Selecting a rental car can be fun. Looking for the model you want and searching for the best deal or special offer can be rewarding. Often however, you won’t actually get the model you thought you were going to get when you go to collect it.
Looking for the best deal possible on rental car insurance doesn’t have quite the same obvious appeal but it can save you lots of money and potentially, from needless expenditure.
Once the rental car has been found and the rates checked is when it is necessary to sit back and consider the insurance position. Does the car come with all the types of insurance you need? Is the cover under each category sufficient to give you peace of mind? Are their any costs and exclusions that are perhaps not immediately obvious when looking at the headline price? Is there really any alternative to taking what the rental company are offering by way of insurance cover?
The car rental deal may or may not come with some insurance included in the price. If it doesn’t, the rental company will offer it to you as separately purchasable elements. In such a situation, you are under no obligation to take their offerings – you can purchase your own cover from a direct insurance provider at a fraction of the cost the rental company would charge.
In other cases the rental company may include some or several components of insurance into the rental price. In those situations you can check with the rental company to see if they will offer a ‘rental only’ price without the cost of their insurance built in. That may also give you the possibility to purchase your own at a much lower cost though some rental companies may be unable to offer a ‘rental only’ price if the rental price is a special deal that includes mandatory insurance.
If the car rental company’s rental car insurance is included in the rental price and cannot be unpackaged from it, you may also wish to check it carefully. That’s because their basic insurance often excludes some areas of the rental vehicle from damage cover (i.e. you’ll have to pay if they’re damaged).
It’s also possible that their third-party cover for damage you may do to others is capped at a maximum payout level that’s far too low given high court awards following an accident. If all that’s not enough, it is worth checking the excess on their policy. That’s the amount of money you may have to pay towards the costs of any accident – typically this will sit at somewhere between £500 and £1,500 or euro / US Dollar equivalent.
Even if you have rental car insurance from the car hire company, you may feel that it is just not enough to cover the risks. In that case you can once again check out the direct insurance providers on the Internet. They also offer rental car insurance that exists to ‘bridge the gaps’ in the car rental company’s basic cover.
If you have to pay the rental company for excess following an accident or for repairs to areas of the rented vehicle not covered by their insurance policy, your own direct policy would reimburse you. The policies and offerings of these direct insurers may be worth a look if you’re keen to save some money at the same time as getting better insurance cover in place.