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How car hire rental companies try to discourage you from buying car hire excess insurance from other sources than their provider...

When I recently rented a car in Nice, France the car hire company Europcar wanted to see me car hire excess insurance. This is one of the ways that a car hire rental operator can increase its revenue from the commission paid by an insurance company.

If you have used another provider like insurance4carhire or Questor (whose products are normally cheaper) you will often find that the car hire company representative might make a comment as happened to my son in Dublin that the policy would not cover the car properly, or have an amount debited to your credit card.

Europcar debited €800 to my card. This also occurred with my son in Dublin recently with Budget. This seems most unfair if say a renter is on holiday, they only have a small credit limit on their car of £2,000 and have an outstanding balance of £500. It would mean that with a deduction of say €800 and with Sterling still weak against the euro there won't be much left on the card to cover accommodation, restaurants and other spending.

I have rented cars in France on several occasions from National Citier and they have a much fairer way of covering themselves. They do not instantly debit your credit card and have the benefit of your money helping their cash flow, but swipe the card so that they have information and authorisation if it is required. This means that if you have a low credit limit you can still go about your holiday without the fear of going over the limit and a) having the purchase rejected or b) being penalised by a credit card company.

Buying an annual policy from or Questor is very good value (approx £44 / £49 per year for European cover). Research that has been carried out by has found that their "Daily policies" - the one sold by the car hire rental companies, cost a lot less than those offered by the car hire rental companies.

Had I purchased a daily excess policy from insurance4carhire I would have paid £4.50 per day, with Europcar the cost would have been £10 per day and they would not have covered windows - tyres - undercarriage like the insurance4carhire one does When my son was in Dublin had he bought a daily excess policy from insurance4carhire it would have cost him £4.50 per day. The cost of the Budget policy would have been £7.53 per day and like Europcar they would not cover windows - tyres - undercarriage. insurance4carhire have an interesting compariable car rental company excess charge site that can be found here Link no longer active).

Remember be prepared to have your credit card debited whilst you are renting and make sure they credit this amount back when you return the vehicle.

Unfortunately you might lose out on a currency conversion and credit card charges for converting the currency.

Ensure that you have an operational amount of credit on your card and then you will profit from the great deals from providers like and Questor - May 2009. It also pays to take out annual policies. (©jmlpropertyservices - Philip Suter)

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See also:

Car Rental Terminal at Nice airport - Location de voitures à l'aeroport de Nice Côte d'Azur - June 2011

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