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92% of business travellers don't understand car hire insurance

14th July 2011 Print

Many business travellers are confused by car hire insurance which is putting their companies at risk of high insurance costs or high penalty fees being added to expenses claims, says a leading online insurance company,, following the results of a survey it conducted with YouGov.

The survey of people who had hired a car for business travel revealed that 92% of business travellers did not realise that if their hire car was damaged or stolen in Europe, even if it wasn’t their fault, then they would be liable for the first part of a claim i.e., the excess amount of up to £1500. That is 92% of people leaving themselves, and therefore their company, liable for up to £1500 every time they hire a car for business.

Excess insurance can be bought to protect drivers from this, but the cover available at the car rental pick-up desk is expensive at around £16 a day, compared with just £2.99 a day from The survey revealed that 17% had been scared into buying extra insurance at the car rental pick-up desk, with over seven out of ten business travellers (76%) not knowing that they could buy excess insurance from providers other than the car rental company. And indeed the vast majority, over half (57%) also did not know that this insurance is significantly more expensive than they could buy elsewhere.

Ernesto Suarez, CEO,, “These results show that business travellers are surprisingly ill-informed about car hire insurance and are risking high excess claims by not having excess insurance, or perhaps, because it’s not their own money, are paying through the nose for expensive additional insurance at the car rental pick up point.”

There was also widespread ignorance about what excess insurance did and did not cover with eight out of ten business travellers (80%) not knowing that some excess insurance doesn’t include damage to windows, tyres, roof or undercarriage or driving within 150 km of home. Nine out of ten business travellers (94%) also did not check the small print to find out the cost of lost keys or short notice cancellation. With many contracts, the hirer can be charged up to £300 for lost or stolen keys and up to 50% of the contract plus costs for last minute cancellations. excess policies start from only £2.99 a day or annual cover for £39.99 and include damage to the tyres, windows, roof and undercarriage, which are usually excluded from the car rental companies’ policies. Key cover is available for only £4.99 single trip and £9.99 a year and cancellation cover for only £9.99 a year when bought with an annual excess policy.

“Companies can save hundreds of pounds by buying annual excess insurance for their staff that is frequently the same price as just three days of a car rental company’s excess insurance, as well as offering better protection,” said Ernesto Suarez, CEO,

The confusion is not just for those driving in Europe. 62% of business travellers didn’t know that you need to have CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) when renting in the USA or you risk being responsible for the full cost of the vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident, or even risk a six figure claim for compensation if you cause death or injury to a 3rd party in an accident.