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broken down car

When it comes to rental car insurance, it’s like you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. You want the peace of mind of being fully covered if something should happen, but you don’t want to pay through the nose to feel secure. And just when you think you’ve found a great deal on the price of that European rental car, you realize that the insurance you want will cost more than the rental! Especially if you want to eliminate the ‘deductible’ or ‘excess’ part of the insurance policy.

I’m confused: What’s the difference between ‘Deductible’ and “Excess”?

EEU map
If you rent a car in Europe, you’ll find that rental agencies there often use a different term for ‘deductible’. They use terms such as ‘Excess”, “Collision Damage Waiver” (CDW) “Super Collision Damage Waiver” (SCDW), or “Non Waiver”.

But a rose by any other name is still a rose, or in this case, a thistle, because these words all mean the same thing: they describe the money that YOU have to pay before any other insurance kicks in. And those ‘excess/deductibles’ alone can be in the thousands of dollars (I saw one European policy that had a 3,000 Euro Excess – which is about $4500 Canadian!)

So you think, hey, my credit card has this, right?

Well…probably not. While your credit card company (or even your own car insurance from home) may cover the basic car insurance for liability, and/or damages, they likely do NOT cover the deductible portion that the rental car company sets. Which means you’re on the hook for that deductible, and those costs can be craaaazy.

Luckily, I’ve found a way you can save BIG on European rental car insurance!

After hours of research online, I found a UK company that offers standalone insurance policies that cover just the deductible portions of your car rental agreement!!!

Say hello to
icarhire insurance logo

This UK company makes it their business to cover you’re a$$ when it comes to all those rental car insurance deductibles! You just purchase a stand-alone Excess Insurance Policy and you are covered for any deductible costs up to 6,000 British Pounds.

What does an Excess Insurance Policy actually cover?

cracked windshield

Beyond those ‘excess’ or ‘deductible’ amounts you would have to pay if your rental car gets damaged or stolen, Excess Insurance also covers other damages, such as: windshields, tires, roof and undercarriage. These are things that most of the insurance policies sold by rental car companies WON’T COVER, even if you do opt for their expensive zero-deductible insurance. So you’d STILL be on the hook if a horse throws a shoe on that country road, and it cracks your windshield. But with icarhireinsurance, you’re protected for those parts of the car as well.

Of course you’ll still need to have insurance to cover damage, theft, and liability beyond the deductible amount, but these insurance costs are usually included in the basic cost of your rental – be sure to check just to be sure.

What does ‘Excess Insurance’ cost?

Waaaay less than those other peace-of-mind full coverage options at the car rental desk. I opted for an ‘annual’ plan that cost me $95 Canadian and covers me for unlimited trips for a year. (I bought the annual plan because it was actually cheaper than just doing my 14-day rental as a one-off).

And when you do the math, even with the cost of the Excess Insurance, you can save BIG, compared to rental car insurance.

What can you save? On one rental alone, I saved $230!

Euros stacked
Here’s one example of what you can save: I found a rental car in Portugal that cost 151 Euros ($221 Canadian) for 2 weeks rental and came with a ‘basic’ insurance that included the usual fire, theft and liability, and with a deductible of 900 euros. ($1300 Canadian). But if I wanted to reduce that deductible to zero, the insurance alone would cost me an additional 222 Euros ($325 Canadian!) So now my ‘affordable’ rental just went from $221 Canadian to $546!

But by declining that costly additional insurance, and paying the $95 Excess Insurance instead, my total still only comes to $316 Canadian. ($221 + $95). Which means I’ve saved $230!

So, how do the rental companies feel about all this?

Honestly, they’re probably not happy! In fact, some rental companies might even try to cast doubt on whether your Excess Insurance policy will protect you – but don’t be bullied into buying more insurance from them. Stick to your guns, and decline the Excess, CDW, SCDW, or anything else they try to sell you.

However, because you aren’t purchasing any additional insurance from them, rental companies may require a credit card as a security deposit, so make sure your credit card limit allows for this. Because if something does happen, you’ll need to pay the rental company’s deductible on your credit card first, before you get reimbursed by icarhireinsurance.

Chubb logo
If you still have some lingering doubts about and their credibility, you can always read some of the reviews from people who have used them. Also, all of their policies conform to UK insurance regulations and are underwritten by well-established insurers like Chubb Insurance.

The bad news (but not really!)

There had to be something, right? But actually, the only problem with icarhireinsurance is that although Canadians and Americans who live in North America can purchase a policy for any European car rentals, they cannot buy a Worldwide policy. Those worldwide policies are only available to EEA (European Economic Area) residents. But hey, even if you only use this for European rentals, you’re still ahead of the game!

The great news

Happy pig on wheels
The bottom line is that can save you hundreds on your next European car rental AND protect you from unwanted expenses – which is my idea of peace of mind!

TIP: Like with any insurance policy, documents are key, so read yours, keep them with you if you are travelling, along with any numbers to call, etc. And if something does happen, make sure you have copies of everything from the rental car agency, too. You’ll need those to get reimbursed for any claim you make.


Note: This post is completely unsponsored. I just happened to discover this, and thought you should know! ‘Cause that’s the kind of girl I am! 🙂

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Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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