-based provider to represent better value for money and to offer a more secure and reliable prospect of prompt reimbursement of any excess you are required to pay to the car rental company in the event of a claim.