Our Essential Cover

Our excess protection insurance

When you hire a car, it comes insured by the car rental company. However, there's an excess to pay, which can easily be £1,000 or even £3,000 for larger or luxury brands. That's how much you'll have to pay yourself as part of any claim. Plus, the car's own insurance may not cover things like misfuelling, towing fees or replacing the car keys/locks.

That's why we offer Essential Cover, an excess reimbursement policy you can buy through us at the same time as you make your booking. For a competitive price, it covers you for all your main concerns, including the excess. Below, we explain most of what's covered and not covered, although for simplicity the lists have been abbreviated. For full details, please see the Essential Cover policy document for Europe / USA.

Excess cover that's included

You'll be reimbursed for however much of your excess you have to pay for claims relating to:

  • Weather
  • Damage caused by fire or explosion
  • Accidental or malicious damage
  • Collisions with animals
  • Theft or attempted theft

Even more cover that's included

  • Damage to the undercarriage, roof, tyres, windscreens and auto glass
  • Towing charges if the hire vehicle has to be recovered
  • Misfuelling – for the cost of flushing the engine, travel expenses for continuing your journey, and the cost of recovering the hire car
  • Key cover – for replacing the key or lock transmitter if the original is lost or stolen, including locksmith charges
  • Administration charges applied by your car hire company (including charges for the loss of rental revenue for that vehicle)

What's not covered?

Your Essential Cover won't include claims for:

  • Accessories supplied with the hire vehicle, such as sound systems, ski racks, car seats, satnav, etc
  • Cleaning fees
  • Mechanical repairs or replacement parts needed as a result of misfuelling, or missed departure costs for the same reason
  • Third-party injury or death, or damage to/loss of their property
  • Solely the loss or theft of, or damage to, the contents of the car
  • Incidents arising when the hire car isn't on a public road (eg while on a safari or an adventure trail)
  • Courtesy vehicles from a repair garage or dealership
  • Any incident which arises from war or acts of terrorism, or nuclear risks

Please note that even with this insurance, you may still be required to pay a deposit or bond to the car hire company when you collect the vehicle.

How can you buy Essential Cover?

When you start our booking process, Essential Cover will appear as an option in the insurance section. However, for geographical or partner reasons, this cover doesn't always appear (excess cover isn't required in the USA, as one example).

Can you rely on this cover?

You certainly can. The cover is always sufficient for the excess on any car featured on our website. And the insurance is part of a scheme provided by Riverside Underwriting, which is registered in the UK and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is underwritten by Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's.

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