A guide to booking a car hire with no excess. Often sold as an all-inclusive car hire or a car hire with comprehensive insurance, we explain what it actually means and what to look out for. 

Because car hires are legally required to have basic car hire insurance (comprising Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver, Theft Protection and Third-Party Liability), this is generally included in the cost of a car hire. That means, you don’t need to buy car hire insurance on top. But you may well want to! That’s because many car hires are sold ‘with an excess’, meaning the driver is still liable for any damage or loss up to a certain amount. This is the excess. As we explain in our guide to booking a car hire with an excess, you can buy excess insurance to cover it.

However, there is a more simple type of offer available… Some suppliers offer car hire ‘with no excess’.

Booking a car hire with no excess

Car hires with no excess sounds great. But what does it actually mean? In general, a car hire with no excess means you have all the legally required car hire insurance and the excess has been reduced to zero. Car hires with no excess are also a lot more expensive than car hires with an excess. Indeed, you can find ‘no excess’ deals cost over 10 times as much as deals with an excess!

But as with any car hire deal you’re looking at, you should always read the small print.

Check for exclusions

Just because the deal comes with no excess doesn’t mean the renter isn’t liable for damage to the car. The excess really only covers damage that would be covered by the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (CDW). The problem is that these waivers come with exclusions. Typical exclusions include the tyres, lost keys, windows, glass, roof, undercarriage and interior.

So, whilst you won’t have to pay an excess for damage to the main bodywork, you MAY still be liable for damage to the exclusions.

Our advice: read the small print. You should be able to find this in the Terms and Conditions or under Important Information. If you’re still not sure, do confirm with the broker or supplier.

All-inclusive car hire and cars with comprehensive car hire insurance

Some suppliers sell their ‘no excess’ deals as an ‘all-inclusive car hire’ or having ‘comprehensive car hire insurance’. But as we noted above, read the small print as to what this actually means as it varies between suppliers and location.

Will you still need to leave a deposit?

Possibly. In general, the whole point of having to leave a deposit is that it covers the excess. However, some ‘no excess’ deals still require a deposit. And the deposit needs to be put on the main driver’s credit card when you pick the car up. The deposit amount can vary between suppliers and location. A quick search of car hire suppliers show this can range between zero to 300 EUR. If a deposit is required, it’s released back to the driver when the car has been returned, undamaged, as per the agreement.

In these cases, the deposit may cover any excluded items from the CDW/LDW as well as any damage/loss due to negligence on the driver’s part. It could be as simple as returning the car with a stain on the seat from a spilt drink. Basically, whether you have to leave a deposit or not, you still have to take care of the car.

Buying additional insurance

If the only ‘no excess’ deals available to you have exclusions, you can still purchase additional insurance from a car hire or insurance broker. As we explained in our guide to booking a car hire with an excess, their insurance usually covers items that are typically excluded.

In this case, you may be better off booking a car hire with an excess as it will work out cheaper overall. Just remember that you will still need to leave a deposit on the main driver’s credit card and that this will be a much larger amount to cover the excess.

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