Car hire insurance
We do not think that customers should have to waste hours reading all the small print in order to find out about car hire insurance. When you book your rental car through us, we include essential insurances. Below you’ll find more information on different types of insurance. Keep in mind that, in most countries, there will be an excess, meaning that you will have to pay a small part of the damage even if you have insurance cover. However, you can avoid the excess by paying for the car with a credit card that has excess insurance, see more under “Excess insurance”.
As a general rule, never buy any insurance once you’ve arrived.
Insurances that are included through carhiretips.co.uk
As long as theft protection (TP) and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is included, rest assured that you have a basic cover. You’ll easily be able to tell whether or not TP and CDW is included in the search results. Below we’ve explained the terms CDW and TP:
- CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) – A basic insurance that covers all costs in the event of a collission or accident. The customer is only required to pay an excess, i.e. the deposit. Cover for damage to the roof, undercarriage, wheels and tyres is normally not included in CDW.
- TP (Theft Protection) – As the name implies, this insurance covers car theft or attempted car theft. The customer will still have to pay the excess.
We recommend that you do not waste money buying more insurance than you actually need. If you want to be sure that there won’t be any more costs after you’ve payed for the booking, select the “full cover” option and make sure to follow the traffic rules. Below you’ll find explanations of a few different insurances that car rental companies offer.
- SDW (Super Damage Waiver) – SDW is an add-on you can choose that covers the excess. It is normally around 18-20 pounds per day, but this will depend on the car you choose. We do not recommend adding SDW. Instead, pay for the car using a credit card with excess insurance, or buy a much cheaper additional insurance.
- SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) – SLI is a casualty insurance that covers third party damage. It is often sold in the US. Warning: Don’t book you rental car from the US (that is, using an American IP address).
- PAI (Personal Accident Insurance) – PAI covers damage to persons in the car.
- PEC (Personal Effect Coverage) – PEC is an add-on that covers damage to or loss of personal effects. In our experience, car rental companies only offer this to make extra money. We do not recommend buying PEC.
Home- and content insurance
In some countries (but not the UK), many home- and content insurances will include a travel insurance. This, however, usually doesn’t include an excess insurance. Therefore, it can be worth getting an add-on excess insurance.
Debit and credit card
We recommend using a debit or credit card with excess insurance. In general, excess cover can only be claimed abroad. This does not, however, apply to Santander cards and American Express Platinum cards. We recommend getting a Santander card as they are free and include excess insurance, usually up to about 1200 – 1500 USD. Remember to read the bank’s terms and conditions before you book. In order to make claims, there is often a certain percentage of the holiday cost that needs to be payed using the card. Also be aware that some insurances only allow claims if the damage exceeds the excess.
- American Express – The Platinum Card has a car hire insurance which includes excess insurance. The entire cost of the vehicle must be payed with the Platinum card. In some situations there are other requirements, so make sure to check this before you book! Read about the terms here.
- Britsh Airways Cards – Some of the cards have excess insurance. Read more here.
- Diners Club – No excess insurance.
- Santander. Some of the cards have excess insurance, read more here. Also read about travel insurance here.
In general, insurance claims will be rejected if the driver has consumed alcohol over the legal limit or violated the terms of the car rental in some other way. For example, you won’t get insurance if you drive the car in areas not allowed by the contract.
How to reclaim the excess
Below we’ve briefly described the process of reclaiming the excess from Santander’s excess insurance, using a real example. In this example, only the rental car was payed with the Santander card, and the damage was a small scratch on the front of the car.
- When we returned the car, we payed for the damage with the Santander card. This entailed both the actual damage and an administration fee. We saved all papers and receipts.
- When we got home, we contacted Santander Bank via phone. Once we’d been referred to their insurance company, we reported how and when the damage was sustained. (It’s a good idea to have the specific amounts taken from the account written down on a piece of paper during the phone call.)
- After answering a few questions about what had happened, we were told that the money would be in our account within 3-5 working days. Smooth, fast and easy!