Top

Car Hire Insurance: Smarter Alternatives

Car wheels

UPDATE (August 2013): Please note that two of our previously recommended providers, Insurance4CarHire and iCarHireInsurance, have unfortunately both stopped offering their policies to non-EEA (European Economic Area) residents. Thankfully, Worldwide Insure policies are still available. In fact, they have recently slashed their already rock-bottom rates by 20-25%! For more details, see the section below on car hire insurance providers.

Car hire excess insurance is an expensive business but we’ll tell you how to save big time. In fact, getting the right car rental protection could cut your costs by $100s.

We’ve revamped this page by popular demand to provide all the information you need to ensure you are well covered and also added a few recommendations for campervan hire insurance. Before you proceed, you may want to make sure you understand all the car hire insurance jargon and terminologies.

REMINDER: Always, always take the time to read through your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement, paying attention to exactly what is and isn’t included, under what circumstances any cover will and will not apply and the maximum combined payout per section/category as well as any limits per claim. Finally, acquaint yourself with the procedure and any reports required should you need to make a claim.

What you need to be aware ofTop ?

Red traffic lights

Standard excess inclusion
All car hire throughout Australia comes with a basic level of insurance commonly known as Standard Liability or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). That often still leaves you liable for up to about A$3,000 for any damages to the rental car (this excess amount varies with different companies so do always check)

Are you under 25
If you are between 21-24 years, standard liability excess levels tends to be higher (e.g. a standard liability excess of A$2,500 renters 25+ years could be A$3,000 for 21-24 years)

Standard exclusions
Single Vehicle Accidents (SVA) and Windscreen, Headlights and Tyres (WHT) cover are often excluded and has to be added on. In addition, insurance does not cover damages to the overhead, underbody, interior or roof of the car – for all these you’ll just have to keep your fingers crossed.

The high price of getting extra protection the conventional wayTop ?

Expensive Ferrari

First, some indicative prices of taking out first-level/cheapest Excess Reduction i.e. reducing from A$3,000 to A$330 (not 0), and without WHT or SVA :

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty: A$24-27 per day
Smaller local independent companies: A$12-16 per day

The independents tend to have fewer options available like not offering SVA, WHT or Full Protection.

A quick calculation and you’ll find taking out Excess Reduction protection on a 7-day car hire can blow up your final cost by a staggering A$80-200! But don’t take it and you leave yourself open to even more charges if you damage the car.

So how now brown cow? Well that depends on you. Evaluate what level of insurance you feel comfortable with. Naturally that decision will very well be influenced by the price of taking out additional car hire insurance and here are some great alternative ways to save big while being covered:

You have choices! Save big time with alternative car hire excess insuranceTop ?

Jump for joy

For Australians travelling domestically, inclusive travel insurance is the way to go. If you’re an Australian going overseas or an international traveller coming to Australia, take out a specific car hire excess insurance policy.

With an inclusive Travel Insurance policyTop ?

We’ve uncovered these travel insurance policies that include rental car excess coverage as one of its benefits. Our emphasis for selection is on the car rental excess cover and price but check how the other benefits suit you.

For Australians, the travel insurance providers we’ve recommended typically cover campervans, 4WDs and vans as well as standard rental cars. Do check if any excess applies in the event of you make a claim on the car hire benefit. Their rates are usually staggered rather than continuous (e.g. price will stay at A$30 for 6-8 day policies), meaning different companies can offer value depending on your exact required duration so you’ll do well to compare a couple.

For Australians
Single trip Travel Insurance with Car Hire Excess Cover
Unless you are renting from Thrifty, Europcar or Hertz (all whom have current standard liabilities of A$3,300), a policy offering A$3,000 cover (most common) will suffice. But there are numerous levels of car hire excess coverage offered with travel insurance plans, ranging anywhere from A$1,000 up to A$6,000.

  • A$3,000 Cover
Columbus Direct has one of the lowest rates around estimated at A$31 for a one week policy and up to A$88 for a maximum of 60 consecutive days for Domestic cover. However, Columbus also has a A$125 excess on any claims.
  • A$4,000 / A$5,000 Cover
Columbus Direct also has a Premier policy with A$4,000 rental vehicle excess cover at A$36 for 1 week up to A$101 for 60 days (a 30-day travel insurance policy comes in at A$69). A A$125 excess applies.
Alternatively, Travel Insurance Direct (with up to 6 months continuous cover) only costs A$40 for a week and a competitive A$74 for a month with a A$100 excess. This excess can be dropped to $0 for an extra $25. While not quite the best value, TID also allows you to increase the cover at A$25 per A$500 increment.
Budget Direct’s Platinum Plan (max. 62 days) comes in at A$42 for 1 week and A$88 for 1 month with A$0 excess.
If higher cover is required, 1Cover insures up to A$5,000 for A$44 for 1-week cover and A$89 for a month with A$0 excess.
All companies provide insurance for rentals within Australia whether the vehicle is crashed, damaged or stolen.
  • A$6,000 Cover
Worldcare’s Australia-only policy offers a substantial A$6,000 cover at a low A$37 for a week up to A$115 for a maximum of 67 days in the event the vehicle is stolen, crashed and/or damaged with A$0 excess.
Tripcover is a slightly pricier but is the only specialised car rental insurance provider which also offers up to A$6,000 cover with a choice of either a A$300 or A$0 excess on claims.
Annual/Multi trip Travel Insurance with Car Hire Excess Cover
The best value annual cover is from Cover More’s Travelsure option: A$116/year covers you for unlimited journeys per year with max. 30 days consecutive car hire each time. If you only need 15 consecutive days per hire, you can get it for a mere A$84/year. Great value! On top of that, their $4,000 rental vehicle benefit can be increased in A$500 increments by up to an extra A$3,500 for A$16-17 per increment. There is a A$50 excess in the event of a claim.

Another great annual policy provider is Worldcare who also allows unlimited trips within a CALENDER year with a maximum duration of 37 days per journey and a generous A$6,000 rental vehicle excess cover for only A$144. A A$100 excess applies that can be removed for A$25.

However, if the other travel insurance benefits of these two providers don’t suit you, you can consider these companies: Zuji Australia offers a Domestic policy for A$233/year inclusive of $3,000 rental vehicle excess cover. Columbus Direct’s A$290 affords you Worldwide coverage (excluding USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong & Japan) or A$320 for complete global cover. These rates come with A$3,000 rental car cover. For about $45 more, you can get the Premier plan which includes A$4,000 excess cover. Both plans have a A$125 excess in the event of a claim.

For International visitors to Australia
For overseas visitors, we have not unearthed many travel insurance policies that include rental car cover. 1Cover is one that offers a A$2,500 excess cover. We recommend you continue reading below for taking out specific car hire excess insurance. If you know of good travel insurance deals, do share your find with us!

 

With a specialized Car Hire Excess Insurance policyTop ?

There are a handful of third party insurance companies specializing in covering just your car rental excess for a lot less than the car rental companies’ offers. For hires under 20 days, taking a single trip daily rate policy will usually be the way to go. Any longer and you’ll want to look at getting an annual policy.

Features of the Typical Policy
These policies commonly insure you for up to A$3,300 (£2,000) per claim and A$5,000 (£3,000) per rental agreement and have NIL Excess. They are available to anyone aged between 21-74 years (some allow older renters) and applies to standard non-luxury rental vehicles up to the size of vans that have 8 seats or less. They do not cover motorhomes or caravans. As a great bonus perk, the car hire insurance providers often cover damages to the undercarriage, windows and tyres which is almost always excluded in standard coverage. These are TYPICAL features but remember to always double check the exact terms and conditions.

The Procedure for Claims
Car hire excess insurance differs from the Excess Reduction options offered by car rental companies in that the former covers you, not the rental car. The procedure would be you rent a car with the Standard Liability i.e. NOT taking the Excess Reduction option, and then if you incur any damages, the rental company will still charge you up to the limit of the standard excess e.g. A$3,000. You will then claim reimbursement from the car hire excess insurance company. Be sure you acquaint yourself with all the documentation and procedures required for making a claim.

For Australians
Single trip car hire insurance
If you’re looking for short-trip coverage within Australia, you’ll probably find better value going for a domestic travel insurance policy that includes car rental excess cover since for almost the same price, you’ll get all the other extra travel protection.

However, if for some reason they don’t suit your needs, Worldwide Insure is a well-known British-based providers that offer worldwide car hire insurance including cover for rentals in your home country. It is an excellent choice if you’re looking to hire abroad too. WWI costs as low as A$3.70 (£2.20) per day for worldwide rentals excluding home country with £3,000 (A$5,000) excess cover. To have home country rentals included (Australians need to choose this Deluxe option), it will come in at A$4.90 (£2.90) per day and provide £5,000 (A$8,400) excess reimbursement along with a bunch of other extras.

Annual/Multi trip car hire insurance
For about A$95 (£55) with Worldwide Insure, you can get annual car hire insurance that allows you to be covered for unlimited rental instances over a 12-month period. This is a fantastic rate since A$95 can normally only buy you a maximum of 3-5 days of excess reduction from car rental companies. WWI’s policy allows you to hire continuously for up to 31 days per agreement. There are no restrictions on how far away from your home your rental must take place (some other providers impose limitations). Note that for Worldwide Insure to cover rentals in Australia, you’ll need to select the Deluxe package.

Before deciding, read the travel insurance section.

Note: As highlighted at the beginning of the article, due to a very recent change of policies, a couple of our previous suggestions – iCarHireInsurance and Insurance4CarHire – can no longer cover non-European residents. We know they are working to get on board a different insurer so they may provide policies to worldwide residents but at the moment these are not yet available.

For International visitors to Australia
Single trip car hire insurance
Worldwide Insure for international residents has excellent daily rates from A$3.70 (£2.20) per day. If you’re from UK or Ireland, Car Hire Excess is also another comparable value choice.
Annual/Multi trip car hire insurance
Worldwide Insure has one of the most competitive annual rates for non-Australians at A$80 (£47)/year. The policy allows up to 31 days of continuous rental per agreement for unlimited instances over the year and includes £3,000 (A$5,000) cover. Top up an extra A$14 (£8) and you can get £5,000 (A$8,400) of cover along with a bunch of other extras like baggage cover, personal accident, lost keys, etc.

If you’re from the wider European region, you’ve got more options! As highlighted at the start of the article, these providers used to cover residents from any country but have recently limited their offerings to the EU/EEA region. A$100 (£60)/year with an annual policy from iCarHireInsurance will allow unlimited rental instances and with a longer 60 days continuous cover per rental agreement. However, they impose a A$3,400 (£2,000) single incident limit. Insurance4CarHire also has great prices particularly if you can take advantage of Family/Partner packages where you can get two policies for less.

Campervan / Motorhome Excess InsuranceTop ?

Campervan / Motorhome Hire Insurance

Appropriate insurance for campervan hires in Australia typically are rather hard to come by but we’ve put together a few possible options for you to look into.

For Australians
Questor Insurance is the single specialised motorhome insurance provider we’ve discovered. Aussies will need to select their ‘Worldwide’ policy which will cover up to a £5,000 (A$8,400) excess and 30 days of continuous rental. Windscreens, underbody and tyres are included but not the interior of the campervan. Daily rates are available at €11.60 (A$17)/day with a A £100 excess applying to any claim.

Worldcare has a substantial A$6,000 cover that includes any “campervan/motorhome that does not exceed 4.5 tonne”. However, there are two possible issues with this option: Firstly, some campervan rentals come with a higher standard liability than A$5,000. The policy also does NOT cover damages to third party property – only for damages to the campervan itself.

TravelInsuranceDirect is similar to Worldcare in that it is a domestic travel insurance that comes with Rental Vehicle Excess cover that includes campervans for up to A$4,000. However, they have an option of increasing your Excess cover by up to an additional A$2,000 at a cost of A$25 per A$500 increase. So for an extra A$100, you can get A$6,000 worth of excess cover. Again, note that this policy does not include damages to third party property caused by your campervan.

Finally, 1Cover offers excess coverage of up to A$5,000 with the same 4.5 tonne limit campervan/motorhome clause.

For International visitors to Australia
Worldwide Insure has a worldwide Motorhome Hire Excess Insurance policy that will cover your rental for theft or damages at a rate of £7 (A$12/day) for UK/Ireland residents and £8.50/day (A$14.50/day) for everyone else. Their policy provides an adequate £5,000 (A$7,300) of cover. There is a £100 excess per claim. Unfortunately, they do NOT cover rentals in one’s home country so if you’re permanently living in Australia, this option is out the window.

Top ?

Comments

97 Responses to “Car Hire Insurance: Smarter Alternatives”

  1. Dan G on September 18th, 2008 2:15 am

    This is helpful advice, thanks!

  2. Ross on February 1st, 2010 3:42 pm

    Thank you so much! was the exact article I was looking for!
    greatly appreciated

  3. Olli on February 2nd, 2010 10:57 am

    Thanks for this article! Saved me heaps of money!

  4. Car Hire Insider on February 3rd, 2010 12:48 am

    Glad to be of service! :)

  5. Olli on February 16th, 2010 5:41 pm

    Is there a company which includes campervans such as hippiecampers in their insurance?
    thanks.

  6. Car Hire Insider on February 17th, 2010 11:38 am

    Olli, unfortunately we’re not aware of any company willing to cover campervan hire. It’s a hard pill to swallow when buying insurance from the campervan companies can end up inflating your final cost by over 50%, but as it stands, it seems that’s the going rate for peace of mind. We’ll be sure to share it with all our readers should we eventually come across a better alternative.

  7. Robin Willis on February 23rd, 2010 6:12 pm

    While I agree the separate insurance is worthwhile, there is one point of detail missing from most publicity about them. The basic insurance does not cover the excess as regards damage to third party property. So, for example, if I were to drive into your garden I would not be able to claim for the cost (up to the hirer’s excess) of restoring your lawn or rebuilding your barbie.

    This is patently a much less common issue than damage to the hired car but it’s a pity the companies follow the traditional approach of leaving gaps in their cover (unless possibly you buy the more expensive policies with SLI designed for the USA etc).

  8. Traveller on March 27th, 2010 7:03 pm

    I think most of travel insurance policies cover legal liability for you when you cause damages to property owned by a third party regardless whether the event is due to a car accident. Usually there is a limit on this liability section and vary on your premium.

  9. julie on August 10th, 2010 7:27 pm

    the other point that i think is relevent and not mentioned is that most hire companies will require a bond of the amount of excess of your hire which means if you take out the third party type policies then the hire company will still be looking for their $3000 bond to be left at time of rental. This is what forces me to take the hire companies policy.

  10. Car Hire Insider on August 10th, 2010 9:25 pm

    Good point Julie. Thanks for pointing it out!

  11. Joffa on August 18th, 2010 2:36 pm

    You have to pay the hire car company first before you can claim on travell insurance.

  12. mark on September 21st, 2010 3:24 pm

    sorry, i dont get the point that campervans cannot be insured with these alternative companies as there is no exclusions of campervans with worldwide travel insurance and insurance4carhire. am i wrong? whats the point of ollis comment? thanks

  13. Richard on September 29th, 2010 6:38 pm

    Thanks so much for this advice on the different travel options. It is really really helpful.

    I was looking at the 1cover policy and then read Olli’s question about insurance for campervans. It states the following “Rental Vechice” means a campervan/motorhome that does not exceed 4.5 tonnes…..

    Not sure what a typical campervan weights but I am looking at the toyota hi-top and I’m certain it is not more than that so I think some campervans must be covered.

  14. Car Hire Insider on October 6th, 2010 7:09 am

    Mark: Apologies for the delayed response! Unfortunately, yes, there are exclusions on motorhomes/campervans for both the two companies you mentioned, Worldwide Insure and Insurance4CarHire. If you read their policy documents closely, you’ll see under the Exclusions heading, one of the items listed has something to the effect of:

    “The rental of certain vehicles namely, motor homes, trailers or caravans, vans, trucks, non-passenger carrying vehicles, vehicles that carry more than 9 people including the driver, motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, off-road vehicles and recreational vehicles.”

    However, as Richard points out above, 1Cover does cover campervans below 4.5 tonnes.

  15. Car Hire Insider on October 6th, 2010 7:13 am

    Richard: You’re most welcome and you’re absolutely right! Thanks for highlighting that little detail on 1Cover for us… now we know a provider that has coverage for at least the “lightweight” motorhomes!

  16. sam ali on January 3rd, 2011 11:19 am

    I would like to obtain a yearly car hire excess insurance and wondering if i could obtain this over various cars (not simultaneously though).

    I would like to have an aceess for $3000.

  17. Car Hire Insider on January 5th, 2011 11:01 am

    Sam Ali: Yes this is possible. As long as the rentals aren’t simultaneous, the annual policies work exactly as you require. Have a look at Worldwide Insure – they have excellent prices and cover up to £2,000 in excess (approx. A$3,100 at today’s exchange rates).

  18. Sue on January 20th, 2011 9:34 am

    This is all great advice. I have just sold my car and I’m looking to use a hire car for day to day trips. Unfortunately, Worldwide Insure and Insurance4CarHire only offer insurance for car rentals 150km away from where you normally live. So people looking for annual care hire insurance because they don’t own a car can’t use either of these two policies.

  19. Car Hire Insider on January 20th, 2011 9:11 pm

    Sue: In fact we were just about to update our page… Worldwide Insure has removed their 150km away restriction on car rentals in one’s home country – hurrah! This means you’re now good to use their annual policy! :)

  20. Debbie on February 23rd, 2011 1:20 pm

    Does anyone know where you can get travel insurance that includes $5000 car rental excess but also includes windscreen, tyres etc? Most I have looked at only mention car rental excess reduction.

  21. Car Hire Insider on February 28th, 2011 11:07 pm

    Debbie: Unfortunately this is hard to come by. We aren’t aware at the moment of such insurance being offered. What you can do is hire your car from a company whose coverage already includes windscreen, headlights, tyres, etc. Then your travel insurance should cover them by default as part of the car rental excess coverage.

  22. Sonia on March 2nd, 2011 1:50 am

    http://www.economycarrentals.com say that they will pay back the excess if you have an accident… I am guessing that they back-to-back your rental similar to above. Can anyone confirm, or know if it is worth taking the risk of having another party involved in your rental. They seem to have an international presence, and seem quite professional, however I would appreciate any confirmation that their service/product is reliable and that they are good for their promises.

  23. Car Hire Insider on March 3rd, 2011 10:54 pm

    Sonia: Yup, economycarrentals.com is based out of Greece but has affiliates worldwide. In a sense, using their excess cover is not much different from obtaining travel or car hire insurance – you’re involving a third party as well. So that in itself is not really a risk. But this does mean that if you damage the car, you’ll have to pay the car rental company for the excess first before applying for a refund from Economy Car Rentals.

    As with all companies we’ve heard of both positive and negative experiences but the latter is usually as a result of miscommunication or misunderstanding. At the very least, there’s a track record of customers who were refunded as promised. Just ensure you know what ISN’T covered e.g. lights, tyres, undercarriage, etc (read more here) and know precisely what you need to make a claim e.g. police report, damage report. Also, as they aren’t the company on the ground, it’s best after booking you contact the actual company and reconfirm any important details. Hope that helps!

  24. Natalie on March 4th, 2011 2:38 pm

    I’m still a bit confused… sorry :( (

    I have hired a car through Hertz and am wanting to get cover through 1Cover travel insurance.

    When I spoke to 1Cover, they said that they do not cover third party costs.

    I will include the Hertz terms & conditions at the end of this email, but what I am wanting clarification on, which I can’t seem to get a straight answer from either Hertz or 1Cover is:
    Will the 1Cover insurance cover the costs of the other car/property ie 1Cover will pay the entire $3300 excess required by Hertz or will they only cover the costs associated with the hire car (up to $3300 excess required by Hertz) and then I will be required to pay for the third party car/property damages??

    https://www.hertz.com.au/rentacar/misc/index.jsp?targetPage=Hertz_Australia_Terms_and_Conditions.jsp

  25. Car Hire Insider on March 6th, 2011 1:57 am

    Natalie: Yup, these guys are pros at confusing people! You’ve got a keen eye at spotting the gap. There are two parts to third party liability:

    1. Bodily Injury to Third Parties
    Thankfully, all car rental companies in Australia are required by law to provide “Compulsory Third Party Insurance” (CTP) which indemnifies you in the event of any injury to another person while driving the rental car. So you don’t need to worry about that.

    2. Damaging Third Party Property
    For this, you are covered by car rental companies as part of the Standard Liability which caps your exposure i.e. if you were to collide into someone’s house, you would pay up to a max. of $3,300 (for Hertz) to repair both the rental car and the third party’s house.

    Now, 1Cover is right. Under their Rental Vehicle Excess coverage, they will only cover for the portion of damage to YOUR rental car, not a third party’s car/property. The Personal Liability benefit also falls short – they don’t cover any injuries or damage to third parties as a result of you using a “mechanically driven vehicle” which includes cars. So in essence, I believe you would be completely covered for the excess cost related to damages to the rental car with 1Cover, but you’ll pay for the portion related to third party property damages.

  26. George on April 11th, 2011 3:51 pm

    I have found your website as a last resort and it seems pretty good.
    I am travelling in Italy and renting for 6 days but all the car hire reviews have some horrific horror stories of car rental scamming.
    Whereby they give you a car and you return it the way you found it and then when you have returned home they hit up your credit card for huge excesses, claiming you have damaged their vehicle.
    Do you have any good oil on which rental companies may be more reliable than others for aussies in Italy.
    Cheers George

  27. Car Hire Insider on April 13th, 2011 2:06 am

    George: Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with Italy car hire. I suggest at least sticking with the big brands like Hertz, Sixt, Europcar and the like. Then take extra precautions like taking pics of your car when you pick it up and when you return it, try to get them to sign off on the spot that the car is in good condition. Reading all kinds of reviews on various companies to avoid a scam never really helps much as every company will have its share of bad feedback whether real or as a result of misunderstanding.

    At least, from my personal experience, I rented from Europcar last year when I was in Italy, even making an after hours drop-off when the office was closed and thankfully all went well. My two cents are just go for the big companies and keep your fingers crossed! Have a great trip and maybe when you get back, you can share your experience with us.

  28. Paul on April 14th, 2011 12:12 am

    Even if George hires from a big brand like Hertz or Sixt, beware as I’ve had run-ins with both of them over alleged stone -chip damage to the windscreen. Insider is spot-on to advise that when you collect the car, check it over carefully, outside and inside, and check the screen carefully for pre-existing stone chip damage. If the screen is wet, ask the car hire company to wipe it clean and dry and then check it over (last time I got caught on stone chips that were not visible in a wet area of the screen). When the car is returned, get a confirmation that all is ok.
    Regards

  29. Walter on April 14th, 2011 2:28 pm

    Does anybody have a solution for a policy covering car hire excess when you are not travelling outside of your city of residence? I am hiring a car while my own is being repaired.
    I am appalled at the cost of excess reduction at hire car companies but all the solutions on this site seem to require you to be travelling.
    Any ideas would be appreciated!

  30. Car Hire Insider on April 15th, 2011 1:26 am

    Paul: Helpful advice. Thanks for sharing!

    Walter: As a matter of fact, we do! :) Worldwide Insure is the one company that actually covers rentals within your home country. And they charge a much cheaper rate of only £3.50 (A$5.50) per day. If you need cover for any longer than 18 days, go for their annual policy. Good stuff.

  31. Walter on April 15th, 2011 10:12 am

    Many thanks, CHI.
    You have saved me from the greedy clutches of hire car add-ons!

  32. Jo on May 9th, 2011 9:38 am

    Bodily Injury to Third Parties when renting a car in the USA

    Earlier, you mentioned that all car rental companies in Australia are required by law to provide “Compulsory Third Party Insurance” (CTP) which indemnifies you in the event of any injury to another person while driving the rental car.

    Can you advise what the equivalent insurance is in the USA? Europcar in its online T&C states: ‘All the vehicles in Europcar’s fleet are insured against Bodily Injury and/or Property Damage that you might inflict on a third party as a result of an accident involving the Vehicle. The amounts for such liability cover are available on request in the country of rental.” I presume that this is the CTP equivalent(?)

    It is very difficult to get hold of the T&C document however that may detail the specifics (ie the amounts for such liability cover), that you will sign upon picking up the car. When I requested a quote over the phone, I was told that all insurance information was on the website – but fear not – I was fully covered. On their website I clicked: ‘Specific Rental Terms per country.’, the link merely said ‘For Bookings to the U.S.A, please contact your Country Reservation Office’.

    Might this be a Circular argument?

  33. Car Hire Insider on May 12th, 2011 10:06 am

    Jo: Yes, if Europcar’s T&C are as you quoted, then that indeed is the equivalent of CTP. In the US, this third party cover (usually up to the likes of $1 million) is often known as Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) and whether it is included in a standard rental often varies from state to state depending on their laws. Naturally, this makes it complicated for them to list the precise terms for each rental location and therefore, they ask you to contact their office. Makes life more difficult for us, sadly.

    For example, although you will need it for your car rental, I believe it is not compulsory for rentals in California to include SLI! One of the reasons for this is that for Americans, it is not uncommon that their credit card company automatically offers this cover if they were to charge their rental to their card. However, for international visitors, you will have to take a closer look to understand whether it is included, and if not, how much it will cost you. Don’t forget that there are third party insurers that specifically address the car rental market in the USA by providing both SLI and CDW cover for less than getting it directly from the car rental companies.

  34. Robert on May 22nd, 2011 2:03 pm

    Having done a bit of investigation into one of the deals mentioned above I feel I ought to point out a major gotcha.

    Budget Direct’s supposed $4000 of cover on their Platinum travel insurance is, if you look closely at their PDS, actually the total maximum they will pay out for ALL claims under that section, where the maximum PER CLAIM payout is $500.

    People that work for insurance companies writing fine print like this into their contracts are not fit to live.

  35. Car Hire Insider on May 25th, 2011 2:17 pm

    Robert: I checked it again and I think you’ve misunderstood their PDS. This is the exact statement that precedes the $500 maximum you were talking about:

    “In addition, we will pay up to the amounts set out below as per the Plan selected for the cost of returning your rental Vehicle to the nearest depot if your attending registered medical adviser or dentist certifies in writing that you are unfit to do so during your journey.”

    i.e. They will pay up to the full $4000 for any excess you are liable to pay the car rental company as a result of damages/theft and, within that $4000, also cover any cost of returning your rental car up to $500. That’s what they meant by the sub-limit – not that each claim is limited to that.

  36. julian on May 26th, 2011 9:49 am

    “Car Hire Insurance: Smarter Alternatives”, Thanks “car hire Insider”, am I right in interpreting this as the third party insurance covers you for practically nothing then? If I have an accident then its likely I crashed into something, and provided the damage to what ever I crash into is more that $4000 I will be paying all of the excess, and the third part insurance company (ie 1Cover) nothing ?, when do they pay out then, is it when I crash into something of no value (a tree?)

  37. Car Hire Insider on May 30th, 2011 12:18 pm

    Julian: No, Iet me try to clarify. Third party insurers like 1Cover will cover you for any excess you are liable to pay the car rental company up to e.g. $4000 for damages to the rental car.

    Say you rented from Hertz – their standard rental comes with an excess of $3,300. So, even if you completely smashed your car, you would pay only up to $3,300 for its repairs/replacement. Now, that is still quite a lot of loss to be exposed to so that’s where you get extra insurance from third parties like 1Cover. If you bought 1Cover’s travel insurance that includes e.g. $4,000 rental vehicle excess cover, then even if Hertz charged you $3,300 for damages to your rental car, you could claim that full amount back from 1Cover.

    Where 1Cover DOESN’T pay is for damages to third party property with your rental car. It won’t pay to fix other people’s stuff that could be charged to you. It covers for any excess Hertz requires you to pay as a result of damages to YOUR rental car. I hope that makes sense!

  38. steve on June 13th, 2011 9:27 pm

    Can you help with NZ motorhome insurance. Its $50/day for no excess which really bumps up the holiday costs for 4 weeks. However, if I use third party insurance then the motorhome company will debit me $7500 and use if required, but return if no accidents.If an accident happened would I need to pay for damge from that $7500 bond and then get it reimbursed by the third party insurer? Any suggestions?

  39. Car Hire Insider on June 15th, 2011 3:44 am

    Steve: Yup, that’s how third party insurance works. You’ll have to pay up whatever is due to the rental company first before you submit your claim and get refunded by your insurance company. There’s really no other way about it unless you get the $50/day rate from the hire company itself. We’ve recently added a few recommendations for motorhome insurance – Worldwide Insure will cover NZ hires (as long as its not your country of residence) for only about $17/day.

    Alternatively, if you are an Australian resident, you could consider paying a cheaper daily rate to the campervan company to reduce the excess to a lower level (as opposed to nil) and then get travel insurance from someone like 1Cover who will cover the remaining rental excess for $83 over 4 weeks. That should still work out less than the $50/day.

    In any case, read the fine print to make sure you know precisely the level of cover you’re getting. Hope that gives you a better idea of your options.

  40. Tony on June 19th, 2011 10:40 pm

    Some great alternatives mentioned. My situation is that I want to hire a prestige vehicle from Hertz, but not part of a “trip” or holiday. The excess is $5,500 or $7,700 depending on circumstances and insurance through Hertz is $54 per day. I have taken travel insurance previously when travelling to cover car hire excess, but does travel insurance cover situation where just hiring a car and not acually travelling to a destination? Also is a prestige car (Mercedes) a standard car for Cover More’s insurance policy purposes? With the specialised car hire excess insurance policies, they only seem to cover overseas destinations – correct? Thanks

  41. Car Hire Insider on June 20th, 2011 11:13 pm

    Tony: Travel insurance won’t cover you in your case since you’re not travelling and will be at your usual place of residence. Cover More, like most other travel insurers, covers “sedans” i.e. 2 or 4-door cars which can seat at least 4 people (they’ll likely have more precise definitions to it e.g. must be hard-top or of a certain size, and you’ll have to clarify this with them).

    And there are actually 2 specialized car hire excess insurance companies that cover rentals in one’s home country – iCarHireInsurance and Worldwide Insure. They will have much better rates than the $54/day if you can use them. Here are a couple relevant extracts of their Policy Wordings talking about what they DON’T cover:

    iCarHireInsurance
    Unacceptable Vehicles. From the rental of vehicles where the value of the vehicle exceeds £65,000 / €80,000 / $110,000 or vehicles which are more than 20 years old, or the rental of ‘antique, expensive or exotic’ vehicles not considered to be conventional and usual.”

    Worldwide Insure
    “16: The rental of “expensive or exotic” vehicles, namely vehicles with a retail purchase price in excess of £50,000 and “antique” vehicles which are over 20 years old or which have not been manufactured for 10 years or more.”

    So, it really depends what model of Prestige car you’re getting and whether it falls into any of these categories… best to check in with them.

  42. Adie Swinburn on June 22nd, 2011 11:01 am

    Hi, thanks for the advice. Do you have any information on payout rates? I am very mistrustful of insurance companies and suspect they will try not to pay the excess if possible.
    Also, can you confirm, if the excess is say $3,500 and you don’t take excess cover, does that mean that for a total write-off, you still only pay $3,500?
    And lastly, there has been quite a lot of talk of 3rd party damage, but not 3rd party damage to another car. If you have excess insurance and you hit another car, are you likely to be chased by the insurer of that car for damages and be liable for the lot?

  43. Carol on June 22nd, 2011 5:25 pm

    I am an Australian but my usual country of residence is not in Australia. Considering the Worldwide insure if I rent a car in Australia on holidays, do u know which geographical limit should I choose? The worldwide or the Europe and worldwide with home country extension?

  44. Car Hire Insider on June 23rd, 2011 1:55 am

    Adie: I don’t have any specific payout rates but would say it is no different from any other insurance you take out whether home, life, etc. Sometimes it works out smoothly, other times it gets a little messy. There are definitely people who’ve managed to get reimbursed so that’s always the hope! :)

    And yes, if the excess is $3,500, that is the maximum you will pay even if it is a write-off. Of course, this is as long as the nature of the accident/damage/theft was covered by the original $3,500 in the first place e.g. if your car gets caught in an unlikely hailstorm and such damage wasn’t part of the original cover, or you violate the agreement by driving e.g. off-road or a little drunk (no good can come from that anyway), then you won’t have any protection at all.

    In Australia, 3rd party damage is usually included as part of your excess so you won’t be fully exposed for the full value of the car. The insurer of the third party’s car will have to chase your car rental company’s insurer for it, who will then pass the cost on to you up to that maximum of $3,500. That’s it in a nutshell.

  45. Car Hire Insider on June 23rd, 2011 2:00 am

    Carol: It’s your country of residence that matters, not your citizenship. Given this, for your trip to Australia, the basic Worldwide policy without home country extension will suffice. Yay to more savings :)

  46. Carol on June 23rd, 2011 12:59 pm

    Thank you. This is very informative and helpful.

  47. Donald on June 23rd, 2011 4:38 pm

    Hi great information you’ve got there but i’ve got a question here! I’m from Singapore and currently studying in Australia. I will be flying around the various Australian states during the school break and will be renting vehicles in each of the states. Can i purchase the car hire insurance from worldwide insure and be covered throughout the entire trip? 3 weeks in Melbourne-Adelaide-Tasmania!

  48. Car Hire Insider on June 24th, 2011 3:41 am

    Carol: We live to serve :) Glad you found it useful.

    Donald: You’ve got a great holiday planned there! Yup, you’re fine to go with Worldwide Insure. As you’re considered as residing in Australia and will be needing 3 weeks worth of cover spread over 3 different rental contracts, you’ll need the “Annual Worldwide inc. Home Country” option. That’ll cost £65 (about $100) which I wager is gonna save you some moolah! P.s. Tassie’s pretty awesome if you like the outdoors particularly areas like the Tasman Peninsula.. so have a great trip!

  49. Donald on June 25th, 2011 2:40 am

    thanks! I wonder if anyone here has got any experience with Worldwide insure? Been trying to find any reviews or experiences about them online but have turned out 0 results so far…. Is it a new company?

  50. Car Hire Insider on June 29th, 2011 12:53 am

    Donald: It’s tough looking around out there for reviews of insurance companies and the stories that do appear tend to be scary disaster stories! I get your caution and as long as we ascertain its not a sham shop, that’s the main idea. Worldwide Insure (or Worldwide Travel Insurance Services Ltd to be precise) have been registered with and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) since 2005. Their ref. no is 307592. If you’re concerned, I think the folks you’d want to research are their underwriters – White Horse Insurance Ireland Ltd. We’ve checked and they’ve been established since 1999 and are actually owned by the travel group Thomas Cook. Nonetheless, we too welcome stories from anyone who’s had to file a claim from Worldwide Insure.

  51. Suzanne on June 29th, 2011 10:47 am

    gosh! It’s a good forum, but I am still confused. so I dont take the collision waiver with the car rental company, saving myself $21 a day. I do take out Icover for a total of $33. If I damage the car, I pay the excess and make a claim to icover, and get the excess back providing I have all the correct documentation. But I still dont understand what happens if I crash into another car? The Icover doesnt cover this third party damage, so could someone tell me how do I insure for 3rd party damage?

  52. Car Hire Insider on June 30th, 2011 1:18 am

    Suzanne: Glad you found it informative! Yup, it’s a little hard to digest all the various bits and bobs. The bottomline with 1Cover and these folks is, there IS a gap in terms of third party property damage. It’s patently a much less common issue as compared to damaging the rental car itself. And if luck isn’t on your side, your liability will then be limited to the agreed on excess with the car hire company. However, if you feel better being fully insured, you’ll have to get a more expensive cover like SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) which covers both third party injuries and damages.

    SLI policies come bundled with CDW protection – i.e. covers cost of damages to the rental car and any excess you’re liable for too. This is the policy one considers for USA rentals which often come with no insurance at all meaning you’re exposed for the full value of the car.

    In Australia, all rental cars already come with basic insurance (so you’re only responsible for the excess) and with cover for third party injuries. That means there’ll be an overlap when you get SLI+CDW but if you want third party property protection in addition to car rental excess cover, that’s the way you’ll have to go.

    A couple companies offer SLI/CDW cover for car hire anywhere in the world: iCarHireInsurance (only annual for £130 (A$196) per year) and CDWSLI (only daily for £7 (A$10.60) per day). Hope that clarifies matters somewhat!

  53. suzanne on June 30th, 2011 11:36 am

    Yes, that is ezactly what I thought. So being a very pessimistic car hirer, i went with the highest level of cdw. It cost almost the same per day as the hire charges! Also kept the domestic policy for the excess but probably wouldnt bother next time.
    thank you extremely much for your site.
    from
    suzanne

  54. Oliver on June 30th, 2011 10:10 pm

    Hi, I did a lot of research on this topic and I am still not satisfied with my results… First if all I am from Germany and I plan to rent a small campervan (HiTop) for just 3 weeks for a roadtrip in Australia. I am looking for a good and cheap insurances like everybody on this site here :) My first choice was Worldwide Insure and I was really excited about their conditions and cover features. BUUT: in there policy wordings for motor homes they exclude under number 12 vehicles that are older than 5 years. To be honest I think most rental services have older vehicles in their fleet. Because I do not have the money to rent new, expensive campers like maui, I have to get cheaper, older vehicles. (5-8 years)

    Does anybody has an idea how to get these campers insured? So far I know (Apollo, Britz, Backpacker, Cheapacampa) Thanks

  55. Christopher on July 3rd, 2011 3:23 pm

    I am fortunate to be holidaying in Monaco in August and will use the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream to take a Ferrari for a drive around the local surrounds.

    My American Express Platinum Charge Card comes with rental excess cover included – but only for cars up to A$80,000 value. Bummer…

    The Ferrari California I’m looking to hire comes with a ‘deductible’ of (wait for it…) 15000€, which is currently just over A$20,000.

    Does anyone know where I can find an insurer who might cover some or all of this liability for me?

  56. Car Hire Insider on July 6th, 2011 1:01 am

    Oliver, Christopher: Sadly, we’re not aware of any insurance companies that will cover older campervans or supercars. We just have to hope someone out there locates such insurance if it exists or creates it for future renters!

    May I add Chris, that is an absolutely DROOLWORTHY experience you’re heading for!! Perhaps you could even share some photos with us once you’re done.. now go give those F1 drivers a run for their money! :P

  57. Richo on July 8th, 2011 12:39 pm

    I recently hired a car for a holiday in Cairns.
    I was offered excess reduction insurance to reduce my liability from $3300 to $330.

    I turned this down and instead took out comprehensive travel insurance with 1 cover which included $5000 cover for rental vehicle excess.

    Unfortunately the car got damaged and Redspot (the hire company) charged me $964 for repair.

    I put the claim into 1 cover but I only got paid back $455.

    I discovered they had paid me for the cost of damage but NOT for the automatic associated costs with the repair such as Redspot’s administration fee and loss of use charge. These costs amounted to $509 and I am currently out of pocket.

    I have double checked the PDS but I haven’t seen anything about excluding admin costs. I am still dealing with them.

    Should I take them to the Insurance Ombudsman?

  58. Brenda Rudolph on July 21st, 2011 12:02 pm

    We took out RACQ $3000 car hire excess (their cover was with Mondial) when we hired a car from Redspot for a trip within Australia in April. Redspot’s excess requirement in case of accident is the first $3300.

    Someone reversed into our stationary and unoccupied car, and admitted full liability for the damage.

    We had to pay Redspot $3300 (plus their Credit Card loading!!) when we returned the vehicle, and wait 2 months for them to negotiate with the other party and his Insurer.

    The ‘other party’s’ Insurance company paid Redspot’s bill APART from $101GST on parts needed and Redspot’s $275 admin fee, which Redspot says that Insurer doesn’t have to pay by law anyway. So, they paid $1400 and Redspot plan to keep $376 of our money and thus repay us $2924 of our $3300 (no refund of those credit card fees though).

    Is it appropriate for us to approach Mondial, RACQ’s Insurer, for the $376 or will some clause let them off the hook too? We have tried to speak to them on the phone both back in April and again today (now that we have figures), as to how this all fits together, but they are actually quite rude.

    Next time, we check out hire conditions carefully with whoever we go with, and insure through them. Though who knows, perhaps everyone has to pay aqdmin and GST out of their own pockets, however much insured!

    Any comments, please? Anyone know about this sort of loophole?

  59. San on July 22nd, 2011 4:05 pm

    I’ve been researching insurance companies that can provide CDW and SLI for more then 60 days for when I hire a car in USA. I came across one provided by essentialtravel.co.uk and got all excited about it. But being the type of person I am, I try to be as prepared as possible. So I read the policy document and found that White Horse Insurance Ireland Ltd underwrites the policy and when I looked into this company and the process involved in claiming I started to get concerned. For one thing their website had a different address to what is registered on the FSA website and another the claim process involves me having to download a claim form from their website but going to the website there is no claim form, in fact their website is so minimalist it makes me wonder how legit they are.

    Anyone had experience with these guys? Care to comment? I don’t want to be paying the exhorbirant rates that rental car companies charge for CDW and SLIT, but at the same time I don’t want to be paying for something where I won’t be trully covered. Are there any other insurance companies that offer cover for more then 60 days?

  60. Brenda Rudolph on July 23rd, 2011 5:31 pm

    It seems like Richo (8th July comment) had very similar experiences with Redspot in Cairns and RACQ’s Mondial to ours (21st July comment).

    Is it a general thing to beware then, to check in advance what type of charges the Car hire place would levy (and how calculated) that are NOT covered by any insurance the customer can take out!?

    ‘Car Hire Insider’, do you know of an Insurer who WOULD cover “Admin”, “GST” and “Loss of Hire” in the event of accident???

    We’d really like to know, as we are retirees gearing up to see the country not as grey nomads but people who fly to places and hire cars once there.

    But then again, maybe we need to revise our thinking and get a campervan……

  61. Car Hire Insider on July 25th, 2011 10:26 pm

    San: Firstly, just to let you know we have a separate section covering USA car hire insurance. However, at the moment, we’re not aware of anyone else who will cover more than 60 days at a stretch. One way around it is to consider dropping it off and re-renting on a new contract so you have another 60 days allowance.

    About White Horse, they underwrite for a number of other insurance providers like Worldwide Insure. As I replied to an earlier comment, they’ve been around since 1999 and are a subsidiary of the travel group Thomas Cook (UK’s second largest leisure travel company). In addition, Essential Travel itself was bought over by Thomas Cook early last year.

    Essential Travel’s Policy Document says:

    “This policy is Underwritten by White Horse Insurance (Ireland) Limited through a facility operated and managed by Strategic Insurance Services Limited an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (Firm Reference Number 307133).

    White Horse Insurance (Ireland) Limited is regulated in the Republic of Ireland by the Irish Services Regulatory Authority.”

    I’m not sure which FSA number you checked but 307133 does show Strategic Insurance Services Limited. In addition, if you look into the IFSRA (Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority) register, you’ll see White Horse and its list of authorised insurance activities (see here).

    I think it’s poor form on Essential Travel’s part to say you can download the claim form from ET’s website but then not have it there but I noticed there are alternatives for you to get the form:

    “… please contact White Horse Administration Services Ltd within 31 days of incurred loss to notify loss and request a claim form to be sent to you by email, fax or post.”

    (Btw, you can locate White Horse Admin Services in the IFSRA register here). On a whole, I believe you’ll be covered and should not be worried about a sham company.

    Good luck! And do share with us if you find anyone else who can offer cover for longer than 60 days.

  62. Car Hire Insider on July 26th, 2011 12:18 am

    Richo, Brenda: It looks like both of you are in the same boat! I spent some time poring over some details of 1Cover and RACQ’s PDS and compared them with other specialized car hire insurers. From what I can garner, this is the typical phrase from 1Cover and RACQ:

    “We will reimburse the Rental Vehicle insurance excess or the cost of repairing the vehicle, whichever is the lesser…”

    That may just be their sneaky get-out clause to say “Hey, we only cover precisely the cost of repairing the vehicle and not any admin or loss of use fees (unless that costs more than the maximum payout)”. I can see a difference when I compare that to e.g. Worldwide Insure’s PDS, which is much broader:

    “The excess is defined as the amount for which you are held responsible under the terms of the car rental agreement as a result of the loss of or damage to the rental vehicle, including fire, vandalism, theft and loss of use”

    This can be interpreted as they will pay whatever the car hire company is charging you as a result of damages to the rental car up to the policy payout limit and regardless of the breakdown of costs e.g. GST, admin, etc. I called them to verify this and they say it is as the PDS describes. iCarHireInsurance and Insurance4CarHire have such similar phrasing in their PDS. I reckon these wordings will allow you to be more protected and have a better case for making a full claim.

    I can’t say that the Insurance Ombudsman (or RACQ in Brenda’s case) won’t be on your side since the wordings are particularly unclear – as Richo pointed out there are no specific exclusions about admin and loss of use fees in the PDS.

    Brenda, I personally find it unfair that the GST component of the repairs can be excluded like that – that’s part and parcel of the repair bill! Perhaps for that bit, you’ll have a grounds to claim from RACQ/Mondial since that is technically part of the cost of repairing the car.

    In the meantime, we welcome any other stories from renters who’ve had to go through the claims process, for better or worse!

  63. San on July 26th, 2011 12:02 pm

    I got the two different addresses from the policy document and from the FSA website. But I just realised that I should have checked it on the Irish website. However, even using the Irish website it still has two different addresses. The policy document has 14 Clyde Road Ballsbridge Dublin 4 Republic of Ireland and the website has Bay 89.2 Shannon Free Zone West Shannon Co Clare? So I wasn’t sure why there was two addresses?

    Regarding the claim form. I sent White Horse a query asking for a copy, but they weren’t willing to do this until I actually make a claim. But it would be nice to have it in advance so I know what information to prepare for.

  64. Brenda Rudolph on July 26th, 2011 3:15 pm

    Thanks so much for the work you have done on this, CarHireInsider.

    I think it highlights how important the exact wording is in the sort of sneaky-clause-terminology you have compared above, wording which doesn’t mention specifics which are easy to differentiate – specifics such as tyres, windscreen etc – but which hugely affects the Insurers liability.

    I appreciate your help, and will post Mondial’s response here in due course. From Richo’s post, I anticipate a knock-back on the $275 admin fee, but from your post I too think we may have a chance with the $101 GST as the repair couldn’t have proceeded without it – by law! – however much Redspot assure me that Elders Rural (the guilty party’s Insurer) don’t legally have to pay it!

    Meanwhile I’ll note for the future those 3 Insurers you mention as offering the fair and realistic cover, and suggest your other readers do likewise if they don’t want nasty holiday surprises!!

  65. Car Hire Insider on July 27th, 2011 11:06 pm

    San: If you go directly to White Horse’s website, you’ll see it lists the Shannon Free Zone address as listed on the IFSRA site. The 14 Clyde Road address is one of their registered offices. I’m not sure why the latter address isn’t the one listed on the IFSRA site but I’m sure White Horse is a legitimate company as it is utilised by the likes of NatWest and RBS Banks for their insurance policies.

    In the worst case scenario, if you really do find yourself unhappy with White Horse’s service, and Essential Travel isn’t being helpful either, this is the contact for you to refer your complaint to: Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA), PO Box 9138, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland. Telephone + 353 (0) 1410 4000.

    With regards to the claim form, just ensure you make a note of all the documents you need in the event you get into an accident e.g. police report, contacts of other party involved and witnesses, damage report, repairs invoice, rental agreement, etc.

    And here are a couple of samples of claim forms from other companies just so you get an idea – see here and here.

  66. Car Hire Insider on July 27th, 2011 11:32 pm

    Brenda: Our pleasure! Thanks very much for sharing your experience so we can all learn from it. It definitely is a tricky jungle to navigate and when it can impact us in the $100s and $1000s, it’s all the more critical to highlight these little nuances which can go unnoticed until a story like yours makes us do a side by side comparison! We hope to hear back from you on your progress with Mondial and will keep our fingers crossed on your behalf.

    It’s worth a go to make a claim for the full amount of the $376 under the explanation that it is the amount of rental vehicle excess as charged by Red Spot… or perhaps you can pass off the $275 admin fee to be technically part of the indirect cost of doing the repair. But yup, definitely fight for that $101! Good luck!

  67. Richo on July 29th, 2011 3:30 pm

    Just an update on my claim regarding the admin and loss of use fees.

    The matter was referred to the internal dispute committee at Mondial and they ruled in my favour. I have received the remaining money in full (Boo yah!).

    They did not give a reason for why they overruled the original decision but I a guessing it was because of the ambiguous wording in the PDS. They probably decided that if it went to the Ombudsman they would have ruled in my favour, and in addition to having to pay me the money, they would receive a kicking from the watchdog.

    Anyway the moral of the story is if you don’t like the original decision: Challenge it!
    Unless the PDS explicitly states they won’t cover something, the benefit of the doubt should fall on your side.

    Brenda, hopefully this will give you some encouragement in your claim.

    Despite the favourable outcome, I am thinking of raising the matter with the ACCC as this is a standard definition in many other policies, so it could happen to someone else.

    Thanks to Car Insider as well for your input.

  68. DARYL PEACE on August 5th, 2011 12:32 pm

    Dear CHI,
    You are a legend – keep up the good work!
    Am looking to hire a car for 14 days from Proserpine Airport – Euro quoted $718 – with an excess of $3850
    1 – I will chase up a quote from a couple of the companies nominated on this site to make this figure go away.
    2 – you may care to update an earlier comment at the beginning “…. Unless you are renting from Thrifty, Europcar or Hertz (all whom have current standard liabilities of A$3,300) …. ”
    It would seem time and tide waits for no man, and I suspect all have increased the excess limits

    For Richo, Brenda and others (while I am not a lawyer) I have taken on (to the Insur Ombudsman) various insurance companies (house insurance mainly) for relo’s, friends et al and won most (not 100% payment but at least they got back something rather than the nothing they were offered).

    When faced with words in a policy (PDS) that are either silent on the case in hand or have ambiguous wording, it seems the law favours the side who DIDN’T write the policy.

    I have found arguing from the high moral ground is beautiful location ie

    Me ” … but Sir, if that’s what they meant, where does is say those EXACT words further or alternatively, surely if that’s what they meant then does it not follow they had an obligation to write that in, after all who drafted the policy?
    Its wasn’t me, why should I be penalized because of an omission on their part or a poor;y drafted doc. ….. “.
    Yeah I know CHI, it brings a tear to your eye.

  69. Brenda Rudolph on August 14th, 2011 7:23 am

    Dear CHI,

    Our shortfall of $376 ($275 Admin fee and $101 GST on parts) was reduced to $188 by Redspot! After the helpful discussion here on CHI, I decided first to write an online and email complaint to Redspot, which reached the top (of that department…..) This person asked for all our correspondence to be sent to them internally, decided we had been messed around by inaccurate correspondence from them over a period of many weeks, and offered me a 50-50 agreement on the disputed amount.

    I held back on sending in to Mondial the claim for the remaining $188 on the basis that it was now obviously half of two categories, the one we could most likely win being only the remaining half of the $101 component. But after reading Richo’s total success above, it might result in a full $188 for us………..or an appeal to their internal dispute committee ……or at least a complaint to RACQ.

    I think Daryl (above) makes a good argument re ambiguous wording. Clarity is overdue in policy wording and that isn’t the client’s area of responsibility.

    I’ll keep you informed!

  70. Dave on August 30th, 2011 12:41 pm

    Hi CHI,
    Great site – lots of good info. You have addressed the complexities of insurance for hiring cars and motorhomes – but what about motorcycles?

    I am currently planning a motorcycle road trip that will commence in Canada, tour through NW USA and return to Canada. Duration approx 21 days. The motorcycle rental company is offering a comprehensive CDW but is unable to offer any SLI policy. As I am arranging a group tour (up to12 bikes and 18 people) I am reluctant to proceed without suitable coverage for all riders. All riders are resident in Australia or New Zealand.

    Do any of the companies you mention earlier (WWI, ICHI etc) offer similar products for large capacity motorcycles (i.e. over 1600cc)?

    Your response and any other advice on this matter would be most welcome.

  71. Car Hire Insider on September 3rd, 2011 6:40 pm

    Dave: Unfortunately, we don’t know of any companies that will cover motorcycles. While it’s not our area of expertise, we’d be very interested to hear back from you if you manage to find any insurers that do! Good luck!

  72. Brenda Rudolph on September 16th, 2011 11:31 am

    Hello again Car Hire Insider,

    It’s been a whole month since I wrote the above – your site is so helpful, I can’t believe other people aren’t finding it! Perhaps they are reading other pages.

    Anyway, I just now got a phonecall from the RACQ’s insurers Mondial to say that they are paying out our $188 claim in full, actually $188.15. I said don’t worry about the 15c ( I hadn’t bothered to mention the cents) but it is their procedure “to pay out in full, that’s why you have car insurance,” he said! Very different attitude from the defensive and dismissive people when we first phoned them after the accident about how-to-claim. They’ve redeemed themselves!

    I really have you and this site and the co-incidence of Ricoh’s similar story to thank for our full recoup; much appreciated, and albeit a saga lasting April to Sept, we’ve learnt much too! Bye for now. Keep up the good work.

  73. Daniel Dempsey on September 19th, 2011 6:08 pm

    Hi CHI,

    Great site and very useful – thanks! Just curious whether you know anything about Aussie Travel Saver. They seem to sell covermore’s insurance at discounted prices. The options policy (only available through agents) is discounted by 30% and has a car rental excess of 4000. It makes the domestic annual plan very cheap!

    Also, can I confirm whether, in general, these travel insurance policies with a car hire excess will pay due to damage to windscreen, tyres etc and SVA. Their PDAs normally just say that they will reimburse excess due to motor vehicle accident damage or theft. What is the definition of an accident – does it have to be a multi vehicle accident or will they also reimburse costs related to general ‘damage’. I am sure it differs between companies but lets use covermore as an example. See below from PDA -

    “We will pay You for any Rental Car insurance excess You become liable to pay as a result of damage to, or theft of, a Rental Car, whilst in Your control during the Journey”

    Cheers

  74. Car Hire Insider on September 20th, 2011 6:56 pm

    Brenda: Oh you’re too kind :) Gushes of thanks for returning to share your story! I’m truly glad it worked out so well for you. That gives us all the sense of satisfaction that insurance does pay off (eventually) :) Now we all have that extra boost of confidence that taking action and having several good doses of persistence and patience can in all likelihood lead to recouping some hard-earned money. Don’t be a stranger now. Cheerio

  75. Car Hire Insider on September 22nd, 2011 7:45 pm

    Daniel: Sure! We like Aussie Travel Saver and in fact if you use our promo code HIREINSIDER, you ought to be able to get a sweet 25% discount on the cost of the card. However, in general, Australian based travel insurance policies that come with cover for car rentals usually will NOT in itself cover damages to WHT (windscreen, headlights, tyres). Typically, as you quoted from Cover-More’s PDA, they say they will reimburse you for any Rental Car insurance excess you are liable to pay for. That means if it’s not already included in your excess, then it won’t be covered by Cover-More.

    Europcar is a good company to use as an example. They have several options (see here). You can get POM (Peace of Mind) which reduces your excess and extends your cover to WHT. Or you can get WWI which extends your cover to WHT but with no reduction in excess. If you take up any of these add-ons, Cover-More’s policy would then end up covering WHT too since it’s now part of your excess. Otherwise, it wouldn’t.

    Even then, this still leaves you potentially exposed to undercarriage damage, front and rear windows, SVAs, etc. If all these other items are of concern to you, consider the specialised car hire insurance policies from iCarHireInsurance or Worldwide Insure. They have no such exclusions and will simply cover you for any amount you are liable under your car rental agreement up to the policy limit.

    Hope that makes sense and thanks for coming by.

  76. Sean on September 23rd, 2011 1:32 am

    Hi all – thanks for the great website!

    Here’s a little email I drafted to send to the car rental excess companies – with a list to get clarity as to what they cover/don’t cover.

    Its not comprehensive – but its a start.

    Perhaps this could grow – and give a lot more simple clarity to buyers to make the right choices.

    No responses as yet – it will be interesting to see what they say.

    Dear Sir,

    I am comparing daily excess rental car insurance coverage.

    Does this policy: (for use in Australia by Australian residents)

    http://www.worldwideinsure.com/pdf/ER11.pdf

    Provide coverage for the following damage to a rental vehicle:

    Damage to:

    1. Roof
    2. Tyres
    3. Windscreen
    4. Undercarriage

    Plus does it cover damage to the following: (Yes or no to each point will suffice thanks)

    Antenna
    trays
    clutch and gearbox
    damage to car lock
    door handle
    door sill
    loss or damage to keys
    windshield wipers
    glass
    mirrors
    wheels
    tyres
    interior of the car
    spare key
    car jack
    hubcap
    lights
    gas cap
    warning triangles
    damage to upholstery of a car
    damages to the roof
    damages caused by roof rack and any luggage on it
    damage caused by vehicle rollover
    or when driving in reverse
    damages caused due to collision with an animal (kangaroo, wallaby, etc.)
    extreme dirtiness in a car
    underside damage
    personal belongings in a rented car
    damage due to negligence
    tyre punctures and burst tyres
    water submersion or salt-water damage
    hail damage
    fuel errors
    damage to child seats and baby seats
    lack of electricity because of forgotten turned on electrical devices
    damage or loss of car documents
    damage or loss of registration plate
    damage or theft of car logo.
    Towing costs?
    The car rental company, in any case, is not obligated to replace a flat tyre or damages in music devices (radio, CD/mp3 player, etc.).
    Towing costs are not covered by any insurance.

    Damage to third party property? (ie other cars?)

    Does it provide baggage cover?

    Please confirm thanks.

    I am comparing your coverage with this policy:

    http://www.dailyexcess.co.uk/

    Is your policy valid in Australia – and can I rent from car rental agencies close to my home?

  77. Car Hire Insider on September 27th, 2011 1:04 pm

    You Sir Sean, rock :) *Phew* That is some list. Do keep us updated on any feedback you receive. It’ll be most interesting to see their response (including how responsive they are in the first place!)

    P.s. Sorry for several delayed responses to comments/questions lately – we’ve been a little swamped. Thanks to all for contributing & understanding.

  78. Bernard Gorman on October 20th, 2011 11:26 am

    Hi Everyone and CHI,
    Recent experience in Tasmania, Hired a car for a week, had travelled to Tassie not intending to hire a car as I thought tranport was part of the arrangement , so didn’t take travel insurance when booking flights!! Hired car in CBD launceston took ($8.00 per day) WHT insurance only. BAD BAD Boo Boo.
    The car had only recently been returned and not yet cleaned, in my haste I agreed to take the car as presented. Visual inspection indicated the car was as noted…..alloy scraped BOTH front wheels, paint cracks, scrape under front bar…..32000+ Km.
    Whist travelling at about 85/90Km on straight stretch of Lyell H/way (A10) left front tyre blew out resulting in swerve off road. Managed to control the car through the wet grass avoided everything except a log lying in the grass, even made it back onto roadway. The Car Hire Co. had already deducted $4050.00 from my Visa Acct before I got to filling out an accident report.
    Clearly the damage to the tyre that blew was not something that had occured whilst I was driving and the roads I had been driving on had reasonably good surfaces. Damage to the tyres was not apparent when I inspected them but they had over 32000Km wear and apparently TEAR (including scraped alloy wheels) by previous drivers. My windsreen tyre Damage insurance DID NOT INSURE ME AGAINST THE …. ‘DAMAGE CAUSED BY TYRE FAILURE’…nor did it garantee that the tyres I was insuring were worth insuring.
    This is how I come to your site looking for reasonable Alternatives to Rental Car Hire INSURANCE RIP OFF’s. Unfortunately appears even ‘iCarhireinsurance.com’ cannot give coverage for Australian major hire co. excess as there policy is 2,000Pounds single incident limit and total limit 3,000. “So ANY underinsurance would void our policy” as quoted in email from iCarhireinsurance.com on 19/10/11 9.16pm. Another loss to the high Aust$

  79. Car Hire Insider on October 23rd, 2011 5:04 pm

    Bernard: Yikes, sorry to hear about it! Good thing you managed to control the swerve! Unfortunately, no matter how you try to protect yourself, some risk tends to always be present. It’s true the WHT insurance only protects for damages caused TO the WHT and not caused BY the WHT. For a $4050 excess, the likes of iCarHireInsurance will not apply. But for example, Avis and Budget’s excess are both under $3000 which will be covered.

    For future reference, if none of the specialised car hire insurance policies work out for you, you can find travel insurance with higher rental vehicle excess cover e.g. with 1Cover ($5000), or Cover More who allows you to pay incrementally more to raise the excess cover to a pretty high level.

  80. Lee on October 25th, 2011 2:58 pm

    This help is just FABULOUS! I just got an travel policy for one year’s travel in Australia from CoverMore for $97! That is equivalent to about 3 days of car hire travel insurance to reduce excess from $3,500 to 300! The policy cover a $4000 excess!

    BTW: The quote/payment and phone help were all terrific.

    What a terrific site!

    Thanks

  81. Car Hire Insider on October 26th, 2011 10:32 am

    Lee: Aw shucks!! Thank you! That just made our kangaroo day :)

  82. Chun on November 10th, 2011 11:29 pm

    Hi Everyone & Car Hire Insider!

    This website is definitely helpful and is something that I just need to plan around for my short trip to Melb to see the great ocean road with my partner. And since i’m going to drive around the majestic road, I am thinking of going in style during this short summer break by hiring a convertible. However I noticed there are not many convertible to hire from Melb Airport (only Hertz and Europcar). The most affordable from the 2 is the Hertz Mini Cooper Convertible. After considering the insurance cover (the excess reduction insurance is around $45++ per day). Ouch.

    I’ve checked TDI and 1cover but the cover turns out to be appx $83 (2 of us) for our 3 day trip. As I’ll be travelling with Virgin, I noticed that they have Travel Insurance with Allianz. Did a quick quote which turns out to be around $42. Can anyone shed some light on the travel insurance offered by Virgin?

  83. Car Hire Insider on November 11th, 2011 1:55 pm

    Chun: We’re glad you find it helpful! Virgin’s rates are great and I would expect them to be as reliable as anyone else. However, I checked and it looks like their travel insurance’s Rental Vehicle cover is only for $3,000. As I understand it, your Mini will come with a $5,500 excess with Hertz. To get $4,000 of cover, you’ll need the Rental Vehicle Excess Reduction Insurance which will cost $56 per person. So, 1Cover may actually work out better for you since for about $69, you’ll get up to $5,000 of cover. However, call them and check the cover applies for convertibles – I have a sneaky feeling they may only cover sedans/hatchbacks/wagons but perhaps it can be passed off as a sedan?

    Have a look at Worldwide Insure – they cover cars with a retail price of under £50,000 which would include your Mini. However, each single incident payout is limited to only £2,000 ($3,100) with a total payout limit for the whole agreement of £3,000 ($4,700). On the plus side, it will only cost each of you £10.50 ($16.50) for the 3 days. I would suggest you check with them that they will pay out to these limits even though you are underinsured (i.e. only covered for £2,000 when you are potentially liable for $5,500) and that this underinsurance doesn’t void your contract – that’s the case with some providers.

    It’s a little tricky as it is and more so with fancier cars unfortunately. But just think hard about what level of cover you’re comfortable with. If full coverage is what you want, it may just be that Hertz’s option is the only way to go.

  84. Chun on November 20th, 2011 12:24 am

    Hi CHI,

    Thanks for your advice. I was going to book the car but it looks like someone beat me to it. I have decided to book a car from Europcar and was going to go with 1cover. However, re-reading all the insightful thread here has made me seeking clarification (specifically on the third party liability).

    Scenario 1 – Accident involving 3rd party car/property (no cover)

    If the car excess is $3500 and the cost of repairing the hired car is more than $3500, the max liability you are exposed to repair the hired car is $3500. On top of that, if the 3rd party’s car/property damage is more than $3500 (third party liability excess = 3500), you will have to pay $7000 in total. Is that right?

    Scenario 2 – Accident involving 3rd party car/property (inc 3rd party insurer. e.g: 1cover)

    Similar to scenario 1 except you now have a car hire insurance, the max liability that you will have to pay is $3500 (the max cost of the 3rd party’s car/property)

    Scenario 3 – Accident involving 3rd party car/property (inc europcar Peace Of Mind insurance with an excess of $350)

    Similar to scenario 1 but taking up Europcar’s insurance. Quote from Europcar “In the event of an accident, loss or damage to the vehicle or third party property, a Damage Liability Fee (DLF) will be charged for Australian & New Zealand rentals” Given that the DLF is reduced to $350, does that mean I only pay a max of $350?

    Thanks mate!

    P.s.: Once again, an awesome site!

  85. ed on November 26th, 2011 6:45 pm

    Thanks for your information and general comments. We are off around Tassie over Christmas. and your advise will help me to make a better informed decision. Your recommendations are balanced and the rest is up to me. Thanks

  86. Alan on November 27th, 2011 10:58 am

    Thanks for the article, and a great website ! Very informative and such a money saver :)

  87. Car Hire Insider on November 28th, 2011 5:19 pm

    Ed, Alan: Thanks for your support! Hope those savings go towards an extra merry X’mas! :)

  88. ant on December 1st, 2011 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the information…very helpful will be useful for our driving trip to Sydney and Brisbane.

    Here in Melbourne I hire a car through a car share company 2 or 3 times a month……they have a similar excess liability as hire cars…..will this insurance cover car sharing as well
    cheers

  89. Rose on December 8th, 2011 10:30 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for this thread, really helpful/

    Just wondering if you had any thoughts/heard experiences about hiring Jucy Campervans.

    I have read through some of their T&C’s, and so far I have worked out the best option is to either take out the Stress free package ($25/day) which reduces the excess to nil, or not reducing the excess at all and using domestic travel insurance instead.

    Just wondering if you had any thoughts on these things I thought might be problems:

    -I will be turning 21 halfway through the 3 week trip. Will insurance policies cover me (I have a full licence)?

    -Jucy cars are definitely older than 5 years- does this mean no insurance policy will cover it?

    -The Jucy policy also states that regardless of if you reduce the excess, the hirer bears the cost if the vehicle is faulty and needs to be returned to the nearest place for a replacement. This means they could charge extra days hire if we are not near a Jucy branch, and they cannot guarantee a vehicle available to swap. Would an insurance policy cover this loss?

    Any help you have would be great. We are leaving just after Christmas and I am just not sure whether the Jucy stress free package is just a money-hungry scheme or if it will actually cover us for what we need?

    Cheers.

  90. Brian woods on December 11th, 2011 7:17 am

    We are off to Ireland and UK May June 2012.
    Hiring cars in both Ireland (North Ireland) and UK
    Can we get Excess coverage to include both rentals (2 off) before we leave Melbourne.
    Great site and thanks in anticipation.

  91. Sarah on December 12th, 2011 3:53 pm

    I am an Australian citizen but residing in Hong Kong and am shortly to hire a car in Australia for two weeks. I am not sure if Worldwide would cover me for that given I am currently a resident of Hong Kong. Would you have any recommendations?

    Meanwhile my partner is a British Citizen, but also residing in Hong Kong and travelling with me. Would he need a different policy?

    Many thanks

  92. Car Hire Insider on December 13th, 2011 10:08 pm

    Rose: Let me first say, insurance options for campervans are pretty limited.

    -I will be turning 21 halfway through the 3 week trip. Will insurance policies cover me (I have a full licence)?
    Yes, they will cover you. They consider your age from the date the policy is issued, so for such purposes you’ll be considered age 20.

    -Jucy cars are definitely older than 5 years- does this mean no insurance policy will cover it?
    That’s not necessarily true. I suggest you have a look at Travel Insurance Direct – they do not specify any limitations on the age of the rental vehicle.

    -The Jucy policy also states that regardless of if you reduce the excess, the hirer bears the cost if the vehicle is faulty and needs to be returned to the nearest place for a replacement. This means they could charge extra days hire if we are not near a Jucy branch, and they cannot guarantee a vehicle available to swap. Would an insurance policy cover this loss?
    No. Insurance policies only cover the excess component. They often include a “Return of Rental Vehicle” cover but that only applies if you are medically deemed unfit to do so.

    You can most certainly take out travel insurance to help protect you but be aware that there are limits to this too. Jucy’s Risk-Taker or Chance-It covers have the following exclusions:

    • The hirer will have to pay the daily rental rate for each day the vehicle is being repaired
    • The excess amount will be pre-authorised on the hirer’s credit card at the start of the rental
    • Any costs to repair damage caused by a third party may not be recoverable as insurance is not compulsory in New Zealand and Australia
    • The excess must be paid at the time of the accident regardless of cover provided by an independent travel insurance policy
    • There is no cover for any damage to the roof or underbody of the vehicle
    • No cover is provided for glass damage. Windscreen damage is most common; the averagecost of windscreen replacement is $350 and windscreen chips $55.

    Travel insurance only pays out for the excess and since Jucy has these terms, that means you will remain exposed to these items even with the travel insurance. On the other hand, it only costs as little as $60+ to have your excess covered. I believe the Stress-free package does provide extra cover that travel insurance won’t due to Jucy’s policies – e.g. daily rental rates while in repair, windscreen/underbody damage, etc. – but naturally that comes at a cost. Insurance from car/motorhome rental companies are always going to be an expensive business.

    At the end of the day, the question really boils down to Jucy’s aptly named options: Are you a Risk-Taker? Or do you want your trip to be as Stress-free as possible?

    Good luck with your decision and have a great holiday over the NY’s. Happy 21st too!

  93. Car Hire Insider on December 14th, 2011 1:12 am

    Brian: Yes you can! Have a look at iCarHireInsurance and Worldwide Insure. Depending on how long you are hiring for, you can go for either their daily (£3 with WWI; £4 with iCHI) or annual policy (£55 with WWI; £60 with iCHI). They have slight differences in terms of extras and the maximum period per rental allowed. Just register the policy under the name of the main driver and all additional drivers on the contract will also be covered. You can book it in advance. Just remember to read the fine print to make sure you understand what is and isn’t included.

    Sarah: You’re fine. WWI’s policies are available to all residents including those from Hong Kong. Just go for their daily or annual “Worldwide” policy and you’ll be covered in Australia. If you are the main driver (i.e. the one whose name the car rental contract is under), you only need to buy the insurance policy in your name, list your partner as an additional driver in the car rental contract, and your partner will become automatically covered too.

  94. Pete on December 19th, 2011 8:26 pm

    I sold my car and am thinking of hiring permanently. Just hired an X-trail from thrifty for a month at $42/day and $3,300 excess. Hard to beat that. Also, DriveMyCar Rentals have private rentals and I can get a $110,000 BMW for $49/day but $5,000 excess. Makes more sense to rent that for a year and pay no rego, insurance, servicing, finance & depreciation.

    Problem with many policies to reduce excess is the limitation on rental period of 30-60 days so I ended up going with RACV. For a family of 4 and $5,000 cover on excess, was $100 for the year.

    I also have ANZ Platinum Visa which is $300pa in fees but includes travel insurance. But they currently only cover $2400 of excess with you paying first $350 (so $2050 in net cover). In reading the fineprint however I discovered that they are increasing cover to $5,000 from April 2012. With the extra other bits & bobs with this card, I think that is the most economical way to go from April. Other cards have similar benefits so worth checking out!

  95. John on January 19th, 2012 11:06 am

    I have found that CHI Insurance have a Plan E insurance for non-residents in Australia. It’s a general insurance so covers some medical costs and luggage loss as well as a rental excess cover. The plan comes with a standard $2000 excess cover but that can be increased in increments of $500 for a $25 increase premium for every $500 increment. As I have checked around I have found that it’s actually cheaper than many “only excess insurance” companies. The excess cover also covers camper vans.

    From their brochure:

    ” a) We will reimburse the Rental Vehicle insurance excess or the
    cost of repairing the vehicle, whichever is the lesser, if a vehicle
    you have rented from a rental company is involved in a motor
    vehicle accident while you are driving, or is damaged or stolen
    while in your custody. You must provide a copy of the repair
    account and/or quote.

    This cover does not take the place of Rental Vehicle insurance
    and only provides cover for the excess component up to the
    applicable benefit limit.

    b] We will also pay up to $500 for the cost of returning your
    Rental Vehicle to the nearest depot, if your attending Medical
    Adviser certifies in writing that you are unfit to do so during your
    Journey.”

  96. seo on February 1st, 2012 5:10 am

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  97. leanne on February 16th, 2012 4:52 pm

    Excellent. Savings are huge. Wish I discovered this before I paid $1000 for excess cover on the Motorhome we hired.
    Thankyou so much.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





Bottom