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European Car Hire Excess Insurance
Whether you’re jetting off on a European city break for a long weekend or you’re planning to spend a few weeks visiting several different cities across Europe, a rental car can give you the freedom to explore your destination at your own pace.
And if the worst happens and you’re involved in an accident while driving your rental car you’ll be pleased to know that car hire companies in Europe automatically include car insurance bundled with the rental agreement…although you will still be required to pay the insurance excess if you have to make a claim.
While that might sound like a fairly small risk, research suggests that driving on the right-hand side of the road results in more accidents than driving on the left – and the vast majority of Europe drives on the right.
Needless to say, the risk of an accident is even higher if you’re visiting from the UK, because unlike the locals you’re used to driving on the left and so you may well have an instinct to veer to the wrong side of the road.
That’s why it might be a wise idea to consider taking out car hire excess insurance before you jet off on your European break – that way you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you won’t be lumbered with an expensive insurance excess even if the worst does happen.
Car Hire Excess Insurance when you’re visiting Europe – a no-nonsense guide
Do rental cars always come with car insurance?
It depends on the country you’re visiting, but for a European trip you’ll be pleased to know that car hire companies in Europe do include car insurance as part of the rental agreement, and the cost of that cover is already factored into the rental price you’ve been quoted.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this insurance may be third party only, though, which would mean you’d be insured for damage to a third party’s car or property but not for any damage sustained by the vehicle you’re driving.
It’s also important to understand that these car insurance policies will always carry an insurance excess, which is the amount you’ll be required to pay yourself in the event of a claim…and in some cases this excess can be surprisingly high on rental cars.
That’s why it might be a good idea to consider taking out European car hire excess insurance before you set off on your trip.
How much might a European car hire excess be?
It can vary depending on the car hire company you’re using and the make and model of car you’re renting, but in many cases it will range between £500 and £2,500.
Will European car hire excess insurance cover this full excess?
Yes, in the vast majority of cases your full excess should be covered if you take out European car hire excess insurance and subsequently have to make a claim.
In practice most providers do cap the payout amount on this type of insurance policy, but this cap is almost always significantly higher than a typical car hire excess on a European car rental. For instance, a typical cap might be £5,000 or £6,000.
Is car hire excess insurance mandatory in Europe?
No, while ordinary, run-of-the-mill car insurance is a legal requirement in every country in Europe, this is included as standard when you rent a car and you are under no obligation to take out a separate policy that covers the European car hire excess.
However, given the fact that the excess on a rental car can sometimes amount to £2,500, it’s certainly worth considering a European car hire excess insurance policy even though you’re under no obligation to do so.
Can car hire excess insurance cover more than one European country?
Yes, if you take out European car hire excess insurance you should be able to find a policy that will cover you to drive in multiple European countries.
So, as an example, if you were planning to hire a car in Spain and then drive across France and Belgium before returning the rental car to a depot in Germany you could take out European car hire excess insurance that would cover you for full extent of that trip.