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Counting the cost of car hire this summer

British travellers could be stung with an excess fee as much as £1,600 when hiring a car this summer, warns online insurer Protectyourbubble.com.

Stephen Ebbett of Protectyourbubble.com, said: “Most car rental prices include collision damage waiver (CDW) which covers accidental damage to the car and theft protection insurance but it’s not always made obvious that the renter is still liable for the excess, just like they are for their own car. This varies widely from company to company from around £500 to as much as £1,600 – enough to ruin anyone’s holiday if the worst does happen.

“The excess isn’t often fully explained until you arrive to collect your car, at which point the rental company will try and sell its own top-up insurance. Unfortunately, this can be expensive and doesn’t always cover damage to areas of the car such as the roof, tyres, windows or underside. Travellers can save time and money by buying car hire insurance from an independent insurer in advance. It’s much cheaper, generally provides more extensive cover and can be bought by the day or annually which is particularly cost effective for travellers hiring a car several times a year.”

Car hire insurance from Protectyourbubble.co.uk starts from as little as £2.98 a day or £43.50 a year, and covers the excess on the car rental agreement up to £2,000 in any one claim or £3,000 in total each car rental agreement. Costs associated with damage incurred during the car rental agreement to tyres, glass and undercarriage are also covered. Cover also includes benefits for lost keys, personal accident, baggage, reduction in the rental period or cancellation of the car rental due to illness and drop-off charges.

Protectyourbubble.co.uk is a new ethical insurer that donates £1 to the national road safety charity, Brake, for every car hire insurance policy sold or renewed.

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Excess charges and top-up insurance quotes for rentals from 1-8 August 2009 (sourced direct from car rental companies quoted w/c 13.7.09)

Alamo quote £500 excess for a Suzuki Swift in Crete and £35.98 for insurance to reduce the excess

AVIS quote Euro 695 excess for vehicle damage and a further Euro 695 for theft for a Seat Leon in Spain with insurance to reduce the excess quoted at Euro 132.51

Hertz quote an excess of up to Euro 1500 for a Ford Fiesta in Ital and insurance to reduce the excess was quoted as £101.96

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