Car rental excess insurance

If you rent a car and it is stolen, maliciously damaged or involved in an accident while in your possession, the rental company will charge you what is known as an excess. This excess can be several thousands of dollars and leave a big dent in your bank balance.However, don’t let this potential expense put you off hiring a car, as car rental excess insurance can help cover the cost of this excess. If you're ready to take out cover right away, follow the secure links below to receive a quote.

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Details Features
Car Rental Excess Cover
Car Rental Excess Cover
Guaranteed to be at least 50% cheaper than rental desk policies. Cover starts from $9.48 per day (based on a 15 day hire).
  • Complete vehicle cover for up to $100,000 in damages
  • $0 excess on all policies (plus no claim fees)
  • Covers all vehicle types, including motorhome, 4x4
  • Can be used with ANY rental car company
Get Quote More info
Car Hire Excess Cover
Car Hire Excess Cover
Cover for eligible drivers from 21-71 years of age. Cover starts from $9.30 per day (based on a 15 day hire).
  • Car rental excess from $4,000 up to $8,000
  • Vehicle return cover up to $500
  • Cover for drivers in Australia and overseas
Get Quote More info
Car Rental Excess Cover
Car Rental Excess Cover
Covers all eligible drivers listed with rental company. International drivers welcome. Cover starts from $5.68 per day (based on a 15 day hire).
  • 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
Get Quote More info

What is car rental excess insurance?

What is car rental excess insurance?

Car rental excess insurance provides cover for the excess charge imposed by a car rental company when your hire vehicle is stolen, maliciously damaged or is involved in an accident (even if the accident wasn’t your fault). The excess payable varies across rental companies but it generally starts at around $3,000 and can be more than $5,000 in some cases.

If you purchase car rental excess insurance, this excess can be reduced to a much smaller amount or even cancelled altogether. And when you consider that this type of insurance is available from $6 a day, it’s well worth considering for some extra peace of mind the next time you hire a car.

What does car rental excess insurance cover?

Car rental excess insurance can provide two types of cover. Depending on the insurance policy you choose it can either:

  • Reduce the excess to a more manageable amount, such as $300 instead of $3,000
  • Remove the excess altogether

In cases where the cost of repairing the vehicle costs less than the excess, insurance will cover the repair expenses instead.

Understandably, car rental excess insurance that removes the excess entirely is usually more expensive than a policy that reduces the excess.

Premiums are typically charged at a daily rate – for example, if cover costs $10 a day and you’re hiring a car for seven days, the total charge would be $70.

Most car rental excess insurance policies will cover you for the following types of damage:

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

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

What options do I have?

  • Excess reduction cover straight from rental company

    If you’ve hired a car before, you’ve probably been encouraged to purchase this type of cover by rental company staff when picking up your vehicle. This insurance is arranged directly through the rental company, making it a quick and convenient option, and requires you to pay an additional charge for every day you rent a car. However, it’s typically more expensive than other options.

The most convenient option if you haven't already bought travel insurance or car rental excess insurance.
  • Standalone car rental excess insurance policy

    The second option is to purchase a standalone car rental excess insurance policy direct from an insurer. These policies are specifically designed to protect you against the excess and often cover damage to areas of the car that are excluded by some rental companies, such as windscreen and tyre damage. It’s usually also cheaper than the cover offered by the rental company.

This is a great option if you need a flexible policy designed specifically for car rentals.
  • Travel insurance policy with rental excess insurance feature

    The final option is to take out comprehensive travel insurance that offers protection for your car rental excess. Many policies include this cover as standard, but some offer it as an extra-cost option. This not only ensures that you can enjoy cover for car rental excess, but also for a broad range of other travel risks.

This option is ideal if you're already planning a trip that requires comprehensive travel insurance.
How it worksProsCons
Cover from the car rental companyCan be purchased straight from your rental company when you pick up the vehicle. Some companies allow you to reduce the excess only, while others also offer insurance that can see the excess removed altogether
  • Quick
  • Convenient
  • More affordable than paying the excess
  • Usually more expensive than other car rental insurance excess options
  • Exclusions and terms and conditions apply
Standalone car rental excess insuranceYou purchase a policy direct from an insurer before picking up a hire car. The policy provides cover for the car rental company excess up to a set limit.
  • Designed specifically for car rentals Cheaper than cover from the rental company
  • Usually provides more comprehensive cover than rental company policies and travel insurance policies
  • Greater choice available so you can compare policies and select one that’s right for you
  • Can be expensive if you’re only hiring a car for a short period
  • Doesn’t provide additional benefits like comprehensive travel insurance does
Comprehensive travel insuranceCar rental excess cover is included as a benefit on comprehensive travel insurance. Policies can be purchased direct from the insurer and can also provide an extensive range of other benefits.
  • Included as a standard feature on many policies
  • Can be an affordable option if you need high-level cover for a variety of risks
  • You can also take advantage of the many other benefits provided by comprehensive travel insurance, such as cover for overseas medical expenses
  • Some policies only offer this type of cover as an extra-cost option
  • Only available on comprehensive travel insurance policies, not on basic policies
  • Exclusions apply

What’s not covered by car rental excess insurance?

There are some situations and events when car rental excess insurance will not provide any cover. Your claim will not be paid if:

  • 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 charges or fees imposed by the rental company
  • 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

You should also be aware that different exclusions sometimes apply to each of the types of car rental excess cover available. For example, travel insurance may not cover you if you use the rental vehicle to carry items other than luggage, or if your car is damaged while being driven on an unsealed surface. Meanwhile, excess reduction cover from your rental cover may not cover the excess payable if your vehicle suffers windscreen or tyre damage.

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.

How much does it cost?

What does car rental excess insurance cost?

Examine the tables below for a breakdown of the costs involved in each excess cover option. These figures are taken from's 2015 study of charges.

Excess reduction cover from a car rental company

Standard excessWhat excess is reduced to if you purchase coverDaily rate to reduce excess (on a 7-day hire)
Hertz$4,000$1,210 $0$19.09 $29
Thrifty$4,000$500 $0$26.99 $33

Domestic travel insurance

Excess coveredHow much excess you will be required to pay on claimsDaily rate to cover excess (on a 7-day hire)**Daily rate to reduce excess**
Worldcare Travel Insurance$6,000$0$5.35$32.35

** Based on covering a minimum excess of $4,000

Standalone car rental excess cover

Excess coveredHow much excess you will be required to pay on claimsDaily rate to cover excess (on a 7-day hire)**Daily rate to reduce excess**
RACV$1,000-$8,000$0$18.00$126.00$3,200-$100,000$0$7.76 - $10.44$6.00-$17.00
TripCover$4,000-$6,000$0 $300$10.40 $7.11$13.87 $9.49

** Based on covering a minimum excess of $4,000

How much is the excess if you don’t have insurance?

Is car rental excess insurance worth it? To answer this question, you’ll first need to look at the excess charged by car rental companies in Australia if your hire car is damaged or stolen.

  • Avis: $3,017
  • Budget: $2,850
  • Europcar: $4,180

  • Hertz: $4,000
  • Thrifty: $4,000

Compare this excess payable to the cost of the car rental excess insurance cover you choose. Remembering that cover is available from around $6 a day, which would add up to $42 for one week’s car hire, it’s easy to see that a good car rental excess insurance policy can provide substantial financial protection.

Should I buy excess reduction insurance from a rental company?

That’s entirely up to you, but remember to consider the benefits and drawbacks of cover provided by your rental company before deciding whether it’s right for you. On the plus side, buying cover from your rental company when you collect your vehicle is a simple and convenient option, and if your car is damaged by a covered event then you’ll certainly be glad you had protection in place.

However, excess reduction insurance from rental companies tends to be the most expensive of the cover options available, and it doesn’t provide the same high level of cover as standalone excess cover. It’s also worth remembering that some policies will only reduce your excess rather than eliminate it entirely, so this should be taken into account when working out whether your rental company provides value for money.

Benefits of standalone car rental excess insurance

Why should you consider standalone car rental excess insurance? There are several compelling reasons:

  • It’s affordable. Standalone cover is usually much cheaper than cover purchased through a rental company.
  • It’s designed specifically for car rental. Standalone car rental excess cover is designed for one purpose only: to remove or reduce the excess payable when your hire car is stolen or damaged. This means it’s tailored to the needs of car renters and offers benefits other types of cover don’t.
  • It also covers your luggage and personal effects. Many policies also provide cover for the theft of or damage to luggage and personal belongings in your vehicle.
  • It offers broad cover. Standalone policies often cover damage excluded by rental company policies and travel insurance, such as damage to windscreens and tyres.
  • 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.

Tips for car rental

What to do if you have an accident in a rental car

If bad luck strikes and you’re involved in an accident in your rental vehicle, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Follow the usual steps. Once making sure everyone is safe, take photos of damage to the rental car and all other vehicles involved in the accident. Exchange details with all other drivers and notify the rental company of what has happened as soon as possible.
  • Get receipts. If there’s damage to the vehicle requiring repair, get an itemised receipt that outlines the cost of those repairs. This will allow you to dispute any fees or charges you believe to be unfair.
  • Get a refund. Some rental companies will automatically charge the maximum excess without first getting a repair quote, or will automatically add extra charges to your card without giving you a chance to dispute them. In these situations, contact your credit card provider to seek a chargeback.

Other car rental fees and charges to avoid

Aside from the excess, there are several other hidden fees and charges you should keep an eye out for when hiring a car:

  • Administrative fee. Many car rental companies charge an administrative fee of around 3-4% on top of the cost of hiring a vehicle.
  • Credit card surcharges. Expect to fork out a little extra when you pay for a rental with your credit card. However, under the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Payment Surcharges) Act 2016, businesses are not allowed to impose surcharges that exceed the amount it costs the business to process your credit card payment.
  • Vehicle registration recovery fee. Often charged daily, this fee is designed to cover the rental company’s costs to register the car.
  • Toll admin fees. While some companies will allow you to use your own e-tag, if you use the rental company’s e-tag you will usually be charged an additional admin fee on tolls.
  • One-way fees. If you’re dropping off your rental car in a different location to where you picked it up, expect to be charged a one-way or relocation fee.
  • Premium location surcharge. You’ll usually need to pay an additional surcharge if you’re picking up a car from what the rental company describes as a ‘premium’ location, for example an airport.
  • Additional driver charge. Want to list more than one person to drive the hire car? You’ll usually be charged an additional fee per day.
  • Young driver surcharge. This surcharge applies if the hire car will be driven by someone under the age of 25. For example, Redspot charges a young driver fee of $16.50 per day, while Thrifty imposes a daily surcharge of $27.50 on drivers aged 21 to 24.
  • Excess kilometres fee. If there’s a limit on the number of kilometres you can drive the rental car and you exceed it, you may be charged an extra fee.
  • Refuelling surcharge. If you don’t refuel your vehicle before returning it, you’ll be charged a high price per litre for filling up the tank.
  • Early return fee. Some companies will charge fees to compensate for their loss of rental income if you return your car ahead of schedule. However, it’s generally possible to get back the money you’ve been charged for any unused days.
  • Late return fee. A grace period usually applies if you’re late returning the car, but check the fine print of your rental agreement for full details.
  • Lost accessory fee. If you’ve paid extra to hire a GPS with your rental, you’ll most likely be slugged with a sizable fee if you lose the navigation device.
  • Cancellation fees. If you fail to cancel a booking within a certain timeframe, expect to be charged a cancellation fee.

How to avoid unexpected car rental charges

  • 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 when 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 means 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.

Car rental tips

When you’re picking up a hire vehicle at the car rental counter, it’s common practice for staff to try and sell you excess reduction insurance. And if you’re standing at the front of a long queue of people, all of whom are just as eager to start their holiday as you are, it can be hard to say no to this optional cover.

But as we’ve discussed above, excess reduction insurance from rental companies often doesn’t provide value for money – even though it can help you avoid paying an excess worth several thousands of dollars, it could still add a few-hundred dollars to the cost of hiring a car.

To avoid being pressured into this expensive purchase at the rental counter, shop around for travel insurance or standalone car rental excess cover before picking up a car. This will ensure that you can avoid the nasty shock of an expensive excess if you’re involved in an accident, without significantly increasing the total cost of your holiday.

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42 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    EricJanuary 18, 2019

    I have booked a rental car in WA and am looking for independent excess insurance,
    I can find plenty of information that covers the rental vehicle but very little about third party property, as in having and accident that I am at fault. Do any of theses insurances including over the counter ones, cover the other vehicle?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ValJanuary 23, 2019Staff

      Hi Eric,

      Thank you for leaving a question. You are correct – the page that you are checking is correct when you are ready to compare options for car rental excess insurance. You may refer to this PAGE to check out and compare property damage liability coverage. On the page you may read more about it and also compare companies that offer such coverage. Please make sure to check eligibility requirements and T&C prior to applying.

      Hope this helps.


  2. Default Gravatar
    RowenaDecember 11, 2018

    Looking at rental car excess. We need a rental for an indeterminate amount of time (probably 4-6 weeks) . Can we buy them top up? Can we get a refund if we buy for 10 weeks and rent the car for 6 weeks?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayDecember 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Rowena,

      Thanks for your question.

      Not really sure what you meant by buying the car rental excess top up. Do you mean you’d like to get car rental excess insurance that will cover only the period you’ll use the car? If so, the cost really varies depending on the provider you’re with and amount of time of car hire, standard excess payable and some other factors. So best to check with the insurance company directly the overall cost.

      In the meantime, from the table above, you can contact one of the insurance companies listed to check your options. Alternatively, you can also check the level of cover through the rental agency and it’s cost and see if you can also reduce the excess. As for refunds, the insurer can best advise this if they issue a refund for unused periods, so if you could also confirm this with the insurer, that would be great.

      I hope this has somehow helped.


  3. Default Gravatar
    AdrianNovember 13, 2018


    I will be doing a drive day soon with multiple luxury vehicles inc a Ferrari and Lamborghini. All insurances are covered however there is a 10K excess. My question is can I get cover to cover this excess?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 29, 2018Staff

      Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      It depends on the terms and conditions of your policy. You need to check how much is covered by your car rental excess insurance. If you have a policy in place, the excess can be reduced or even cancelled altogether.

      It would be a good idea to first discuss this with your insurer before heading your way.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  4. Default Gravatar
    DavidSeptember 15, 2017

    Am I covered with these car rental access plans from storm and hail damage, also rim and tyre damage? I cannot find it listed on their policies? I will be traveling in Queensland! I do not want to be told it’s an act of God if I need to make a claim! Hate to be sceptical but everything seems like a scam today.

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanSeptember 15, 2017

      Hello David,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Generally, car rental excess insurance don’t include acts of God.

      Your alternative is to obtain a travel insurance that covers natural disasters. Please review the Product Disclosure Statement to understand the claim requirements, exclusions and what is covered within their policy. You may click “Get Quote” green button of your chosen insurer to proceed.

      Hope this helps.


  5. Default Gravatar
    andyJuly 2, 2017

    Your google entry mentions annual policies for excess cover – but can’t find it on your website.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJuly 2, 2017Staff

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You have contacted, a comparison and information service and we are not an insurer. We currently have three insurers in our panel for car rental excess insurance. For an annual car excess policy quote please click on the green ‘Get quote’ button and select the dates manually.

      You would be well advised to get in touch with your insurer and discuss your options.


  6. Default Gravatar
    DennisApril 18, 2017

    I have just arranged for a Pajero 4WD from Europcar.
    Policies refer to an age group either finishing at 71 or 75 years of age. I am 76 so does that mean I am ineligible for this car rental excess insurance.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZubairApril 19, 2017Staff

      Hi Dennis,

      Thank you for your inquiry. is a comparison and information service and not actually an insurer.

      Please note that 75 may be the age limit for that specific vehicle, best to get in touch directly with the insurer.

      All the best,

  7. Default Gravatar
    SnarfMarch 15, 2017

    How do I get a quote for an annual car excess reduction policy. Is there an option to increase the level of cover to $6-8,000?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZubairMarch 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Snarf,

      Thank you for your question.

      You have contacted a comparison and information service and not an insurer.

      The table on the top of the page lists all insurers in our panel who offer car hire excess cover. The Car Hire Excess brand in our panel offers cover from $4,000 up to $8,000, you can select your desired excess amount on the insurer website and for a quote please click on the green ‘Get quote’ button.

      All the best,

    • Default Gravatar
      SnarfMarch 16, 2017

      I get that part, but I cannot see an option to get a quote for an annual car excess policy only. Can you walk me through it please.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZubairMarch 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Snarf,

      Thank you for your question.

      Currently, we have three insurers in our panel for car rental excess insurance. I just visited their websites and did not find any option of annual car excess insurance on their home quote engine pages. You will need to select the dates manually. Also, may I know the name of the website you have gone too?

      All the best,

  8. Default Gravatar
    AustinAugust 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.


    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardAugust 9, 2016Staff

      Hi Austin, 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.


  9. Default Gravatar
    AustinAugust 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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardAugust 3, 2016Staff

      Hi Austin,

      Thanks for your question. 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

      All the best,

  10. Default Gravatar
    JohnNCNovember 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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardNovember 16, 2015Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. 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,

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