What is Car Hire Excess Insurance?

PUBLISHED ON Jan, 20 2023


You’ve booked a flight, reserved accommodation and now it’s time to find the car that will take you along your journey abroad. Finding the best car hire deal isn’t just about getting the cheapest rental car. The extras you might be charged at the rental desk can add substantially to the cost and almost double the price. There are many extras such as additional driver, GPS, child car seat. The most expensive of these extras is car hire excess insurance (also known as car hire excess waiver insurance and excess waiver insurance). Car rental excess waiver insurance can cost as much as €25 per day, depending on the hire firm and the location.

So, what is Car Hire Excess Insurance Policy?

When you rent a car, it usually comes with basic insurance included in the price, also know as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), so that you won’t have to pay the full cost of replacing a stolen or damaged car. But the basic coverage is subject to an ‘excess’ meaning that you could have to pay towards repair or theft costs, regardless of who is at fault.

Let’s take a simple example: If we take a car collision that results in a €2,500 cost to repair the damage, and your excess was €900, as an example, under the terms of a car rental agreement you would have to pay an excess of €900 to the car rental company, and the car rental company would be liable to pay the remaining amount.

This is where car hire excess cover comes in as it is there to prevent you from having to pay these hefty excess fee charges and to give you peace of mind should something go wrong.

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Car Rental Super CDW Is Ridiculously Overpriced

Car rental companies sell Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), allowing you to reduce your excess to a very small amount, often zero. This cover has many different names, including excess waiver coverage, Super Cover and Excess Protection. But it’s not cheap and can double the price of the rental.

The SCDW that reduce the excess to zero might cost from €15 to €30 per day. One major advantage of paying the car hire company for SCDW is that the company will not require a large pre-authorisation on your credit card. Pre-authorisations can be as high as €2,500 with some of the low-cost rental companies.

Third-Party Car Rental Excess Waiver Insurance

To avoid having to pay a massive excess and not to double the price of the rental, you can take out an Excess Reimbursement Insurance (ERI) policy from a third party insurance company. This is normally far cheaper, and often more comprehensive than the cover offered by car hire companies, as it will cover tyres, wheels, undercarriage, roof and windscreen. You can buy a daily or annual policy.

By buying excess insurance from CarInsuRent,  you’ll be covered against excess charges of up to US$4,500. CarInsuRent offer annual insurance policies much cheaper than rental agencies. With European car insurance excess waiver annual policies starting from $89.90, this can easily be more cost-wise especially if you are making multiple bookings over a year.

We recommend to take out excess waiver insurance. This means that if you have an accident you would have no excess to pay. The car rental companies offer this cover at the rental desk but it’s a lot cheaper to get it here BEFORE you travel from a specialist provider. We provide coverage for European Car Hire Excess InsuranceUSA & Canada Car Hire Excess InsuranceAustralia Car Hire Excess InsuranceUK Car Hire Excess Insurance.

Car Hire Insurance Explained

Here are some of the commonly used terms relating to car hire insurance:

Collision damage waiver (CDW)  – Provides cover in the event of damage or theft of the vehicle, and is usually included as standard if you are hiring a car in Europe or Australasia. In the USA it may have to be purchased separately.  However, CDW is not complete protection. All it means is that you will not have to pay the full cost of any repairs, but you will have to pay a contribution to repair costs up to an agreed level of ‘excess’ which can be as high as €2,500, regardless of who is at fault. In addition, CDW generally does not cover certain areas of the car, such as the windscreen, tyres and the undercarriage. You will not usually be covered for damage caused while you were breaching the rental agreement, or caused by negligence or using the wrong fuel. You will not usually be covered for damage caused while you were breaching the rental agreement, or caused by negligence or using the wrong fuel.

Theft protection (TP) – This covers you against the full cost of replacing the vehicle if it is stolen while in your possession. Like CDW, this insurance is normally included in the price, and like CDW it does not cover everything. For example thefts as a result of negligence, such as leaving the car keys in the ignition, will not be covered. And there will still be an excess to pay.

Personal accident insurance (PAI) – You may also be offered extra cover for any injury to you or passengers while you are driving the car. However, this would normally be covered by your travel insurance. In the same way, you may be offered cover for personal belongings in the car. This is known as personal effects protection (PEP). Again, this may be covered by your travel or home insurance.

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What does excess reduction mean?

Car rental basic CDW coverage is subject to an ‘excess’. If you have car hire excess waiver insurance, in the event of damage to or theft of the vehicle your financial liability is reduced to zero.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I cancel my policy before my trip?

You can cancel your policy within 14 days of receiving your PDS and Certificate of Insurance. The premium you have paid will be refunded to you in full, as long as you have not started your trip and do not want to file a claim of any sort related to the policy. Once this 14-day period has passed, you can still cancel your policy but you will not receive any refund.

Does CarInsuRent cover Sand and Ash Protection and Gravel Protection?

Our Iceland policy include Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) and Gravel Protection (GP).

What is Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP)?

Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) is a type of insurance coverage that is designed to protect rental cars from the potential damage caused by volcanic ash and sand in Iceland. Certain areas of Iceland still have loose ash and fine sand from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, which can blow around and damage vehicles. SAAP is a specific waiver that was created to cover this type of damage, as Icelandic insurance companies do not include it in their Collision Damage Waiver. This coverage is optional, but highly recommended if you plan to drive in Iceland. Camping Iceland, a local car rental company, claims that SAAP will serve you well and recommends it for all rentals.

When is it Common for the Wind to Toss Sand Onto the Roads?

Sand can be hurled onto roads in Iceland during the Sand & Ash period, which typically occurs in February, March, and April. During this time, the snow has only just thawed out and the grass hasn't grown sufficiently to keep the sand in its place. This can lead to damage to vehicles driving on the roads. It's important to note that sand and dust storms, which can also cause visibility issues for drivers, typically occur when strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere.

What does CarInsurent Sand and Ash Protection in Iceland cover?

Due to the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland the risk of damage to the paint and windows of the cars has increased. Our Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) insurance can cover damage to the paint, windows, lights, plastics, chromes, and wheels of the rental car caused by sand, gravel, ash, pumice, or other earth materials being blown onto the vehicle. The deductible for SAAP insurance is typically 50,000 IKR for all rental cars in the fleet. No other insurance covers these damages and insurance companies refuse to cover them. Even though all safety rules are followed damage can happen when, for example, wind starts blowing more than was forecasted thus moving the sand/ash and damaging the car.   [carInsurent_sc_get_quote_cta cta_text="See How Much You Can Save on Your Car Rental Insurence" cta_btn_text="Get Started"]  

Does the Insurance Cover Lost Keys and Remote Locking Devices?

Yes. CarInsuRent insurance covers lost keys and remote locking devices. Losing the keys to a rental car can be a stressful and frustrating experience. Many people wonder if their rental car insurance will provide coverage for lost keys. Rental car insurance policies may vary in their coverage for lost keys. Lost keys are not typically covered by car insurance for loss or theft, as keys are considered personal property.

Steps to Take If You Lose Rental Car Keys

Losing rental car keys can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but there are steps you can take to get back on the road quickly. Here are some tips based on the provided web search results:
  1. Contact roadside assistance: Most rental cars come with a roadside assistance phone number that you can call in the event of a lockout or lost keys. You should be able to call and have someone sent out to help with your situation. Note that our car hire excess waiver insurance may reimburse you for roadside assistance.
  2. Check for a spare key: Some rental cars come with a spare key that is located in a magnetic box under the car or in the trunk. If you have rented a car that has a spare key, this could be an option to get back on the road quickly.
  3. Contact the rental car company: Contact the rental car company as soon as possible to let them know what has happened. They may be able to provide you with a replacement key or arrange for a locksmith to come and assist you.
  4. Check your insurance policy: If you take out our car hire excess insurance you may have coverage for lost or stolen rental car keys.
  5. Take preventative measures: One of the best ways to avoid losing rental car keys is to make them harder to lose. Attach a big, noticeable lanyard or keychain to the keys, something that will make a noise when moved, to help you locate them quickly. Additionally, always double-check that you have the keys with you before leaving the car.
  We encourage you to read our full guide to learn everything you need to know about travel car hire excess insurance.   [carInsurent_sc_get_quote_cta cta_text="See How Much You Can Save on Your Car Rental Insurence" cta_btn_text="Get Started"]   Please see the Policy Wording for the complete terms and conditions.

Find the answers you’re looking for to the most frequently asked car hire insurance questions as well as other questions relating to our products and services.

Visit the FAQ page