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Hire car damage costs an average of £500 to fix

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Written by: Emma Lunn
10/07/2019
Almost a third of hire car drivers don’t realise they have to pay damage costs up to the excess amount on their rental agreement.

The average damage cost is £500 but drivers could face charges up to £6,000 or more – enough to buy a new car.

iCarhireinsurance.com, a provider of standalone car hire excess insurance, looked at its claims data from summer 2018 to find the average price of claims for damage to different parts of a hire car. It also surveyed more than 2,000 UK hire car drivers to find out if they knew how much damage can cost to repair.

Hire car drivers will need to pay the excess on claims but many won’t realise the excess on a hire car is a lot higher than the excess on a normal car insurance policy.

iCarhireinsurance.com found damage to a hire car’s windows is one of the most common damage claims, with rental companies charging an average fee of £403 for this damage. Two thirds (67 per cent) of car hirers say they would feel angry and ripped off if they were charged this. The highest claim iCarhireinsurance.com received for window damage was £1,733.

Damage to a hire car’s undercarriage costs an average of £688 to fix. But the highest claim iCarhireinsurance.com received for undercarriage damage was £6,027.

Damage to tyres cost on average £224 but iCarhireinsurance.com has received claims up to £1,675.

Worryingly, nearly a third (30 per cent) of hire car drivers were unaware that if their hire car is damaged or stolen, they are liable for the excess cost.

The average excess is about £2,000, according to iCarhireinsurance.com’s 16-country study of car hire costs, but can be up to £6,000 in some countries.

Excess insurance

Rental desks charge an average of £136 for a week’s excess cover, and often sell an additional tyre and windscreen policy for an average £31.

A standalone excess policy normally works out cheaper. Cover with iCarhireinsurance.com starts from £2.99 a day for a European policy or £42.99 for an annual policy.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com, said: “I hope by sharing this information about our claims, hire car drivers will understand the kind of money they could be liable for if their hire car is damaged. Don’t be fooled into thinking that damage only happens to bad drivers, most of our claims are for damage that wasn’t the driver’s fault, or even damage which happens to a car whilst parked.

“Excess insurance is very important, but make sure you are covered for damage for all of the car, including the tyres and windscreen. You can save on average £139 by buying from a standalone provider like iCarhireinsurance before you travel.”

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