Car hire - refundable excess worth it or not?


Have done a few quotes with various companies and have come across the option to have a refundable excess.

Can't find out much about this. Just says that local suppliers will often take a deposit from you on collection of car, to cover any damage. Therefore choosing this option will mean that you can get this back.

Does anyone know how much of a deposit they take?

It makes about £12 difference to the total. It's difficult to know whether it's worth bothering.

Can anyone offer any pearls of wisdom?


  • YorkshireBoy
    YorkshireBoy Posts: 31,541
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    The credit card will be swiped to cover excess of between 300-700 euros (£200-500).

    We always book with for Spain & Canaries and always take this additional cover (managed to get it free 3 years running in Alicante, but had to pay in Tenerife last summer).

    As I understand it, if you have a bump the hire company will still take the excess on the card but when you get back to the UK Holiday Autos will re-imburse this amount.

    There are certain exclusions such as damage to underside or roof of vehicle, or if you deliberately ram somebody else, but I think that £2/day is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

  • purplepatch
    purplepatch Posts: 2,534 Forumite
    Thanks Yorkshire Boy

    I think you are right. £12 for a nine day rental is a small price to pay for the peace of mind. I haven't been able to find out the exact amount of excess for the hire company in question, but its likely to be similar to Holiday Autos. Got to be worth it.

    In case it helps others, its also worth adding that the company I've found are and their prices beat Holiday Autos who I usually find the cheapest. I'm not going to bother getting HA to beat it, as my experience with them last year from the same airport was pretty dire :(
  • YorkshireBoy
    YorkshireBoy Posts: 31,541
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary

    Never heard of

    We always play holiday autos off against suncars but have always then booked with holiday autos due to them giving us their "excess waiver" insurance free of charge. I think suncars have only started doing this excess protection recently (certainly last 2 years or so).

    Three further points to note re holiday autos:

    1/ In the last 4 holiday autos hirings I have had 1 free upgrade (fiesta to mondeo!) and 2 brand new (under 500km) cars.

    2/ I have never had any problems with cleanliness/reliability/customer service in resort (Centauro, Auriga, Hertz).

    3/ For the last 2 years they have been cheaper then for my rental requirements.

    Finally, when booking Tenerife for summer 2005 earlier this month I even managed to get Co-op Travelcare to give me 25% discount on holiday autos' January sale price of £137/week. I have paid £102.75 for 7 days Economy 4-dr A/C (Corsa/Clio/Fiesta) in August, including the £14 "damage excess waiver".

    I'm very pleased with Holiday Autos.

  • purplepatch
    purplepatch Posts: 2,534 Forumite
    Hi Yorkshire Boy

    The supplier HA use at Toulouse airport is Citer. Last year Citer kept us waiting for an hour and half, with kids of 5 and 1, as the car wasn't ready. Then the car seat they gave us didn't fit the car properly and the straps were totally twisted and the seat torn. After 2 letters of complaint they finally refunded the carseat charge, but nothing else. I swore never to use them again :( !

    I should add though that all had been fine the previous time I'd used them.

    Auto europe use europcar, whose desk last year was churning out hire-cars while Citer's had a huge queue and the most useless unprofessional non english speaker working alone. Trying to avoid a repeat performance this year ;)

    Saying that, I may phone HA and mention this auto europe quote and see if they can better it using a supplier other than Citer.

    Thanks for your help :)
  • landmark
    landmark Posts: 98 Forumite
    Anyone know of a good value for money Car rental provider?
    If it moves; sue it!
  • MarkyMarkD
    MarkyMarkD Posts: 9,912
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    £12 for 9 days might sound good value, but when you consider it's an annualised charge of over £500 and that's just to cover the excess - not to cover your entire insurance cost - I think it's a bit of a con.

    Carjet do NOT apply any excess at all to their rentals so that makes their prices more competitive than (say) Holiday Autos who do.

    That said, we had a car from Holiday Autos and the excess was refunded very quickly after my brother's girlfriend crashed it - d'oh!

    In answer to landmark's query, Holiday Autos are generally good value but is well worth checking for Spain and the Spanish islands, particularly because they don't apply any insurance excess. Their service is very good too in my experience.
  • jeffdavies
    jeffdavies Posts: 32
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Just had a quote of £270 from Hertz Car hire for renting a car abroad for 2 weeks. Not bad I thought!!!
    However, when quering the 'included' Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) I was horrified to be told that over £500 would be deducted from my Credit Card in the event of an accident. This money was non-refundable unless it could be later proven, after an investigation that the accident was not my fault; For example, after a 'rear end shunt'.
    I had mistakenly thought that (CDW) meant I was covered for any accidents with no further money to pay! I am now still looking for alternative companies to hire a car.
  • I was interested to read jeffdavies' comments about circumstances in which excess amounts taken via credit cards can be refunded - I have recently returned from a short visit to Italy during which I suffered a 'rear end shunt' and sustained minor damage to the car I was driving. I had not taken out "excess insurance" at the airport (Bari, Italy) as it had not been offered to me or explained at all - the Hertz man just said "Do you want the basic insurance?" (in English) and after waiting in the queue for almost 45 minutes I had been grateful to get the keys and get out of there as soon as possible! Although I exchanged copious details with the other driver, who totally admitted fault, and filled out all the accident forms, when I arrived back at the airport I was told that 800 euros would be swiped from my card. I protested that it was really only a minor bump and damage, that it wasn't my fault, and that the other driver had said that his insurance would cover any amounts to be paid. The amount to be swiped was reduced to 260 euros and the gentleman at the Hertz desk told me that this would be refunded if/when the other driver's insurance company settled the bill. I have yet to hear anything further, although I received an invoice (paid) in the post a few days after I got back which showed that 260 euros had indeed been taken off my card. If anyone has any advice as to what (if anything) I can do about this I should be very grateful. I am going to investigate the other hire companies mentioned in this thread who waive the excess insurance before my next trip - so far "auto-europe" are coming in with the best price (£92 for 5 days)!
  • trisha
    trisha Posts: 488 Forumite
    We had the worst car ever in Tenerife with H.A. not only that but the man meeting us at the a/port didn't turn up until after 11:00pm, one and a half hours after we arrived, we were then charged extra for after hours pick up, the car was a wreck, it was so dark at the depot that we couldn't examine it,we did get it changed but had to travel from Puerto de la Cruz back to the depot.
    We have always rented a car at the airport before ,no problems with this company
    we will certainly use them again next time.
  • MarkyMarkD
    MarkyMarkD Posts: 9,912
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    They can't charge you the CDW excess for trivial damage. If they do so, get them to provide evidence of the cost of repair.

    On our Holiday Autos case (referred to above), we had to pay the excess (later reimbursed by Holiday Autos) but the hire company provided us with a copy of the invoice for the repairs which comfortably exceeded the excess.

    Hire company Ts & Cs state that you are liable to return the car undamaged, or pay for the damage. They do NOT say you have to pay them £500 for a scratch! And you can't increase your liability by purchasing CDW: all you are doing is capping your liability to meet the full costs of any damage caused.

    I should ignore cleverz' advice as all of his 4 posts to date are referral links.

    Once again, why the heck pay £49 to cover 31 days of car hire? That's almost £600 per annum, just to cover a £500 or so excess. BAD VALUE!
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