Car Hire Excess Insurance – A Claim from Spain

When hiring a car,  I normally check for the best rates through a Car Hire Broker such as Zest/Economy Car Hire or Auto Europe.  However in order to avoid having to pay out large amounts of money following any mishap, I also take out car hire excess insurance. This covers not only for the normal theft and accidental damage excesses, but also for losses that are not normally covered, such as: tyres, keys, windows and undercarriage. It also covers for damage caused by vandalism.

Car Hire Excess Insurance - Beach South of Malaga, Spain
Beach South of Malaga, Spain

Over the last five years I’ve taken out annual worldwide cover with This costs about £50 a year, but I know then that I’m covered no matter where I travel, such as on my recent 3,600 mile Road Trip USA.

It has saved me from paying the exorbitant amounts for excess cover requested by car, such a hire companies when picking up a vehicle; this can be £20 a day or more.

Cover can be obtained on a daily basis for about £4 worldwide, with European-only cover at about £40 annually or about £2 a day.

You do need to present a credit card when picking up the car and normally a returnable ‘deposit’ equivalent to several hundred pounds is reserved against your card. Don’t let that put you off; my deposits have always been returned without any problem.

Hire Car for my Road Trip USA
Hire Car for My Road Trip USA

Sometimes I’ve had to resist high pressure attempts to make me take out the hire companies’ excess insurance. Recently on hiring a car in Rome to travel to Pompeii and Herculaneum, I was informed that I would be entering a high risk area and that up to Euros 3500 could be taken from my credit card if there was any damage or theft. They strongly advised me to take out their excess insurance. I resisted in the knowledge that would repay any such charges.

But would they? I hadn’t made any claims, so didn’t know how easy it would be in practice to get charges refunded.

Recently a relative of mine (I’ll call him Dave in this article) had a mishap near Alicante and made a claim from This describes his experience.

Car Hire in Spain

In August this year, Dave hired a car for a week from a small car hire firm in Malaga. ‘Excess Insurance’ was included, but on checking the small print, Dave realised their ‘Excess Insurance’ did not include:

Tyre and wheel damage, interior damage, damage to the roof, damage to the underside of the vehicle, damage to the glass parts of vehicle (including the windscreen), wing mirrors, loss or damage to the car key, locks, aerials, vehicle documents, registration plates and any additional equipment provided with the vehicle.

Seat Ibiza Hire Car in Spain
Seat Ibiza Hire Car in Spain

Quite a list! Hence for peace of mind so he and his family could relax on holiday, Dave opted to take out excess insurance with at a cost of about £15 for the week. A very good decision as it turned out.

All went smoothly on picking up the car, with Dave resisting pressure to take out the hire company’s ‘full excess insurance’ at about £15 per day. And the first few days of the holiday went well, but then …

Vandalism or Attempted Theft

Dave had parked the hire car near the beach whilst he and his family enjoyed the sun, sand and sea. However, on returning to the car, he could no longer open the door and there were signs that something like a screwdriver had been used on the lock. Fortunately, the passenger door was open, so Dave was able to drive to the car hire company premises. Curiously , nothing had been taken from the car.

The car hire company representative examined the damage and suggested that replacing locks could cost Dave up to Euros 750! As to whether this was vandalism or attempted theft made no difference, replacement of locks had to be paid for.

Dave Car Hire
Dave could continue his holiday…

At this stage Dave decided to phone the claims number and was pleasantly surprised that he was immediately connected to someone who could deal with his case. No “Choose an option” or never-ending background music.

Dave was told that in order to make a claim, he needed to send a copy of his driving licence, a copy of the hire rental agreement and a receipt for any charges made for damage to the car. He also needed to provide a copy of his credit card statement showing the amount taken by the hire company. There was no need to have any police statement.

The hire company managed to make interim repairs so Dave could continue his holiday with the hire car. The company eventually decided that the damage would cost Euros 350, which was taken from Dave’s credit card.

Dave sent in the claims form within a couple of week’s of the incident and provided the documentation required by Just 10 day’s later he received a cheque for £255, equivalent in full to the Euros 350 he had paid.

A very happy Dave remarked to me: This is brilliant. I’ve had problems before when dealing with insurance companies, but this lot were easy to get in touch with, helpful and very quick in paying up.