That sneaky insurance excess charge is one of the bugbears when you hire a car on holiday. Just when you think it’s all over, the desk jockey whips out a pen and points to the fact that the excess isn’t covered, so if a local drunk hits your hire car then you’ll be out by up to two grand, before the rest of the damage is covered. Nasty!
Howver, RAC Insurance has launched a specialist car hire excess insurance policy in a bid to give drivers a far more affordable way of protecting themselves against the high charges associated with renting vehicles.
Drivers often feel they have no alternative to taking out expensive excess insurance policies offered by hire car companies so they aren’t left having to pay often exorbitant excesses of between £500 and £2,000 in the event their vehicle suffers some form of damage.
Customers are obliged to pre-authorise the excess amount on a credit card for the hire period. This is either taken by the rental company if the vehicle is damaged or not if it is returned undamaged. Traditionally, customers have to make a choice of whether to take out the hire car company’s own expensive excess insurance or risk not doing so in the hope nothing will happen to the vehicle and they will not have to pay the excess.
The third – but least known – option is to take out a specialist, much cheaper and much more comprehensive excess insurance policy in the UK.
RAC head of insurance Marcus Latchford said:
“Taking out the car hire 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 that might be 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 or, worse still, having to pay the excess.
“We need to make more people aware that very affordable UK alternatives exist so it becomes second nature to take out a policy before travelling. This is why we decided to enter the market as we believe a hire car excess policy with the RAC’s name on it will give people some much-needed peace of mind when renting vehicles.
“As the RAC aims to provide drivers with everything they need for their motoring lives, at home and abroad, having a straightforward insurance policy that removes some of the stress from hiring a car is a great addition to our broad range of insurance and motoring services products.”
In order to bring the product to market RAC Insurance has partnered with Zurich Insurance Group’s specialist car hire insurance company, Halo Insurance Services.
Ernesto Suarez, founder and chief executive of Halo Insurance Services, said:
“The chance to work in partnership with the RAC to grow and develop this product is truly exciting. While we undoubtedly have one of the strongest products in the market, we know by joining forces with RAC Insurance the opportunity to make so many more people aware of the product and drive uptake is massive.
“Having a name that is so trusted among UK drivers will inevitably instil confidence to purchase based on the knowledge that customers will be better protecting themselves against a costly experience in the event of a hire car mishap.”
RAC Car Hire Excess Insurance cover, which is available from just £2.99 a day or £42.99 for an annual policy, is available for: UK and Europe; USA and Canada, and worldwide. Its features include:
- Excess protection up to £6,000 sum insured
- Protection against fire, theft and vandalism
- Cover for bodywork, tyres, roof, windscreen and undercarriage – something often not covered by car rental companies’ excess insurance policies
- Cover for towing, breakdown and misfuelling excess costs
- Daily single trip and annual multi-trip formats
- Up to 65 days’ continuous cover on any one rental agreement
- The option to book daily single trip and annual policies up to 180 days in advance
- Cover for up to nine additional drivers as standard when named on rental agreement