What is Excess Cover? Rental Car Protection Explained

What is Excess Cover? Rental Car Protection Explained

The last thing you want to worry about while on holidays is having to pay for the cost of a dent or minor scratches left on your rental vehicle. If you’re not careful, minor damage such as these could add up. Rental car protection helps cover the cost of such incidents and protects you from a potentially massive bill at the end of your trip.

At the rental desk or rental car depot, protection is offered at an additional cost. This typically doesn’t cover you for things such as lost keys, claim fees or other administration fees. At RentalCover, we offer products that cover you for a range of situations such as damage to your roof, underbody, scratches, accident related administration fees and more. And the best part? We offer $0 excess.

What is Excess Cover?

To explain what Excess Cover is, it’s important to understand what ‘excess’ is. Excess (known as deductible or franchise in the US and Europe respectively) is what you’re liable to pay in the event of an accident or damage is caused to your rental vehicle. Excess Cover is the protection that you can purchase to help cover the excess.

The excess amount will be determined by the rental company and can vary according to where you live, your destination, your age and the type of vehicle you’re renting. For example, if you purchase protection and your rental vehicle is damaged, you’re liable to pay the excess amount to cover the cost of damage and repairs.

RentalCover ‘charges’ $0 excess. Whether damage or an accident costs $100 or $8000, you are only required to cover the cost of repairs upfront and we'll refund it to your account once the claims process is complete. The only thing you pay for is the cost of purchasing the protection.

How Much Will Rental Car Protection Cost?

For only a few extra dollars a day you can get full coverage with RentalCover. When you rent a car in most countries, the default protection you’re offered will have an extremely high excess, often in the thousands. You can be liable for this amount if any damage is done to the car (or they report that damage has been done to the car).

Rental car company vs Standalone rental car insurance

Some of the most popular rental car insurance companies can offer additional protection anywhere between $19-$37 per day. Depending on the company, the coverage can vary wildly, often excluding important things like keys, windscreens, tires and underbody damage The standalone rental car protection that we offer at RentalCover gives you much greater coverage for around $7-16 and has no excess depending on the country you are in.

Is it worth getting rental car protection?

Purchasing rental car protection is optional, however in the event of something going wrong, the cost of repairs might leave you out of pocket. In such cases, it pays to spend money upfront on excess coverage, LDW or CDW. These products effectively keep the cost of damage to a manageable amount.
When you buy protection from us, you pay a small non refundable fee in exchange for us taking a big risk off your shoulders, and although luck is good, having protection is better.

What does RentalCover cover?

RentalCover covers the excess amount along with any administration fees or other fees that rental companies may charge including:

  • Flat tires, cracked windshields, damaged headlights, lost keys, and towing.
  • Sky-high fees added to your repair bill, such as an administrative fee, loss of use fee and credit card fees.
  • We cover additional drivers for free if they are nominated on your rental agreement.
  • Rentals for more than 30 days.

Read more about how RentalCover works.

Three reasons to get rental car protection from RentalCover

  • We beat any price. We're up to 50% cheaper than what’s offered at the rental desk. Take a look at our comparison of the savings you could make with our car rental protection below.
  • We provide more cover. RentalCover also provides more coverage than the default protection offered at rental car companies.
  • No hidden fees and no claim fees. The cost of fees in case of an accident could certainly add up. If you’re not careful, you could end up spending more than the cost to hire the car! Get RentalCover Protection and avoid fees and other add-ons.

Supplementary products

You can also purchase supplementary products such as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Read on to learn more about these products.

What is CDW and LDW?

CDW and LDW is usually included in the rate that you see on a website. Note that these ‘waivers’ just reduce your excess from a high amount (similar to the full value of the car) to somewhere between €/$/£1500 and €/$/£3000 depending on the car and the rental company.

CDW policies typically exclude windscreen and tire repairs, as well as undercarriage, roof, interior, window and side mirror damage. The renter will be liable for the full cost of those repairs. Many companies also exclude theft as they sell separate theft coverages. As mentioned, it is usually included in the rental price, but where sold separately CDW costs €/$/£10 to €/$/£30 per day. LDW (which is CDW with Theft Protection) is in the same price range.

If it is not already included, we recommend to all customers that they take out a basic CDW (or LDW to include Theft Protection) for European rental vehicles. Our Insurance Policies and warranty protection policies for Rental Cars cover you for all the items these policies don't protect you for.

What is Super CDW or SCDW?

If you take out the basic CDW as advised above your excess is still in the range of €/$/£1500-3000. This can be lowered with Super CDW. It can be confusing because the rental companies might also call this product "CDW" but the main thing to be aware of is that these policies reduce your excess from somewhere between €/$/£1500 and €/$/£3000, towards €/$/£0.

These policies are sold aggressively at the rental company rental desks. The cost is similar to CDW (€/$/£10 to €/$/£30 per day) with similarly hidden exclusions (windscreen and tire repairs/replacements plus undercarriage, roof, interior, window and side mirror damage). Repairs for those types of damage are charged at the full rate but limited to the reduced liability of €/$/£1500-3000.

What is Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI)

Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) insures you for injuries to other drivers and their vehicles. This will be offered generally in states where third party liability is not required to be held by the vehicle owner. The SLI cover is usually between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. However we always recommend that you ask the rental company as there are differences from state to state.

What are the types of rental car protection I can buy?

Excess Cover

Excess Cover or Excess Reduction Insurance is designed to protect you against any excess that you might have on your rental car. Excess is the amount that you are liable to pay should you be in an accident of if your rental car is damaged. Excess is sometimes also referred to as a deductible.

Usually, when you rent a car Excess Cover Protection usually brings your excess down to zero, which means you won’t have to pay anything in case of an accident or damage.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)

CDW is an optional service sold by car rental companies that protects you in case you’re in an accident or any event that causes damage to your car rental. CDW may or may not include a deductible or an excess. Typically, if you rent a car in the United States, your CDW covers you for all the costs related to  damages to your car rental whereas if you’re traveling elsewhere, chances are that your CDW has an excess, which may be up to a few thousand dollars.

LDW on the other hand, is a combination of CDW and Theft Protection, which means that you will be covered for car replacement if your rental car is stolen during the period of your rental.

Please keep in mind that CDW or LDW only covers car rental damage or theft, in the case of LDW. It does not cover you for damage to another vehicle or if the accident results in injuries.

Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) and Super Loss Damage Waiver (SLDW)

Think of SCDW as a premium version of CDW. It covers you for most of the exclusions present in the CDW option offered by the car rental company. It also reduces your excess down, in most cases, down to zero. Please keep in mind that SCDW, or CDW and LDW for that matter, are all optional protection services and it is not mandatory for you to purchase them.

Supplementary liability insurance

Supplementary liability insurance (SLI) is an insurance option that covers you for third party liability. This means that if you happen to be in an accident and cause damage to another vehicle, you will be covered for damages to the third party’s vehicle up to a certain amount.

What is PAE, PAI, PEC or PPP

Commonly referred to as Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), this type of insurance has multiple names: Personal Accident and Effects (PAE) Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) Personal Protection Package (PPP).

PAI protects you against costs related to injuries caused to the driver or the passengers of the rental car in the event of an accident. This can include costs like medical costs, emergency ambulance costs, accidental death cover etc.

More reasons to get a quote from RentalCover

  • Save! We are up to 50% cheaper than what you'll pay at the rental desk.
  • We cover more! No exclusions unlike the waivers offered by rental car companies and where you'd typically pay significantly more to cover things such as windscreen, keys, underbody, tires etc.
  • Zero $0 excess (excess is aka “deductible” in US)
  • We covers administration or “loss of use” and other fees that are charged by rental companies when there’s damage
  • Claims are processed in 1-3 days
  • Cancel up until the time of pickup
  • Our protection is available to purchase online so you can get rental car insurance from us for any country of residence
  • We covers any drivers nominated on the rental agreement
  • Claims can be paid in your preferred currency
  • Use us with any of the popular rental car companies

How does RentalCover work? 


Our most frequently asked questions

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For campervan and motorhome rentals, try our motorhome and campervan excess cover overview or for 4x4s and 4x4 campers, try our 4x4 excess cover page.