Excess Insurance Explained

Whether you regularly hire a car, or you occasionally rent a vehicle for holidays and long journeys, you’ll be aware of the ‘excess’ on your car hire contract.

You’ll also have an excess to pay if you have an accident in your own car. This is likely to be a sum of the voluntary excess you chose when buying the policy, plus an additional compulsory excess figure.

In both cases -- car hire and personal car ownership -- the excess is very likely to be several hundreds of pounds, and could even run into the thousands. Excess insurance is therefore a low-cost way to avoid having to pay the full excess if damage is found to your own car, or to a vehicle you rent.

man holding keys to explain excess insurance

Why is Excess Insurance Important for Car Hire Customers?

The majority of car hire companies charge some kind of excess on their policies, but if you’re expecting the figure to be similar to a regular car insurance policy, you might be surprised.

Many car hire companies charge much higher excesses than you’d see on a regular insurance quote.

In addition, car hire companies tend to inspect their cars very carefully, and will also bill the full excess figure for even the tiniest scratch. Of course, not all of them do this. But if you return a hire car with damage, you can expect to pay out the full whack in many cases.

Car damage is sometimes inevitable. Often, it just happens during normal, safe driving; you may pick up a ding or a dent from a piece of gravel, or damage something while driving on an uneven, unfamiliar road.

The risk of potentially then paying out hundreds (or thousands) of pounds could be enough to ruin your holiday. Excess insurance ensures that you’re protected from that.

Is Excess Insurance Worth it?

If you hire a car regularly, then excess insurance is something of a no-brainer. You’ll save money by buying one policy per year, which will then protect you each time you hire a car during the term of the policy. Be sure to check with your insurer about any restrictions; some policies only apply to hire within the UK, for example, while others offer global cover.

If you own your own car, or you hire a car infrequently, we still recommend excess insurance for peace of mind. Why? Because, in most cases, your excess insurance cover is significantly cheaper than the excess you’ll be charged if damage is found. You can purchase a policy that just covers one vehicle, which is great for anyone who owns their own car and would struggle to pay the full excess after damage.

This means you can hire a car with confidence, knowing that the final bill will be affordable. And it could also mean that you bring down the cost of your personal car insurance by pushing your agreed voluntary excess that bit higher.

For more information on insurance for your valuable possessions and gadgets, speak to the experts at Row by calling 0203 411 9409. You can also get a quote online by visiting

*The information in this blog is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Please seek a professional for expert advice as we can not be held responsible for any damages or negative consequences upon following this information.

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