Only 29 percent of motorists questioned in a new study were aware they could take out a car hire excess insurance policy BEFORE they left the UK.
Holidaymakers face excesses of £500 to £2,000 in the event of an accident, with the amount pre-authorised on a credit card for the duration of the hire period. Excess insurance can be arranged at the rental desk, but it comes at a cost.
Arranging excess insurance in the UK is often cheaper than paying for an expensive, but similar, hire car company policy abroad.
The cost leaves many travellers disgruntled, with 70 percent of the motorists surveyed by the RAC describing the excess insurance offered by rental firms as “expensive”.
It’s little wonder, then, that 17 percent of British holidaymakers admit to risking it and not taking out one of the hire car company’s policies. Of those who ‘risked it’, 23 percent said they were worried about the consequences of having to pay such a large amount on their credit card.
RAC head of insurance Marcus Latchford said: “While rental agreements in Europe generally include collision damage waiver, theft and third-party liability insurance, customers also have to decide whether or not to protect themselves against the large damage excess amount that is temporarily held on their credit card while the car is on hire.
“Taking out the rental company’s excess insurance policy is usually very costly which leads to many travellers just taking the chance that nothing bad will happen to their hire vehicle and the excess will not be charged to their card.
“By far the best course of action is to take out specialist insurance to cover the excess amount and any additional damage repair costs incurred via a specialist policy bought in the UK. The trouble is not enough people realise this is an option so they end up losing out financially by buying expensive hire car excess insurance policies, often with a lower level of cover.
“We need to make people aware that very affordable UK alternatives exist so it becomes second nature to take out a policy before travelling.”
The RAC has launched its own car hire excess insurance, with cover available from £2.99 a day or £42.99 for an annual policy. In contrast, rental companies charge an average of £9 a day for similar cover.