RAC Cars News


Brits Shunning Insurance Excess Waivers Abroad

By raccars Published

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British drivers renting cars abroad are risking unforeseen large bills by refusing to take out insurance excess waivers. A Post Office study has revealed that over half of British holiday rental drivers have shunned the optional insurance feature when hiring a car.

The insurance excess waiver applies to theft and accidents and is only taken out by 44% of car renters abroad, while only 25% neglect to protect themselves against damage to the car's underbody, tyres or glass, leaving themselves vulnerable to unexpectedly hefty bills upon returning the car.

The excess waiver usually only costs about 12% of the full price of the excess for accidental damage and to refuse it could cost hundreds of pounds, should someone hit your hire car.

Britons renting cars on holiday in Turkey, for example, could pay £22.99 for EWI, while the excess itself could cost £418. In Switzerland, the EWI is £105.83 compared to an accidental damage excess of £1,129. In Spain, one of the most popular car hire destinations for Brits on holiday abroad, the excess waiver comes in at £99.10 but the full excess at £839.

The Post Office, which has compiled the Car Rental Report, is cautioning motorists that refusing the EWI could be a false economy and advises them to investigate all the potential costs of car hire before embarking upon their trip, rather than encountering a nasty surprise when collecting the vehicle at the rental agency office.

According to the report, the cheapest destination to hire a car for a week is Cyprus, at £294.78. Norway was the most expensive destination with an average price of £613.85. The average prices were taken from a selection gleaned from Europcar, Budget and Avis and included certain extras: EWI, an additional driver on the policy, 40 litres of unleaded petrol and sat nav.

In Florida, however, there is no charge for an EWI, making it cheaper than most European rental destinations, once extras have been added.

This is not the first time British drivers have been warned about the dangers of neglecting to take out the EWI, with the Post Office pointing out the pros and cons every year with the release of its Car Rental Report. Motorists looking for a cheap deal can take out a separate, independent excess waiver insurance policy before leaving home, to cover the same provisions as an EWI, often for a cheaper price.

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