Beating Car Hire Excess with “Bingle and Dingle” Insurance

If you don’t rent cars often, it’s pretty easy to be confused by what you’re covered for in the event of an accident. Overseas, what’s compulsory for coverage can vary between states, let alone differences between countries. Terms such as loss damage waiver, collision damage waiver and single vehicle accident excess also help contribute to the confusing picture. For many travellers, the best option is to take out additional insurance. With many of our member’s regular car hirers, the question was recently asked, what’s a good policy for some piece of mind, even if you hire a car locally?

Does anyone know of a good frequent renters insurance (Australia) that covers the $3,000 odd excess that is the default from many hire car companies? I’m at 150 days rented this year and I have nothing and I think I’ve pushed it far enough.

If you are renting in Australia, it should be noted that the loss damage waiver is normally included in the rental. This is basically a fee for coverage where the car rental company will only hold you responsible for an excess and not the full cost of the vehicle damage or loss. Keep in mind in some circumstances you can still void that protection. Many companies prohibit driving on unsealed roads. They also will not cover you for any use of the car in an illegal manner, including drink driving.

Another trap to keep an eye out for is the introduction of an additional excess for single vehicle accidents. If you have an accident and there are no other parties, not only will the standard $4000 excess be payable, single vehicle accident excess will also be payable which can double your liability. And if you collected your car from a premium surcharge location, that surcharge which is often 15% will also be applied to the amount owing.

With such high amounts of out of pocket expense at risk, some of our members were still happy to rely on their credit card insurance, and possibly some bonus points.

You can get the ANZ cover for free (still a AUD350 excess however) and 50000 QFFP as well if you apply for a new ANZ card at the moment.

Others prefer a fully paid up travel policy from an insurance company.

I use an annual travel policy through Amex to deal with the excess issue. At $400 per year it’s money well spent for all benefits, and including excess cover. Many other annual travel policies mentioned here include excess cover.

Like anything involving money and insurance, you need to read the fine print before deciding on what policy makes sense for you. Some policies will not cover you for accidents or trips in your home city. Other policies will cover you so long as you drive more than 100km as part of the trip. Have you found a product that gives you piece of mind when renting a car but does not cost the earth, why not join the conversation HERE.


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