Picture yourself cruising down the highway, with not a care not in the world. Screech! That could all come to a crashing halt should you skid off the road or slam into the car ahead. Not so carefree right!?
You may be aware that travel insurance can bail you out of a number of tricky scenarios including injury, illness, luggage theft, trip delay and more. But did you know that most comprehensive policies will cover your car rental excess as well?
Whether its Germany’s notorious Autobahn or an all-American ride down route 66, relaxed road tripping requires some careful planning and preparation. Travel insurance car hire excess will ensure you'd be covered for a bingle (big or small).
What does travel insurance car hire excess cover?
Usually a built-in feature on both domestic and international policies, the rental vehicle excess benefit will cover you for the for the excess on your Rental Car insurance policy, should your hire car be accidentally damaged or stolen (while in your custody). Additionally, some travel insurers will cover you for the cost of returning your rental vehicle car to the nearest depot if you are found medically unfit to drive.
If you are involved in an incident, your credit card would be charged by the hire car company and you would then be reimbursed by your travel insurer for your hire car excess (this could range from $3,000-$5,000). Alternatively, your policy would cover the cost of repairing the car if that works out to be cheaper than the excess. In the event of a claim, you must provide a copy of the repair account and/or receipt showing amount charged to your travel insurer.
Your rental car excess would be covered if:
In the event of a claim, your rental car excess would be reimbursed if:
- The rental vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle accident while you are driving.
- The car is damaged or stolen while in your custody.
Your rental car excess would not be covered if:
Your rental car excess claim would be denied if:
- You were in violation of your rental agreement.
- You were drunk or you (and your passengers) were under the influence of illicit substances.
- You did not hold the correct licence for the vehicle you're operating.
Reduce your car hire excess with travel insurance cover
Rental car companies will often try to sell you an extra charge to reduce your excess. Typical per-day rates can be anywhere from $25 to $34 a day. By comparison, travel insurance rates are cheaper on a daily basis and will simultaneously cover you for additional expenses- that means more value for less money. Sounds like a no brainer to us!
Purchasing travel insurance that has 'rental vehicle excess' included can save you a bundle. It is important to note that the rental excess included in travel insurance is not rental vehicle insurance. The rental excess component is the amount that you are liable to pay in the event of accident. You are advised to secure separate insurance for the injuries or damage that your use of a hire car might cause to other people and their property. This is usually included in the daily price of the hire car, or you can often arrange such insurance with your hire car company.
If you have an accident you will have to first pay the excess and then submit a claim to your insurer for reimbursement of the excess. You may also be required to provide a written report confirming you are liable to pay your hire car insurance excess.
Ready to rev off? Before you do, consider the impact that a car accident could have on your travel budget. Could you really afford to pay the excess should things take a turn for the worst. Buying a travel insurance is usually cheaper than paying to reduce your excess at the rental car counter and provides added benefits.
When buying travel insurance, take the time to research the various car hire excesses across the board. Just a little extra time comparing policies could make a wheel big difference!
More rental car excess options
An alternative to the travel insurance savings, is to buy rental vehicle excess insurance from a standalone company. These policies are designed specifically to cover you for any car rental excess you may become liable for. These policies usually include circumstances that are excluded by the rental company and travel insurance policies such as, damage to bumpers and trim, windscreen and tyres, single vehicle accidents and hitting the poor wildlife crossing the road. The main benefits of a standalone policy are:
- Cover for all drivers listed on rental agreement. No need to purchase a policy for everyone. That's a bonus!
- Cover provided for motorhomes and campervans at no extra charge.
- There is no distance restrictions for domestic journeys which may apply to travel insurance.
- No price hikes if you've had a history of pre-existing medical conditions.
Of course, this purpose built policy doesn't come with all the extra travel trimmings of a travel insurance policy such as overseas medical, luggage and cancellation.
Not heading on holiday?
You don't have to be going overseas on holiday to benefit from cheaper car hire excess insurance. Aussies and visitors to Australia can purchase standalone car hire excess products. Whether you're hitting the city streets of Sydney in a beeping Barina, or exploring the Red Centre in a Jeep, there are plenty of ways to save on your rental car insurance.
Say no to the rental car ripoffs. Kindly refuse the extra charges to 'reduce your rental car excess' at the hire car counter. There are bargains to be had elsewhere.
Hope your trip is a smash! (#not)