Important read: Rental car excess insurance and COVID-19
Rental car excess insurance is still available for anyone who needs to hire a car. You may need to rent a car if:
- You need to travel for work
- You're moving house
- You need to run essential errands
- You need to provide care
Due to ongoing uncertainty, some insurers are implementing more flexible cancellation policies.
Rental Car Excess Insurance Finder™ helps you easily compare car rental excess insurance
Car rental excess insurance is a type of insurance policy that will cover the excess charged by rental companies if the car is damaged or stolen.
That's helpful because it reduces your out-of-pocket expenses. These excess amounts can sometimes be as much as $8,000. So instead of risking thousands of dollars, get rental car insurance and pay as little as $2.83 per day.
Getting standalone cover is usually much cheaper than cover purchased through a rental car company. On average, car rental excess insurance is three times cheaper than cover from the rental car companies.
Windscreens, tyres, roof and underbody can be included
Brands like Rentalcover.com and Car Hire Excess cover damage to the above even if it's excluded from your rental agreement. This is a special feature of these brands.
Get other helpful inclusions
Some brands will also include cover for your luggage and personal effects, and returning your vehicle to the correct location if you get sick or injured and can't return it yourself.
Covers all sorts of vehicles
Sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs and more – most policies cover an extensive range of vehicles as long as they weigh less than 4.5 tonnes.
Domestic and international policies available
Regardless of whether you're travelling within Australia or overseas, there are standalone car rental excess policies available to suit your needs.
For some perspective, here are the minimum excesses charged by major rental companies in Australia. These charges are based on standard 2WD vehicles, that means that the excess amount can increase if you're renting a more expensive vehicle. If you decide not to take out any type of rental car excess cover, you risk having to pay these amounts if the rental car is damaged or stolen.
- Alamo - $3,000
- Avis - $4,608
- Budget - $4,608
- Dollar - $4,000
- Enterprise - $2,750
- Europcar - $5,500
- Hertz - $4,800
- Jucy - $3,000
- Redspot - $4,400
- Thrifty - $4,000
In the diagram below, we've compared the price of a policy from Rentalcover.com (in blue) against the price of purchasing cover through a car hire company (in red). You can see a significant difference in price with Hertz being almost five times more expensive than Rentalcover.com. Save money by buying a standalone policy instead of getting cover from a rental company.
Another consideration is that some of these rental companies may only offer an "excess reduction" which lessens your out-of-pocket expenses but doesn't always make it zero.
*Prices are based on a 15-day hire in Australia as of September 2019.
When choosing a policy, be mindful and make sure you understand your agreement. There can be big differences between policies so it's relatively safe to say that you get what you pay for.
Car rental excess insurance policies are designed to cover an excess charged by a third party. So if the damage caused to your rental car is not approved as an insurance claim, an excess isn't charged and you won't be able to use your car rental excess insurance policy.
There are some situations and events when car rental excess insurance will not provide any cover such as:
- You use the rental vehicle in breach of your rental agreement
- You use your rental vehicle without a valid licence
- Your claim is for administrative fees charged by the rental company (unless this is included in your policy)
- You were driving the rental car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You failed to act sensibly to protect the vehicle or your property
- You did not do everything possible to reduce or minimise your loss
- It arises because you break the law
- You travel against medical advice
- Your claim arises due to a pre-existing medical condition
- Your claim is for consequential loss of any kind, for example loss of enjoyment
- Your claim arises due to mental illness, depression, anxiety or stress
- Your claim arises because you participate in any race, speed or time trial
- Your claim arises from a government authority confiscating, detaining or destroying anything
With this in mind, make sure to check the terms and conditions of whichever cover option you choose to work out when you will and will not be covered.