When you book a hire car do you assume that Fully comprehensive or Collision Damage Waiver means you’re well protected? Thats the way I used to look at it until I was asked at the car hire desk if I wanted to take insurance to cover the excess on the insurance. It turned out that I would be liable to pay the first €1000 of any insurance claim, so if I got a stone chip in the windscreen I would have to pay for the replacement!
Collision Damage Waiver is usually included in the rental price of a hired car and covers damage that occurs to your vehicle. This means that the car you’re driving is covered, but there is almost always an excess and in most destinations there are exclusions to your cover.
This isn’t usually hidden by the car hire companies but it is easily overlooked when you are hiring a car, particularly if the booking form points out that If you have an accident or there is damage to your vehicle, the CDW covers the cost of the repairs. However, the excess is the ‘first part’ of any repair amount that you will be expected to pay yourself. It’s quite usual to see this in the range of €500 € to €1500, and Items such as windscreen, tyres, under carriage, replacement locks, replacement keys and towing charges are often not included in the CDW.
Whilst writing this I went online and selected one car hire ad at random and found this text on the booking page:
Super Loss Damage Waiver – For total peace of mind, select Maxi Protection Cover to substantially reduce your liability in the event of theft, attempted theft, collision or damage.
Reduces your liability from EUR 1000.00 to EUR 50.00.
EUR 116.62 Total
Thats an extra €116.62 on the cost of 2 weeks hire for a budget range car in Europe, almost 40% added to the quoted cost! Fortunately you can take your own policy to cover the full insurance excess, and on that same car hire the cost is about €35, or €40 if you want to cover lost keys and mis fuelling. The good news is that if you take more than one holiday a year you can take out annual cover at a cost of around €45, making it even better value.
It is worth noting that it is important that the excess cover is in place before you pick up the hire car as once you take the car, you have left it too late to take seperate insurance.
It is not essential that you have excess cover but it really is worth considering, as even the bill for a cracked windscreen can take the shine of a fantastic holiday. So if you are going to do it then make sure you don’t leave it to the car hire company, do it yourself and make a huge saving. After all, €80 is enough for a good night out when you do it in Cyprus.
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