Brits running the risk of massive Euro car rental bills

Car accident damage
19 Jul, 2014 7:00am Joe Finnerty

British motorists abroad are snubbing insurance excess waivers on their rental cars, leaving themselves open to big bills.

More than half of Brits hiring cars in Europe this summer could face a huge hidden rental bill at the end of their holidays, according to research by the Post Office. 

Figures reveal 56 per cent of UK holidaymakers aren’t protecting themselves from accidents or theft with excess waiver insurance (EWI), while three-quarters refuse to take out cover for glass, tyre or undercarriage damage.

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On average the extra insurance – payable on arrival – is just 12 per cent of the accidental damage excess, but drivers are still running the risk of having to shell out hundreds of pounds if there’s a problem.

In Turkey, EWI costs £22.99 compared to an excess payment of £418. Brits renting in Switzerland have to pay £105.83 for the cover, but that protects them from a potential bill of £1,129.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “It’s a false economy to cut costs by sticking to the basic cost when booking car rental online. What’s more, don’t leave it until you get to your holiday destination to find out how much the hire car is really going to cost. 

Calculate all the costs by doing your homework in advance to find out the realistic price of car rental and holiday motoring.” 

The Post Office’s Car Rental Report, which averages prices from Avis, Budget and Europcar, found Cyprus (£294.78) to be the cheapest destination for a week’s car hire, including an additional driver, sat-nav and 40 litres of petrol. Norway’s average price of £613.85 was the most expensive.

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Holiday horrors: the big hire car bills you could face abroad 

  Destination One week rental payable 7 day cost of EWI and tyre/ glass insurance Accidental damage excess
1. Switzerland (Geneva) £432.64 £105.83 £1,129
2. Ireland (Dublin) £481.70 £97.51 £1,069
3. Portugal (Faro) £503.18 £87.55 £903
4. Malta (Luqa) £316.68 £46.05 £866
5. Spain (Costa Blanca) £363.69 £99.10 £839
6. Spain (Costa del Sol) £384.29 £99.10 £839
7. Spain (Majorca) £513.96 £96.71 £839
8. Norway (Oslo) £613.85 £44.88 £822
9. Italy (Pisa) £388.23 £138.57 £812
10. France (Nice) £461.84 £91.22 £670
11. Austria (Salzburg) £362.41 £106.56 £660
12. Cyprus (Larnaca) £294.78 £48.49 £593
13. Denmark (Copenhagen) £407.88 £46.68 £525
14. Greece (Corfu) £407.88 £56.60 £518
15. Croatia (Split) £508.97 £111.15 £453
16. Turkey (Marmaris) £324.87 £22.99 £418

Have you been on the recieving end of a big bill after a hire car accident abroad? Tell us about it in the comments section below...