Does Travel Insurance Cover Car Hire excess?

04 October 2018

When travelling abroad, taking out travel insurance is something highly recommended and failing to do so can prove financially devastating. In regards to travel insurance and car hire, the former comes with a host of limitations within the UK and car insurance is often seen as more advantageous.

When travelling, choosing to hire a car can be a great way to explore the local area and certainly offers freedom that you may otherwise not have. However, it’s common knowledge that like anything when you are abroad, renting a car can not only be confusing but also worrying, even if you an experienced driver. Not only may you not be familiar with the rules of the road, road signs and traffic warnings in a different language, but there’s also the rental agreement and insurance policy to understand. Car hire firms offer insurance for theft and third-party liability a lot of the time but it’s likely you will still find yourself at risk of being hit with a large excess in the event of any of those instances.

Some travel insurance premiums provide coverage for rent cars, or rather offer it as an option add-on to cover car when you travel. This coverage ensures that if a hire care is damaged or stolen, the traveler will not be eligible to pay the full amount of any costs and repairs, as well as additional rent charges imposed by the car rental company.

Some travel insurance plans include coverage for rental cars or offer it as an optional add-on to cover car rental when you travel. Essentially, this coverage ensures that if a traveler rents a vehicle and it’s damaged or stolen, they won’t have to pay all of the cost of repairs and additional rental charges imposed by the car rental company.

Driving abroad on highway

Car Hire Firm’s Policies

In regards to the car hire’s insurance policy, car rental collision coverage does offer some benefits up the policy limit if a vehicle rented by the hirer is lost or damaged due to theft, vandalism, civil unrest, natural disasters, fire or more commonly, a collision. Coverage here will pay the sum of the lesser cost of repairs including rental charges enforced whilst the car is being repaired or in some cases, the actual cash value of the car. Travelers looking to hire car should be reminded that this coverage is essential to other forms of car insurance provided through other car insurance policies or a credit card meaning damages will be paid from the travel insurance car rental coverage prior to claims being paid via alternative insurance sources.

However, not everything is covered with car rental collision insurance. This policy does not provide losses if the insured traveler rents a trailer, motor cycle, recreational vehicle, truck or camper. It should go without saying but the policy does not provide losses if the insured is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the damage occurs or if the insured or any passengers are engaged an illegal or illicit act when damage occurs. The policy also does not cover losses for personal possessions that may be left inside the vehicle and coverage is not provided for damage to third party vehicles, property or persons.

Travel insurance may now seem like a safer bet, but it can in fact cause a whole number of problems for rental cars, hence car insurance should be preferable. The travel insurance cover for rental cars comes down to protecting you if the car is damaged due to fire, hail and windstorms, flooding, theft, vandalism and collision. This is basically anything that is out of your control while you are in possession of the car. Travelers looking to hire a car often prefer car rental coverage with their travel insurance as they have a point of contact in the event of a travel mishap, it costs significantly less than coverage provided by the hirer, its primary coverage and often provides higher limits than that offered by the rental counter. That said, travel insurance is not the same as car insurance you have taken out on your own vehicle. It also does not extend to campers, motorcycles and trucks nor does it cover personal liability.

Penny Pinching When Renting a Car

If you’re looking to save money on car hire, you should go for the basic package only as car rentals look to make most of their profit with add-ons you don’t necessarily need but will cost you a small fortune. If you are looking to take our insurance with the car hirer, do not fall victim to buying something known as “collision damage waiver” that will supposedly cover any excess, this usually costs anywhere from £500-£1000, not covered by the basic insurance. Therefore, you should look to arrange your own cover via car insurance.

When you do rent a car, the sum you pay generally includes basic insurance cover for a major crash or write-off but leaves you with a bill for the first £1000. Even if there are minor scratches and scrapes, you may be billed for the total damage so be sure to inspect the car before you leave the hire firm, take photographs of any existing scratches for evidence, for the interior and exterior. Record the mileage if you are given a limit, inspect the spare wheel ensuring it is fit for its purpose and check the car is full of fuel.

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