British Holidaymakers Could Be Paying More Than Five Times Over The Odds For Car Hire Excess Insurance That May Not Even Provide Full Cover

Share Article

Tourists warned that some car hire companies still charge an excess even with their top-up cover

Stephen Ebbett, director, specialist insurer

Many customers won’t even be aware, up until that point, that there is even such a thing as excess insurance, and that it might be sensible to take it out to avoid facing a hefty excess charge if they damage the vehicle.

Thousands of Brits planning to hire a car this summer could be paying significantly over the odds for excess insurance because they take it out when they pick up their rental, rather than pre-buying online, according to research carried out by insurer

Unsuspecting holidaymakers could end up paying over five times more for excess insurance on their vehicle by only purchasing cover when they are at the rental desk, through the car hire company, rather than shopping around and buying through a specialist online insurer.

Excess insurance is offered by car hire firms as a top-up insurance to reduce the customer’s liability on the rental in the event of a crash or damage. In some cases the excess is reduced to zero, but some companies still charge an excess even with the top-up cover. carried out phone research into the six major UK car hire firms; Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, National and Alamo and found that all six companies charged substantially more for excess insurance taken out by customers at the point when they picked up their car, than it would have cost pre-buying through a specialist online insurer.

Two of the largest car hire companies in the UK, Hertz and Avis, charged more than £15 per day for excess insurance, compared to taking out excess cover through an online insurer such as, which costs from just £3.02 per day or £21.14 for a standard seven-day car hire in the UK and Europe.

The research also revealed that even taking out excess insurance cover through the hire car companies did not necessarily mean that customers were covered for all eventualities. For example, Avis excess insurance cover does not include damage to the tyres and windscreen, and customers are asked to pay a further £2 a day if they want to include damage to these parts of the vehicle.

And although the sales representative at Europcar said their excess insurance does cover all damage to the vehicle, on their website the small print reveals that underbody, tyres and windscreen damage may be excluded from the cover depending on the country of destination.

To research the car hire excess insurance market, took a standard four-door Ford Focus or equivalent, seven day car hire, travelling in the UK or Europe during June, and found that Hertz was the most expensive of the six major firms, charging a total of £109.24 for their excess cover, which brought the excess down from £550 to zero.

Hertz was closely followed by Avis, which charged customers who chose to take out excess insurance £108.50 for seven days of cover. However, unlike Hertz, Avis cover only reduced the excess from £850 down to £100. Hertz also had the highest excess on its Collision Damage Waver of any of the six car hire companies.

According to the results of the research, Europcar and Alamo offered the cheapest excess insurance, with seven days of cover costing just £56, almost 50% cheaper than Hertz, both reducing the excess to zero. National charged £65 for seven days of excess cover, while Enterprise was slightly more expensive, charging £76.93 for a week’s cover. However, while National’s excess insurance reduced the excess to zero, Enterprise’s cover only reduced the excess from £750 down to £250.

The comparison table in the attached file shows for the six major car hire companies in the UK, the cost of taking out excess insurance cover and to what amount the excess is reduced to. The companies are ranked from the company offering the most expensive seven-day excess insurance cover down to the one offering the least expensive.

Stephen Ebbett, director, comments: “Consumers will be shocked to discover that they could be paying over five times more for excess insurance cover, and that even taking out the car hire company’s own excess insurance doesn’t necessarily mean they are covered for all eventualities. Our research revealed just how much extra customers are paying by taking out excess insurance at the car rental desk rather than buying it in advance online through a specialist company.

“For many customers, it’s only at the point when they’re picking up their hire car that they discover their insurance cover has a high excess and are then offered the excess insurance option. In fact, many customers won’t even be aware, up until that point, that there is even such a thing as excess insurance, and that it might be sensible to take it out to avoid facing a hefty excess charge if they damage the vehicle.

“Unfortunately, by the time it is explained to a customer that the Collision Damage Waver has a high excess charge, it is too late and many customers have little choice but to take out the hire company’s excess cover for peace of mind, unaware that they could have bought the cover online for considerably less.

“If anyone is thinking of hiring a car this summer in the UK or Europe, just a few minutes online could save them paying over the odds for excess cover that may not be fit for purpose.”

Notes to editor:

1. carried out its research between 9am and 5.30pm on May 23, 2011, by calling sales representatives at Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Enterprise, National and Alamo, to obtain information relating to excess insurance cover.

2. For more information, please contact:

Jonny Stevens
T 020 7851 4757
M 07977 119 579
E jonny(at)

3. About

Online insurer specialises in travel, car hire, gadget and pet insurance. Whether you are looking for a ski holiday, golf break, long stay trip or a business trip, offers great value travel insurance you can rely on at fantastic prices.

4. car hire excess insurance:

Protectyourbubble’s car hire excess insurance is designed to cover the excess payment, as well as other items such as damage to tyres, windscreens and the underbody of the car, which are often the financial responsibility of the hirer and can be expensive. If you do take out car hire excess insurance through your car rental company and not Protectyourbubble, be sure to check that damage to the glass, tyres and the underbody is included, otherwise you could be stung with a large and unexpected bill should damage occur to any of these vehicle parts while in your care.

Protectyourbubble’s Platinum excess insurance benefits include:

  •     13 months cover for the price of 12
  •     Prices from £3.02 a day or £42.49 for a year
  •     Select the cover to suit your hire car needs – whether for one day, or several weeks a year, in the UK, Europe or further afield.
  •     Insure up to six drivers on one policy
  •     The policy allows you to insure an additional six drivers on your policy at no extra cost regardless of the duration of your hire car contract.
  •     Includes cover for damage to glass, under-body and tyres as standard

Additional info:

Useful link:

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dominic Hiatt
Rhizome PR
020 7851 4757
Email >
Visit website