If you've ever arrived at an airport and gone to collect your fully insured hire car you will know that what we know as full insurance is different from their definition - there is a long list of insurance extras to pay for from tyres to windscreens to doorlocks to a compulsory excess on any claim. These are very profitable extras for the car hire company to sell - some would describe it as a ripoff. If you don't take the insurance it can be amazing what faults the person inspecting the car will find - faults that you will have to pay for. Luckily car hire excess policies exist, which you can buy in this country for single trips or a full year of them and which invariably is far cheaper that the prices the car renters will demand.
Collision damage waver (CDW) is usually included with a hired car, but this is often very basic cover, and sometimes it isn't offered at all so you need to arrange your own.
This is an Irish company, with a branch in Cardiff. It's parent is Blue Insurance Limited, a subsidiary of the Cover-More Group, which in turn is owned by Zurich Insurance Group. In the year ending December 2019 Blue Insurance Limited had a fee and commission income of just under 17 million Euros, so they are fairly substantial. They are insurance brokers, not only selling online but also through travel agents, tour operators and other brokers. They offer a number of different car hire excess options, with daily or annual rates available, covering hire in Europe and (almost) worldwide - certain countries are specifically excluded. Their cover protects against risks of windscreen, tyre and undercarriage damage, theft, accident, loss of use of the rented car, fire and vandalism. Personal possessions in the car can also be covered. Lost keys can be replaced or locks changed if necessary. Drivers must be permanent UK residents, between 21 and 84 years of age, and up to five additional drivers can be included on the policy, provided that they are listed as additional drivers on the vehicle rental agreement. They aso operate under several different banners; multitrip.com, economycover.com, carhireexcess.com, and annualtravelinsurance.com.
This company was founded in 2009 as Halo Insurance Services Limited and car hire excess insurance is it's main activity. It is supported by Zurich Travel Solutions Pty Limited and Zurich Insurance, one of the biggest insurers in the world, underwrites it's policies. These are not only available to UK residents but the company also operates in Holland, Italy, Australia, France, Ireland and the USA. Since 2017 they have also been part of the Cover-More Group; this is a global travel and medical insurer, owned by Zurich, which claims around 40% of the Australian market. They offer daily policies for EU countries for trips up to 31 days, annual policies for EU only and annual worldwide ones. These cover excess charges of up to £6,000. You may also need collision damage waiver (CDW); this covers loss of, or damage to, your hire car and it is usually included with rented cars but in some countries, such as Canada and the USA, this is an extra and normally very expensive, but this can be included as an extra in an icarinsurance policy covering either Canada and the USA only, or a worldwide one.
This is part of the Swinton Group Limited, the major insurance intermediary which used to have a chain of High Street offices. Swinton turned over more than £128 million in the year ending December 2019. In turn it is now, itself, part of the Ardonagh Group, which claims to the the biggest independent insurance group in Britain, with over 7,000 employees. So, your premium should be safe. They offer excess insurance for rentals of up to 60 days at a time, for drivers between 21 to 85, and single trip or yearly policies for either Europe or worldwide. You can aso get excess policies for hired vans in the UK, provided that it is for a commercial purpose. They can also provide collision damage waiver worldwide - or almost worldwide - and supplemental liability insurance, which goes on top of the third party insurance that is normally included, and which you will probably need when driving in the Americas where the obligatory cover for injuries can be as low as $15,000. Up to seven additional drivers can be covered per rental provided that they are named as such on the hire agreement.
Questor Insurance (which the company still trades as) started life in 2007 but changed it's name to Riverside Underwriting Limited in 2018. The company has about 20 employees. They sell only travel insurance and excess cover. They offer special rates for members of car clubs, such as E-Car Club or Zipcar, and unlike some other companies they will cover vans, motorhomes and minibuses too, provided that these are used for private and not business purposes. They claim to be easy to communicate with; you can contact them by online chat, email, telephone or social media. If the possibility of battery failure bothers you, you can buy an addon which covers the cost of replacing and fitting the battery, and additional travelling expenses that this may cause you. They will cover residents of the UK plus most European countries and drivers must be between 21 and 84 with a full driving licence.
Something a little different - Ramasis Ltd trading as insurecarhire.co.uk are car vehicle hire specialists who have been in the insurance business since 1984. They provide a pay-as-you-go solution for car rental companies that may have vehicles that can spend long periods in the company car park whilst they are subject to expensive insurance charges. These policies may be suitable for taxi or car hire companies, and they cover each vehicle for the specific length of each car hire. This means that when business is quiet, insurance costs can be reduced considerably. Excess protection is also available for clients of these rental companies, and not only cars but campers, motorhomes, vans, and even horseboxes can be covered for up to £3,000. Policies can be arranged online and the underwriter is Universal Insurance Company (Guernsey) Ltd.
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