"Monday, January 10th, 2011
One of the topics which always seems to crop up in forums and queries to customer support these days is that of excess insurance products.
When you hire a car the rental agreement usually includes cover for collision damage waiver and theft but the customer is still liable for the excess, which can be anything from £500 to £1,500. Excess charges apply even if the damage to the car wasn’t your fault and there have been many tales of spurious ‘damage’ claimed by rental companies and the poor customer losing out as a result.
Because of this nearly half (45 per cent) of drivers now take out excess cover to reduce their liability to zero in the event of a crash or damage to the hire car. The average price for such cover is around £10 per day on top of the rental charge, and one hire company actually charges £15 per day. This adds up to a whopping £105 per week on top of the hire fee.
Hire companies are increasingly pressurising clients to take out this excess cover when they pick up the car but by shopping around on-line before you pick the car up, it is possible to pre-buy a policy for as little as £2.99 per day. Often the products are more comprehensive than those offered by the hire companies as well.
And this is where the problems start, because with hire company staff set targets to sell as many of these products as possible, they can make customers really feel as if they can’t have the car at all if they don’t purchase their product. With most people just wanting to start their holiday or get to their business meeting, it’s no wonder so many capitulate and just sign up.
So what do you do if you have pre-bought an excess policy but the hire company staff are trying to tell you that you have to buy a product from them? First of all, stand your ground and decline the car rental company’s excess cover at the counter when the car is collected. Remember, you don’t have to have an excess policy at all – it is purely your choice – but if you do then you are free to buy it wherever you like.
There is no need to show your policy either as it is the policy holder who is covered, not the rental vehicle. What you will have to do though is to authorise payment of the hire firm’s excess on your credit card. If the car is damaged or stolen, the car rental company will charge your credit card and you then claim for reimbursement on your policy.
There are plenty of companies offering excess cover at reasonable rates as well so it pays to shop around online.
For example, we work with Questor Insurance to offer our customers a policy which covers the excess on the car rental agreement for just £4.99 per day or £44.10 for an annual policy. In addition, this product also provides baggage, personal accident, key, curtailment, drop-off and locked out cover as standard, and the company insures drivers up to 84 years of age. The policy also coves the tyres, windscreen and under body of the vehicle – items that are often excluded by car rental company’s alternative offerings.
Insurance4carhire also offers cover not only for the total amount of the excess for which you are liable if the car is damaged or stolen, but also for damage to the roof and undercarriage of the car, and windows and tyres. They provide annual cover for only £49.00 which give excess cover of up to £2,000 and includes up to seven additional drivers.
As you can see there are plenty of cost-effective alternatives to the hire companies’ products available.
But really, the situation is quite amusing when you think about it. You pay an insurance fee to cover you in the event of damage occurring to the car, but this doesn’t cover all of the cost. So you are then asked to take out another policy, to cover the insurance policy excess."
If you are looking for car hire from Carrental.co.uk follow this link http://www.insurance4carrental.com/Carrrentals.htm