Car Rental Excess Insurance Finder™ – Car Rental Excess Insurance

Information verified correct on September 1st, 2016

Looking to Cover Just Your Car Rental Excess Charges? Find Cover for Domestic and International Car Hire

If you rent a car and it's damaged, lost or stolen you will be charged what is known as 'excess' by the rental company. Car rental excess insurance can cover you for this expense. If you're ready to take out cover right away, you can follow the secure links below to receive a quote for cover.

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Details Features
Car Rental Excess Cover
Car Rental Excess Cover
Covers all eligible drivers listed with rental company. International drivers welcome.
  • Car rental excess up to $4,000 or $6,000 covered
  • Luggage and personal effects covered up to $1,500
  • No distance restriction from main residence
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Car Rental Excess Cover
Car Rental Excess Cover
Guarantees that you will pay minimum 50% less compared to the rental company's excess reduction.
  • Guaranteed 50% saving
  • Covers Motorhome, 4x4, Car Share, Courtesy Car or Accident replacement vehicle
  • Comes with at least US$750 or equivalent in Free Gap Cover
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What is car rental excess insurance?

Car rental excess insurance provides protection for the excess charges or gap amount from a car rental company in the event your car is damaged or stolen. With some excess charges being upwards of $5,000, this little investment can bring great peace of mind if your hiring a car for a couple of weeks or even a couple of days. While prices will vary between car rental companies, the cost of reducing the car rental excess over the counter can be over $25 per day...with the cost of standalone car rental excess cover as low as $6, it can be a smart choice for those looking to save while still getting comprehensive cover.

What type of damage is usually covered?

Most policies will cover you for the following types of damage;

  • Multi and single vehicle accidents
  • Cracked or damaged windscreens
  • Overhead damage
  • Cracked or damaged lights
  • Damage to the car undercarriage or wheels
  • Damage to bumpers and trim

What else will I be covered for?

  • If the vehicle is stolen while in your custody
  • Cost of returning the vehicle to the nearest depot if you are unfit to do so
  • Repair cost of value of luggage and personal effect that are stolen, accidentally damage or permanently lost. Maximum payment will be a applied (usually around $500)

What options do I have for reducing car rental excess?

When it comes to reducing the excess charged by a rental company, you typically have three options

  • Excess reduction cover straight from rental company. This is the simplest option to reduce your rental vehicle excess because you can arrange it directly through the rental company. It reduces the excess you will have to pay to a much more reasonable amount, but it does of course come at a cost. This option will generally work out to be more expensive than the other options listed below, though will probably end up cheaper if you’re only renting a car for a couple of days. You also won’t have to wait while the excess is refunded by your insurance provider.

Why choose this option?

This is typically an option for convenience if you have not bought travel insurance or car rental excess insurance.

  • Travel insurance policy with rental excess insurance feature. Usually a feature on comprehensive travel insurance policies, this benefit will reimburse you up to a certain limit (typically $4000) for any excess or other deductible you become liable to pay under your rental agreement. This cover kicks in if your rental car is involved in an accident or is stolen, and the hiring arrangement must incorporate comprehensive motor insurance against loss or damage to the car. However, the downside of this cover is that you won’t find it on basic travel insurance policies.

Why choose this option?

This is a great option if you are travelling and need travel insurance too.

  • Standalone car rental excess insurance policy. This type of cover is designed solely to cover any car rental excess you may become liable for. You can choose from annual or daily cover, and these policies often include cover for damage to areas usually excluded by the rental company, such as the windscreen and tyres. Additional drivers named on the rental agreement are also included on the policy.

Why choose this option?

This is a great option if you specifically need a flexible policy designed specifically for car rentals.

How do the costs of each option stack up?

1. Car Hire CompanyStandard Excess ChargedExcess reduced toDaily rate to reduce excess (on a seven day hire)
Avis$3,017$342$24
Budget$2,850$342$23
Europcar$4,180$1,000$27
Hertz$4,000$0$29
Thrifty$4,000$0$33
2. Travel insurance with car rental excess coverExcess amount coveredExcess reduced toCost of reducing excess for 7 days
Average costing policy$6,000$0$41.60
3. Car rental excess insuranceExcess amount coveredExcess reduced toDaily rate to reduce excess (on a seven day hire)
Trip cover$4,000$0$10.4
Rental Cover$4,000$0$12

These figures are based on Choice.com.au's 2015 study of car rental excess charges.

Is car rental excess reduction insurance from a rental company more expensive?

Excess reduction insurance from a car rental company often seems like an attractive option, but this type of cover can greatly increase the cost of your car rental. This insurance is charged for every day you hire a car for, and can often more than double the overall cost of hiring a car. As mentioned earlier, reports have shown that the additional daily charge can be as much as $25 per day...the daily rate from provider TripCover to remove excess completely with cover up to $4,000 is just $13.60 per day*

Unless you’re only renting a car for a short period of time such as one or two days, in which case this type of cover could be a more affordable option, it pays to look at the other two options available. Travel insurance policies with rental excess insurance features and standalone car rental excess insurance policies can help you save a lot of money on your car hire.

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Car rental excess insurance vs. Travel insurance

Most travel insurance policies will offer car rental excess insurance as a built-in feature on both domestic and international policies. The decision of which option to go for will really come down to your own situation and what you want to be covered for. Here are some points on how the two compare;

Standalone car rental excess insurance

  • Price not driven by driver age. Usually two age groups of 21-24 and 25-75
  • Cover can be provided for campervans at no extra charge
  • No distance restrictions for domestic journey
  • Price not impacted by pre-existing medical conditions
  • Cover provided for all drivers listed on rental agreement
  • Also provides cover for luggage and personal effects
  • Can cover up to $8,000 in excess charges
  • Daily rate may work out to be much more expensive than just taking out travel insurance

Car rental excess insurance on travel insurance providers

  • Provides cover for a whole range of other losses i.e. cancellation, medical cover (international trips),
  • Price can increase significantly for older travellers or those with pre-existing conditions. May end up being much more expensive if you are an older traveller or have pre-existing conditions
  • Will usually have to be 250km from residence for cover to apply

The points above show that the decision on what cover to take out really comes down to your own situation. Both options present both benefits and disadvantages to different travellers. It's worth comparing both options and reading the conditions of each cover closely before taking out one cover over the other.


Liabilities you need to be aware of when renting a car

Understanding your car rental agreement and the insurance that applies can be confusing. There are a few key points to remember.

Third party liability

No matter where you are in Australia, it’s mandatory to have third-party insurance in order to register a car, so make sure the rental company has this type of cover in place. Third-party insurance covers you when you cause injuries to other people. You should check to see what sort of protection is in place for you, the driver.

Damage to the vehicle

The rental car company will also offer a basic level of insurance for damages to the car, which can be referred to as names such as a

  • Collision damage waiver
  • Loss damage waiver
  • Damage liability fee

You are liable for the excess in the event of event of an accident. This amount is usually around $3,000 to $4,000.  This is where car rental excess insurance can come in.


Benefits of rental car excess insurance

Standalone rental vehicle excess insurance cover has many benefits, including:

  • Pay the same despite age. Most insurers will apply the same premium rate for drivers aged 21 - 24 and for drivers aged 25 - 75. By comparison, premiums for domestic travel cover can increase significantly with age.
  • Affordability. This type of insurance cover can be up to 60 per cent cheaper than taking out a rental company’s excess reduction option.
  • Good option for people looking for basic cover. This type of cover is designed solely to cover any car rental excess you may become liable for, and often covers areas of the car excluded from rental company policies.
  • Most policies include cover for luggage and personal effects. If any of your luggage or personal effects are stolen, accidentally damaged or permanently lost during your journey, your policy will cover the repair or replacement costs. This adds extra peace of mind when you’re travelling.
  • Cooling-off period. If you decide that your policy is not right for you, you may cancel it within 14 days after being issued with your Certificate of Insurance and PDS. You will be given a full refund of the premium you paid, provided you have not started your journey and you do not want to make a claim or to exercise any other right under the policy.
  • Cover can be taken out on a daily, single trip or annual basis. Cover can be purchased for just a single day, or on a single trip basis to cover you for the duration of your rental agreement. Some providers will also offer annual cover to provide a more cost-effective option for those regularly hiring and driving rental cars.
  • All drivers are covered. All drivers listed on your rental agreement are typically covered under this type of insurance policy.
  • All excess fees covered. Standalone rental car excess insurance cover protects you against all excess fees, even single vehicle accident excesses.
  • Better coverage than rental company cover. Excess reduction cover direct from car rental companies excludes certain types of damage, such as overhead damage, water damage and underbody damage. However, all of these are usually covered under standalone policies.
  • Can cover campervans. Most policies will allow you to cover campervans up to 4.5 tones for no extra charge...exclusions usually apply to campervans on travel insurance car rental excess
  • No distance restrictions. If your taking out cover within Australia, there is generally no distance restrictions from main residence
  • Cover available for international visitors. Cover is usually available for international travellers visiting Australia from overseas

Disadvantages of car rental insurance excess

  • Cover is generally just limited to rental insurance excess and luggage and personal effects. However, if you get car rental excess cover as part of a travel insurance policy, this will include cover for other events, such as medical emergencies.
  • Not all policies will provide cover for international car hire, with some limiting their coverage to car hire to Australia only. Read the PDS closely to make sure you know what each policy does and does not cover.
  • You may have to pay the excess amount upfront to the car hire company and claim it back from the insurer. If you’ve got a cash flow problem or simply don’t have access to enough money to cover the excess, this could be a significant problem.

When you won't be paid

As a general rule, you will not be able to make a claim under your car rental excess insurance policy if:

  • You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time the loss occurred.
  • You do not act sensibly and responsibly to protect yourself and your property.
  • You do not do everything possible to reduce your loss.
  • Your claim is a result of you breaking the law or breaking any government ban or regulation.
  • Your claim is a result of any act of war, rebellion, revolution etc.
  • Your claim is a result of any act of terrorism or nuclear contamination.
  • Your claim is related to depression, anxiety, stress or other mental or nervous conditions.
  • Your claim arises from motor sports of any kind.
  • The loss or damage is caused by detention or confiscation by customs or other officials or authorities.
  • You are travelling against the advice of your doctor, or if you’ve booked or undertaken your trip after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Your claim arises from or is exacerbated by an existing medical condition.
  • Your claim is somehow related to pregnancy.
  • Your claim involves suicide or a self-inflicted injury.

Accidental damage excess Vs Single vehicle accident excess

When taking out an insurance policy to reduce your excess, it pays to read the fine print and make sure you fully understand when your cover will and will not apply. For example, some insurance policies will only reduce your rental excess if your car is involved in an accident with another vehicle. This is called the accidental damage excess.

However, many people are unaware that if they are involved in a single vehicle accident, such as scraping the car on a wall or maybe hitting a kangaroo, a separate excess will apply on top of the accidental damage excess. This second charge is the single vehicle accident excess, and can end up adding another couple of thousand dollars to your overall bill.

Most hire car companies will not make you aware of the single vehicle accident excess when you take out cover. As a result, renters must be ready to read the fine print of any rental agreement before signing on to make sure exactly how many excesses each policy has and in what different situations they will apply.


How do I avoid unexpected expenses?

  • Inspect first. Make sure you give your rental car a thorough inspection before you drive away and make sure any existing damage is included in the condition report.
  • Read the terms and conditions. Take a close look at your rental agreement and the insurance you have in place. Make sure you’re aware of when you are covered and what is excluded.
  • Shop around for insurance. If you’re looking for cover to reduce the excess you’ll have to pay in the event of an accident, compare your options and shop around for a better deal. You may be able to find superior cover directly from an insurer rather than buying from the car rental agency.
  • Return time. Arrange to return the vehicle at a time when it can be handed over to a person. Get that person to sign-off on the vehicle’s return so that you are not liable for any damage. Consider taking photos of the vehicle when you return it.
  • Pay for tolls yourself. If you can, use your own e-tag so that you aren’t slugged with any extra administration charges.
  • Damage list. If the car is damaged while it’s in your possession, ask the rental company for an itemised account of any repairs required.

What are my rights if I rent a car?

Most of the rights you have when renting a car are governed by the rental agreement you sign with the car agency, so it pays to read the fine print in this document closely. However, you also have some protection under Australian Consumer Law. Some of these rights include:

  • Consumer guarantees. Which mean that the vehicle you rent must be of a reasonable quality (roadworthy, clean, free from defects), must match the model you booked and must be fit for the purpose specified by you or the rental company.
  • Protection against unfair terms. Australian Consumer Law also offers protection against things like false and misleading claims, and conduct that is deceptive and misleading.

Making a claim - tips to make sure you are paid

  • Before you travel, make sure you know what evidence you will need to make a successful claim. If you are travelling with expensive items that you wish to cover, it is likely you will need original receipts or proof of ownership. Similarly, in the event of an accident you may need to obtain police and medical reports to validate your claim
  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Don't leave it till you get home to speak with your insurer, contact them as soon as possible so you know exactly what they require for your claim to be paid
  • Co-operate. Make an effort to work closely with your insurer to provide them with everything they need for your claim
  • Get evidence from officials. If you are trying to claim for loss or theft, or damage to your rental vehicle or luggage, receive an official report from the local policy a representative from your transport official
  • Take your time with the claims documents. Make an effort to fill out all the necessary documentation as best you can and provide all the necessary supporting documentation on time

Interested in purchasing for car rental excess insurance?

If the benefits of Car Rental Excess Insurance sound like a good match for your next trip, you can make a secure enquiry via the form located above. It is worth noting that car rental excess insurance only provides a simplified form of travel cover so you may like to consider a fully fledged travel insurance policy to provide protection for other losses such as medical or personal belongings.

Receive quote for car rental excess insurance

*Prices correct as of February, 2015

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26 Responses to Car Rental Excess Insurance Finder™ – Car Rental Excess Insurance

  1. Default Gravatar
    Austin | August 4, 2016

    Thanks Richard,

    So, let’s keep this, as you say, as a comparison.

    From what you say I take it that there are circumstances in which, I would have to pay for the total cost of a loss (to the rented vehicle and to other property etc) even if I purchased insurance from the rental company?

    If this is so, have you any suggestion as to how one’s loss could be limited if one rents a car in Australia. I find it totally frightening that under some loss circumstances, no matter what insurance I took from the renter, I might be up for a huge sum.

    Regards…Austin

    • Staff
      Richard | August 9, 2016

      Hi Austin,

      finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide users with personalised financial advice. You should contact your rental company to discuss these matters.

      Cheers,
      Richard

  2. Default Gravatar
    Austin | August 3, 2016

    I’ve just rented a car in Townsville from Thrifty. Prominent on the counter was a notice saying that none of their insurance covers me for water damage. That is, the “default” $3000 excess does not apply so that if a car is, for example, totalled through a flood, storm or accident involving driving into a water-filled ditch, there is NO coverage–the bill could be for a complete new car.
    In the light of this I see that external coverage (which I have) covers up to %6000, but not the total value of the car in the event of such water damage.

    Am I right? I haven’t done my homework but to all Australian car hire companies exclude water damage from their default (and other) coverage? Have you any ideas– a solution to this problem?

    • Staff
      Richard | August 3, 2016

      Hi Austin,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide our user with personalised financial advice. According to the terms and conditions on the Thrifty website:

      Even if you purchase collision damage waiver protection from Thrifty you will have to pay for the full cost they incur as a result of each separate instance of an accident, damage to or loss of the vehicle or any equipment, together with the cost of any damage you cause to other property, where the damage or loss, whether to the vehicle or to the property of others, is of any of the following types: damage or loss caused to the vehicle due to hail, flood, fire, storm, cyclone or other natural disaster where such damage exceeds the amount of the DRF.

      For more information about cover from Thrifty you should contact them either by calling 1300 367 227 or by emailing reservations@thrifty.com.au.

      All the best,
      Richard

  3. Default Gravatar
    JohnNC | November 13, 2015

    I live in Australia and will be travelling to the UK in June 2016 where I intend to hire a car for 2 to 6 weeks.I have travel insurance with a $3000 excess for damage caused to a hire car. Is this enough cover. Am I covered comprehensively by the car hire firms?

    • Staff
      Richard | November 16, 2015

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice. Whether you’re covered comprehensively will depend on your policy, along with the cover provided by the rental company.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  4. Default Gravatar
    | August 11, 2015

    My son hired a car in Queensland yesterday and didn’t get insurance. Can I purchase insurance for him today 11th of August until 16th August 2015 please.

    • Staff
      Richard | August 11, 2015

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer. If you would like to compare the products from our providers, please see the table above.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  5. Default Gravatar
    maisie | May 12, 2015

    Hi, I have taken out travel insurance for our holiday in europe and the uk. This insurance is comprehensive and includes car hire excess of $3000. Does this mean I don’t need to take out excess insurance with the car hire company. Or does this just pay me back the amount I have to pay.
    Just a little confused. I had read somewhere not to take insurance with the car hire company because it was already covered in my travel insurance.

    • Staff
      Richard | May 13, 2015

      Hi Maisie,

      Thanks for your question. The insurance through the rental company cover things relating to the car and acts like a temporary version of your normal car insurance. Car rental excess insurance covers the gap between what is covered by your insurance and the actual cost of damages. This gap can run into the thousands of dollars, so some people choose to take out the additional protection provided by car rental excess insurance. As you already have a comprehensive policy, you might be covered for car rental excess. You may want to have a look through your policy document to confirm whether or not you already have this cover.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  6. Default Gravatar
    Mick | April 5, 2015

    We shall be hiring a car for 34 days whilst visiting the UK.

    Most insurer’s I have looked at only provide cover for the first 14 days, or, 30 maximum.

    If I buy Car Rental Excess Insurance from you will it cover the whole period of hire?

    Thank you.

    • Staff
      Richard | April 7, 2015

      Hi Mick,

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer. If you would like to receive a quote from one of the insurers in our panel, please consult the table above.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  7. Default Gravatar
    JOHN | February 17, 2015

    Hi,
    I have an annual travel insurance policy(domestic)

    I need to hire a car whilst mine is in the panel beaters, and the rental company want to basically double the rental to reduce the excess

    I thought I’d be covered by my annual policy – but careful reading revealed I must have travelled a minimum of 250km from home to be covered.
    Can I purchase a policy that will ever me in my home city (Sydney by the way)
    Thanks Regards JOHN

    • Staff
      Richard | February 18, 2015

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. Travel insurance is designed to cover you while you are travelling, which is why you can’t be covered in your home town. You can take out car rental insurance excess with Tripcover from $5.51 per day (over 15 days), which is cheaper than the car rental companies rates and is underwritten by Allianz.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  8. Default Gravatar
    Jill | February 4, 2015

    Purchased reasonably comprehensive travel insurance last August for trip starting April 2015. Part of the holiday includes 17 days car hire in USA. Was just re-reading the PDF and discovered the cover for damage etc to hire car only applies if the period of hire is no more than 15 days! What do I do now? Would car rental excess insurance be suitable in this situation?

    • Staff
      Richard | February 4, 2015

      Hi Jill,

      Thanks for your question. You may want to contact your insurer and find out whether or not they would be willing to offer you additional cover, for the two extra days (possibly at an additional premium). It’s also important to check whether they will cover the rental at all, as some insurers only cover trips that are less than 15 days, meaning you’re not even covered for the first 15 days of the trip.

      Car rental excess insurance may be an option for you. Unfortunately, finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide you with advice. If you are interested in taking out car rental excess insurance, please review the information on this page. If you would like to receive a quote, you can contact one of the providers our panel above.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  9. Default Gravatar
    Richard | January 12, 2015

    I am after a policy that includes motorcycle rental excess.

    • Staff
      Richard | January 12, 2015

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, finder.com.au is a comparison website and as such we are not permitted to make product recommendations. However, we do have a page motorcycle travel insurance page. On this page you’ll be able to review the insurers that provide cover and also find other useful information.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  10. Default Gravatar
    madharry | December 23, 2014

    How do you take out insurance on this site ?

    • Staff
      Richard | December 24, 2014

      Hi Madharry,

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, finder.com.au is a comparison website and not an insurance provider. However, if you would like to compare quotes from the insurance providers in our panel, please have a look at the page below. This page is dedicated to travel insurance access. On the page you can fill out the quote for and compare excess amounts for the travel insurers in our panel of providers.
      Travel Insurance Excess
      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

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