Tips for when you're at the counter

When you arrive to collect your car, the staff at the car hire desk will often try to sell you additional insurance, add-ons etc. We’ve put together this handy guide to take with you to make sure you know what your rights are, what you’re covered for and what you definitely don’t need.

1. Super Collision Damage Waiver (Super CDW)

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) is normally included in the cost of the rental. This can sometimes come with high excess charges in the event of damage or an accident. However, some car hire firms will offer you Super CDW at a daily cost (sometimes as much as £20 per day) which will reduce your liable excess to zero. This will, however, add significant cost to your rental and you may not have anticipated this expense. Often, these top-up policies don’t cover damage to the windows, tyres, roof and undercarriage.

2. Windows, tyres, roof and undercarriage cover

If you are offered cover for the car’s windows, tyres, roof and undercarriage, decline it. Your policy covers you for these and will reimburse your excess if you get charged. Car hire staff may try and push you into purchasing the add- on by citing the excess that you would be liable for. But remember, your policy will cover you for up to £4,000 in a single claim.

If you have purchased an excess reimbursement policy from you DO NOT have to purchase the excess waiver cover from the rental company at the desk (be aware that their cover still excludes damage to the undercarriage, tyres windows and roof). Your policy works by reimbursing you the excess, including any administration fee charged by the rental company for processing the excess. Always make sure the credit limit on your card is sufficient, as they will often put a charge on your card for the excess amount before you take the car. An administration fee may be charged if you take the car back damaged.

3. Always check the small print

Car hire firms sometimes hide additional costs within the small print and then give you an unexpected bill on your return. Make sure that you read everything before you sign the agreement, and don’t sign if there’s anything you’re unclear about. If you’re not sure, just ask.

4. Decline Upgrades

Special discounts might be offered to upgrade to a larger or ‘better’ car, especially in the United States. While you think you might be getting a great deal, it may be because the rental company don’t have your original car in stock. Politely decline the paid upgrade and you may well get a better car free of charge. After all, you chose a suitable car for your trip anyway, so you’re not losing out by declining.


Always take your time. Take time reading the small print. Take time checking the details of your rental. Always take time when you’re checking over the car for scratches and damage. When checking for damage, always make sure the agent makes a note of all scratches and dents, however minor they might seem, on their forms and make sure they sign it before you leave. It’s understandable that you might be feeling exhausted if you’ve just arrived after a long flight, but if you take your time, you’re less likely to miss a detail or sign something you don’t want to.

Customer Testimonials

"Excellent insurance cover and you are a very efficient organisation"

M Turner

"I am a happy customer and recommend you to all my friends and colleagues"

B Dunphy

"My claim was settled super efficiently with the minimal effort"

I Porter

"We’ve had a policy for 2 or 3 years now and it’s brilliant.  You dealt with our claim quickly and efficiently"

T Cochrane

"Great service. I shall have no hesitation in using your services and products on future trips"

P Impey