The majority of customers imagine such a close relationship between a hire car and the insurance needed to drive it that the one is paid for at the same time as the other – in other words, directly to the car rental company. It is true that daily car hire insurance can indeed be bought directly from the car rental company, but this is by no means the only option – and some of the other options can give you better protection for a fraction of the price.
To clarify, it is helpful to look at just what is included in the rental company’s daily rate for insurance. This will invariably include: basic insurance against third party claims, to a level required by local legislation; insurance against the theft of the vehicle or loss or damage incurred during an attempted theft; and a collision damage waiver (or loss damage waiver, as it is sometimes called) to reduce the hirer’s responsibility for damage to the vehicle.
The car rental company is likely to insist on such package of different insurances to be in place for each day that the car is hired. It is a way of protecting the company’s investment in the vehicle, of course, and not just for the benefit of the customer. This is all very well, and will provide a level of cover that allows you to drive each day, but is it enough?
With the third party cover often capped at a certain maximum, for example, you could find yourself exposed to considerably higher claims in the event of injury or, God forbid, death of a third party. Furthermore, the cover provided by most car rental companies against loss or damage to the vehicle as a result of theft, attempted theft or accidental damage (the collision damage waiver) is also likely to attract a high excess, leaving the hirer to pick up the first part of the bill for replacing or repairing the hire car.
Yet it is possible to arrange more comprehensive daily car hire insurance in advance of your journey – and only pay a quarter of what you would have paid the car rental company. There are specialist, daily car hire insurance providers, many of them operating on-line, that will provide a comprehensive package at rates quoted on a daily basis.
Typically, these will offer more generous theft cover and collision damage waivers, of up to $100,000 for example; include enhanced cover against third party claims of up to a typical $1 million; extend accidental damage cover to include the wheels and tyres, glass and windows and the roof and underside of the car (all areas normally excluded in the collision damage waiver arranged by most car rental companies; include protection against loss or damage involving uninsured, under-insured or hit-and-run third party drivers; and reduce any other insurance excess to zero.
Car rental companies will be keen to ensure that the vehicle they are making available is adequately covered by insurance and this kind of independently-provided daily hire car insurance is likely to be accepted by most rental companies. The company will ask to see the documentation, however, so it important to remember to take it with you.