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Car hire excess insurance is an essential form of motoring cover that will pay for the excess on a rental vehicle if the car is damaged during the hire period. With excesses running into hundreds or thousands of pounds -- and hire companies charging full excesses for the smallest damage -- it is sensible to consider getting one of these policies before you leave.

The cost of car hire excess insurance is usually very manageable, but check the terms carefully before signing up.

Where and When Are You Covered?

When you buy a travel insurance policy, and you opt for multi-trip, you then need to decide which territories you’ll be visiting during the time your policy is active.

Multi-trip car hire excess insurance policies generally work the same way.

So if you’re only going to be holidaying within Europe this year, it makes sense to buy a policy that covers you in Europe only. If you’re going to venture outside Europe, be sure to get a policy that provides annual worldwide cover.

In terms of timing and length of policy, the main thing to check is that the cover won’t expire before you fly back. So you’ll need to check:

     The start and end dates; you can start the policy on the first day of your first trip to get maximum time from it, so double-check that this date is selected as it may not be the date you buy the policy

     Check whether the insurer will cover you for the entire trip; there might be a limit on the number of days you can be away, and long-term visits might exceed that.

Buying Online vs Buying On Arrival

Car hire excess insurance is available via two key routes. You can either purchase it when you hire your vehicle, or you can buy it separately -- usually online.

We always recommend that you buy it online, because:

     Buying online gives you more time to review the terms of the excess insurance and determine that it covers you in the right circumstances

     Prices are generally more competitive via third parties, and buying online gives you chance to compare and contrast

     Online policies tend to have more options; for example, you can choose either an annual policy or a single trip one; buying from your insurer may mean you only have one option.

Queueing in the hot sun with kids, or luggage, is no fun at the best times. At the end of a long flight, nobody really wants to be stuck at the car rental desk for any longer than absolutely necessary, and you probably won’t want an extra set of terms and conditions to read.

Getting your cover sorted beforehand does away with that extra hassle. You can simply attend the rental office, pick up the keys and go -- being sure, of course, to decline the excess insurance provided by the hire company. It is sensible to take a print-out showing details of your own car hire excess insurance so that you can demonstrate you already have cover in place.

*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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