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Car hire excess insurance

Protect yourself from unexpected costs with car excess insurance

  • Covers you if your hire car is damaged or stolen

  • It could also cover extras such as tyre damage, windscreen and window damage and underbody damage

  • Choose between single-trip or annual cover for the UK and Europe, or worldwide

What is car hire excess insurance?

Car hire excess insurance helps protect you against the costs that come as a result of your hire car being damaged or stolen. The excess is usually the first part of any claim made.

When you collect your car, you'll have the option to add optional extras on to cover things such as personal injury and breakdown cover.

Car hire excess cover is a policy which shares similarities with travel insurance, in that you either buy it as a single or annual policy. While car hire agreements typically offer some level of insurance for your rental, excess cover could give you better peace of mind.

What does car hire excess insurance cover?

To start, you should decide whether you want a single-trip or annual policy. Here are the main differences between the 2 policy types:

  • Single-trip will cover a one-off car rental for up to 365 days
  • Annual covers you for unlimited rentals over a 12-month period for up to 31 days. This could be increased to 62 days depending on who your insurer is

This is a break down of things you can expected to be covered for on both single-trip and annual policies*:

Cover details Amount
Excess reimbursement
Up to £10,000
Loss damage waiver
Up to £10,000
Up to £750
Administration charges
Up to £500
Up to £500
Key cover
Up to £500
Cancellation cover
Up to £500
Up to £300
Drop-off charges
Up to £300
Personal effects
Up to £300
Locked out
Up to £100

You may also be covered for things such as tyre damage, scratches to the paintwork and windscreen damage. Cover levels can vary between providers, so be sure to check your policy details before buying.

*Based on Confused.com quote data for both single-trip and annual policies, October 2023.

How does car hire excess insurance work?

If you have to make a claim, here's how car hire excess cover usually works:

  • Before hiring a car, take out a car hire excess insurance policy with the appropriate level of cover in place. Any cars that you've already hired before the policy starts won't be covered, and you must be between the ages of 21 and 84 to get a policy.
  • After hiring your car, if you're involved in an accident or the car suffers any damage, the company who you rented the car from should cover any repairs. This should all be in your rental agreement which also comes with a damage waiver, effectively covering any damage to the car you’re using at the time.
  • The damage waiver will come with an excess, which will be your contribution towards any damage to the car. This is where your car hire excess cover comes in. Any excess you pay will be refunded once the claim is complete.

Car hire excess insurance covers the cost of any excesses for you, and could save you up to £10,000.

What our car insurance expert says

"A car hire excess insurance policy covers you against most potential excesses that hire car companies could charge you for, including misfueling, key cover and cancellation cover. Hire car companies can charge £1000's for various excesses on top of what you have already paid for your car.

"If you hire cars regularly or want a policy to cover you for longer than 14 days, you may want to consider an annual policy to try and save some money."

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
Motor Insurance Expert Confused.com logo

Do you need car hire excess insurance?

The short answer is no, you don’t need to have it. The default scenario is that if you have an accident in a hire car or it suffers any damage, you pay the excess, which can be anything between £100 and £10,000. If, however, you’d rather not do that, then car hire excess insurance is worth considering.

With this kind of cover you can make sure a small amount of money upfront covers you in the case of damage to your hired car which could be considerably more. In some cases, the policy is designed to cover excesses of up to £10,000 for things like excess reimbursement and loss damage waivers.

When it comes to car insurance, you don’t need additional insurance when you rent a car. Any car you rent should come with third-party car insurance as standard. This might appear on the rental agreement as third-party liability cover.

Why choose Confused.com?

  • With over 20 years of experience having started in 2002, we launched the first comparison site for car insurance in the UK. Since then, we've saved millions of customers both time and money.
  • Whatever you use our website for, it's free. After you've bought insurance through us, we get paid a small fee by the insurance company for getting them your business.
  • We're 100% independent and not influenced by any insurer. The prices we show you on site are based on the details you give us and what is available at that time.
  • We regularly review and update all of the content on our website. Our experts do this by ensuring the information we present meets our customers' needs and is 100% accurate.

Get covered against insurance excess costs

Need more help? Take a look at our expert guides

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Page last reviewed: 23 October 2023

Reviewed by: Louise Thomas

Confused.com’s excess insurance solution is provided by Questor Insurance. Questor insurance is a trading brand of Riverside Underwriting Limited, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office; Bryant House, Bryant Road, Strood, Rochester, Kent, ME2 3EW. Registered in England no: 06201617. We are an intermediary and receive commission from Questor Insurance, which is a percentage of the premium if you decide to buy through our website.