Car hire insurance – are you on the ball?

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Many among us do not like the word insurance, as it seems we ‘have to’ buy it with every product or service and, quite frankly, its price often seems over the top. It’s not a surprise that we’ve all learned to be critical about insurances, as, well, taking ALL of them would leave us penny-less. But still, sometimes, this cautiousness makes us vulnerable to much greater expenses.

Genuinely, Vehicle Rent customers take car hire insurance matter seriously, thus our customer support provides detailed information about car hire excess insurance to them, daily. But if you still need to call the shots, read below the essentials about car hire insurances.

Every new or existing car hire user will at some point meet CDW, TP, SCDW, EP or SLI -  abbreviations that sound as something heavy will hit your wallet. But Vehicle Rent wants you to have a safe and affordable journey, so it’s essential for you to understand their meaning, before you pay for anything.


Collision damage waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP)

In almost every country, it’s CDW and TP that sum up your ‘basic insurance’, which is required by the law to be included in your rental price. In other words, you can’t get a car hire quote without these two insurances.

  • Collision damage waiver or CDW covers you in case of an accident or collision,
  • Theft Protection or TP covers you in case of theft,
  • (Or sometimes you may stumble upon LDW – a combination of both CDW and TP.)

Bear in mind, that with these insurances you are not covered 100%. In case of a smallest scratch appearing on the back of your car, or someone stealing the car (very often case in some countries!), you will have to pay a substantial amount. This part of the car’s value, that is your responsibility, is called liability or excess. It also usually corresponds to the security deposit that the car rental agency will block on your credit card upon pick-up.


The excess amount is not at all a fixed number – it goes from 300 EUR and up to 3000 EUR. The price depends on the vehicle you’re renting, the car hire agency, the location, and the age of the client. Very often clients get surprised, and even shocked, about this high amount. But remember that you’re driving a valuable car, worth over 10,000 EUR. Therefore, you really need a coverage that will protect you from the unfortunate costs.

TRAVEL TIP: If you truly want a peace of mind, choose Super Excess Refund (Vehicle Rent’s coverage). It’s a customer-friendly coverage that you can buy prior to your trip and is affordable to everyone. Its main advantage is that it covers also the expenses that others ignore.

Special examples:

If you’re renting a car in the USA (or in Canada, The Caribbean, South and Central America), it may happen that both CDW and TP will cover your liability completely. Sometimes, even no deposit will be blocked. Sounds too good to be true, right? In fact, it’s all very much so true - with Vehicle Rent, it’s Alamo that offers this benefit.

(For other countries mentioned above this rule may apply as well, you can check this when making a booking on Vehicle Rent's page or with our customer support!).

However, there are other liabilities that occur in the USA (and Canada, The Caribbean, South and Central America), where you might have to take up extra coverage, especially referring to third party insurances. In the USA, this means that often SLI or EP insurances are not being included in the rental price.

SLI stands for Supplementary Liability Insurance, which covers you for any claims made to third parties for either physical damage to their car or injuries they sustain caused by the incident. This coverage is sometimes also referred to as EP or Extended Protection.

To eliminate any liability and not to face huge extra costs, due to damage or theft, it’s the additional insurance that will keep your rainy fund untouched.


SCDW is what car rental agents offer on spot, as a full protection for your car hire, so (usually) no excess applies. Less conveniently, it means an extra cost for your budget. But don’t get too excited.

Strictly speaking, SCDW does not provide a complete protection of your vehicle as certain important parts of the vehicle are not even included in this coverage. Meaning? For tyres, undercarriage and glass you will be offered a second insurance cover, and yes, this means another cost.

With some car rental agencies, you might be offered a Premium SCDW, a combination of the collision and theft protection + tyres, glass and undercarriage protection. This option is incredibly expensive and will double your total car hire cost at the least!

TRAVEL TIP: Insurances are a complex topic, but extremely important. So, take your time before the trip and check your options wisely. If you need any help in understanding this matter, don’t hesitate to call us and we’ll help.


Your own insurances

OK, now that we have the basic car rental insurances covered, let’s talk about insurances from other parties. You might:

  • have a car hire excess insurance on your credit card
  • you might buy ‘Premium Coverage’ from a booking engine
  • take up a car hire excess policy online from a third party

ALL these coverages function as follows: you remain liable for the excess, you pay for the damage to the rental agency, and you claim your excess back from the insurance provider after the rental.

Our clients have at some point experienced troubles, when trying to get refunded by these providers. Check real examples below to know more.

Real examples:

Credit cards: We’ve stumbled upon cases where our clients had credit card car hire insurance, which attractively meant no extra cost for the client. The catch is that some car rental agencies did not accept this credit card or that the credit card bank did not refund for certain damages according to their policies.

Full Coverage or Premium Insurances: Opting for covers on major booking engines sites, swiftly adding them onto the car hire booking may result in transparency issues. It’s hard to tell WHAT is included through them and how the whole procedure works. Many clients have reported to us, that the claim procedure was long, that not all costs were refunded or that the documentation requested by the companies was just absurd.

Third party excess insurances: When taking this sort of coverage, you can drastically save up on the money spent, however, the policies are less clear. Very often, due to misunderstanding the policy, they take a second, redundant insurance at pick-up time. This means that they pay two times for almost the same thing and they can forget about 'goodwill refunds’.

NB: It's crucial you understand your personal car’s insurance does NOT cover you for your car hire.


Vehicle Rent’s Super Excess Refund

This is not an ad, so we’ll stick to the facts. No fine print.

With this ONE cover you have: excess, glass, tyre, windscreen, administration costs, immobilization costs and parking damages included. On top, as you are our very appreciated client, we will assist you professionally, skilfully and on time. If something goes wrong, you have our full support.

Time to weight it down!

Answer these questions below so you can quickly get the real picture of your future trip and that’s the biggest favour you can do to yourself – and your budget!

  • Are you having a longer rental, where you plan to do hundreds of kilometres?
  • Are your friends or family accompanying you?
  • Are you a relatively young or unexperienced driver?
  • Will you be driving in the mountains, in specific weather conditions, in wintertime?
  • Are you renting a car in a big city, or driving in a country known for its hectic drivers?
  • Is the car you are renting a bigger, luxury or multi-seater car?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you are likely to encounter distractions while driving, troubles on road or face sky-high reparation costs.

Whereas in many situations insurances seem redundant, a car hire is not such case. You are involved in a complex social experiment called traffic, full of unpredictable situations. Furthermore, driving in an unknown area puts you (unknowingly) under a different sort of stress.

Vehicle Rent has learned from close-up about the needs and wishes our clients had and the circumstances they faced. That’s why we could develop a coverage that really stands behind its name. Super Excess Refund has you covered always, especially when you really need it.

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