When it comes to buying car rental cover many people might feel they have little choice or say in the matter. All the relevant insurance cover is provided by the car rental company and the customer has no further involvement other than to decide whether to buy a number of offered optional extras. This is certainly not the case, however, and by carefully choosing to buy car rental cover from an independent hire car insurance specialist considerable savings can be achieved.
Adequate car rental cover is essential, of course, before you even consider driving away a hire car from the pick-up depot. Indeed, the rental company is most unlikely to let you get very far unless you have that cover. Although the company of course wants to make things as easy as possible for its customers, by providing a range of insurance packages to accompany the cars it is renting out, it is by no means obligatory for the insurance to be one provided by the company. Provided the company can reassure itself that alternative insurance cover, purchased elsewhere, offers at least as much protection as its own package, there should be no problem with the acceptability of independently insured car rental cover.
Indeed, a comprehensive car rental insurance package bought from an independent provider can offer a considerably more superior product in terms of the protection offered to the hire car driver. It is worth looking at the component parts of such typical car rental cover, therefore, from an independent specialist.
An essential component is cover against third party claims. Third party cover is a legal requirement for drivers in practically every country of the world and the car rental company will need to know that this cover is in place before releasing a hire car to the customer.
Policies written by independent hire car insurance providers, however, tend to be superior to those issued by car rental companies in terms of the maximum limits on third party claims. The former are likely to include as a matter course Supplemental Liability Insurance – covering up to a typical $1 million third party liability – whereas the rental company is likely to restrict cover to the minimum required by law.
Independent car rental cover will also include collision damage waivers or loss damage waivers to cover theft, damage and loss of use of the rental car. Once again, however, it is likely to provide superior protection to the policy holder because it is also likely to cover, or reduce to zero, any excess otherwise applied to the damage waiver agreement – and such excesses on cover provided by the car rental companies can range from anything from a few hundred to more than a thousand pounds.
Independent car rental cover will also typically extend to damage to the undercarriage, roof, wheels and tyres and glass and windows of the hire car – parts of the vehicle that are normally excluded under the cover provided by most car rental companies.
Car rental cover bought from independent insurance providers will also typically automatically include a number of “extras” that would otherwise need to be bought separately (and at additional cost) from the hire car company. Such extras might include compensation in the event of accidents involving hit-and-run, uninsured or underinsured third party drivers, for example, or insurance to cover the cost of the hirer accidentally locking him or herself out of the hire car.