Exploring a new place by car is one of the most convenient and exciting ways to get around. There’s a freedom in being able to pick your own times rather than hanging onto a bus timetable, maybe enjoying an extra hour or two at the beach, or striking out to find your destination’s hidden treasures off the typical tourist trail. Even picking what’s on the radio and what setting the air conditioning’s at.
But driving in unfamiliar surroundings carries its own risks. Not every country has the same driving customs – and some can be outright hair-raising. Add to that the chance of a mishap while you’re parked, or from an uneven road surface, or even an airborne stone, and a rental car can suddenly become very expensive.
…but Watch the Wheels
The price of a blown tyre on a rental car won’t just be that of a new part, and it’s the same with windscreen, windows, mirrors, doors and bodywork. A minor bit of damage can run to several thousand pounds’ worth of repair bill. Why? Most rental companies charge the full excess on the car’s insurance, which can comfortably get into four figures for car excess. Travel insuranceoften doesn’t cover it as standard. Typical excess refund policies can also leave out things like glass and rubber damage (i.e. windows and wheels, the most common repairs).
So what to do? The best insurers offer car excess travel insurance, meaning you can walk away from any incidents stress- and liability-free.
Excess Reduction, or Removal?
Policies vary in how much cover you get: some bring the excess payment down from exorbitant levels to a more manageable one. Others cover the excess entirely, meaning you can get on with your holiday with complete peace of mind.
Undercarriage and lights damage, multiple or single vehicle accidents, theft, and return of the vehicle to a depot if the driver is medically unfit, are common stipulations, but may or may not be included in non-specialised policies. The costs of damage often increase in wealthier countries or with a larger or more luxurious car – with some exceptions. Levels also vary from country to country, and also between rental companies, so it’s wise to check your T&Cs for the car excess.
Travel Insurance: A Tailored Solution
Your broker can advise you more specifically on this, but it’s definitely a good idea to insure yourself before you arrive. Cover direct with the rental companies is one of their main sources of revenue, so can be overpriced. The terms also change: for example do you need multiple drivers? Or are you comfortable with a larger element of risk to keep costs down? Either way, a policy is out there that’s right for you. Spend a little time before you go, and you can save yourself a lot more than just spending money.
Ethan Bailey is an experienced adventure traveller and insurance expert with the team at Let's Go Insure. Ethan’s passion is to inspire his clients to go just that little bit further, deeper and higher on their travels and his expertise in providing the ideal insurance cover allows them to do just that. If you're looking for the best car excess travel insurance Let's Go works with the most experienced underwriters, intermediaries and insurers to offer a range of competitive insurance without compromising on cover.