Car Hire

With all the bad press flying about at the moment, you might be a bit worried about car hire. We understand that. That's why we are partnered with Zest Car Rental, because they are the best.

Car hire insurance is confusing. Many of us don’t hire cars all that often and suppliers make things more confusing by using different phrases for the same insurance product. So here is our quick guide to make sure that you don't overpay for insurance, but you don't get a nasty surprise either. There are several different elements to car hire insurance so let's go through them one at a time.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

Car accidentWithout CDW you would be liable to the full cost of any damage to the car, whether it is your fault or not. So CDW is pretty essential, but the average policy has some rather big holes in it. It doesn't cover theft, and it doesn't cover things like windscreen, wheels, tyres or underbody damage. Worse, despite it's name, it generally doesn't cover you for the full cost of damage. Typically you are still liable for the first £1000, £1200 or perhaps even £2000 of the repair cost. CDW is always included when booking with Zest Car Rental with either no insurance excess or Excess Reimbursement Insurance (more on this later).

Theft protection/Theft Waiver (TW)

The equivalent of CDW, but protects against theft. It DOES NOT cover theft of items within the vehicle – your holiday/travel insurance should cover this. Theft as a result of negligence, such as leaving the keys in the ignition is NOT covered either. TW is always included when booking with Zest Car Rental with either no insurance excess or Excess Reimbursement.

Third Party and Public Liability

Third party liabilityCovers you for injuring other people or damaging property. Essentially the same as with your standard car insurance. This is always included when booking with Zest Car Rental.

No insurance excess & Excess Reimbursement Insurance (ERI)

As you can see from the above, there are lots of ways that car hire insurance could come back to bite you. This is where Zest Car Rental come into their own, and it's the reason why they are the only company you will find being promoted by us.

When you hire from our car hire page, some deals include Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Waiver with no insurance excess (zero excess liability). Where that cannot be negotiated with the supplier, Zest offer Excess Reimbursement Insurance (ERI) which covers the excess instead. Therefore, there will always be zero excess liability when hiring through Zest.
In the case of ERI provided by Zest, you will still be required to leave a security deposit and you will be initially charged for any damage. However you will be able to claim that back from the ERI.Top-Up Insurance

Tyre damageThere are a few things not covered by the standard Zest insurance; tyres, glass, underbody damage, misfuelling, loss of keys and so on. For just £3 per day even these risks can be covered. This is much cheaper than you would get from other companies who typically charge £20 per day, because it's not having to cover the excess reimbursement which is already covered anyway.

Hard Sell at the Collection Desk

You're tired, you're hot, you're sticky and you just want to get going. Then the agent at the desk says "That insurance isn’t valid” or “You need to take out our insurance”. Let's be kind to the agent and just say that they're not understanding properly. Third party insurance such as Top-up Insurance protects you the customer and not the car rental supplier. Top-up Insurance is ALWAYS valid so if you find yourself in this situation, feel free contact Zest Car Rental immediately. They will sort it out for you. Don't insure twice for the same thing.


A hire car can really add so much to your enjoyment of your holiday. It would be a shame if the publicity surrounding a few dodgy operators were to put people off. With a bit of care and pre-planning you can make a worry-free booking and allow yourself the same flexibility and ease of getting around that you enjoy at home.

Zest Car Rental are the experts on everything to do with car hire, and they have more comprehensive guidance on all things car hire on their website.

14 Aug 2017, 17:34