Eurozone excesses charged to British credit cards

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Car Rental News - 14/02/2008


Experts urge car renters to read the fine print or pay big

Britons who hire cars in Europe are being warned to read the fine print or face high excess penalties of up to £1,000 if something goes wrong. According to, some rental companies in the Eurozone offer consumers little choice but to accept unfair conditions for their rentals or go without a car for their holiday.

Larry Ursich, a spokesperson for Insurance4carhire said: “Whilst overseas, many UK drivers have to accept the car hire firm’s policies at inflated prices or else drive away with no protection against a host of potential problems.”

What many car renters don’t know is that in case of an accident or damage to the car, they, not the rental agency, will often be forced to pay the excess fee, a fee which can be remarkably high. Nor is ignorance an excuse, with many companies taking the fee directly from a renter’s credit card.

Other problems to be aware of include that many insurance policies offered by rental agencies in locations such as Italy, France, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, often do not cover the cost of damage to the rental car’s windows, tires or undercarriage.

Mr Ursich explains: “Although Portugal, with its hefty excess penalty of up to £1,000, generally includes damage to the undercarriage, tyres and windows, those travelling to France could be stung by a charge – between £550 and £750 – as damage to those parts of the vehicle is generally excluded.”

When arranging to rent a car, it is always a good idea to read the policy’s fine print and understand exactly what the company’s insurance covers. Standalone insurance for car hire can be purchased in the UK which is designed to provide cover for those things the rental company’s insurance does not.

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