In the United Kingdom, unlimited Third Party Liability Insurance is a legal requirement and is included in the pre-paid price of all car rentals with Auto Europe. Third Party Liability Insurance protects you from any and all liability resulting from property damage, injury, or death caused to anyone or anything outside of your British rental car. In addition to Third Party Liability Insurance, all rental car rates with Auto Europe include Fire Insurance, which covers any damage caused to your rental vehicle as a result of fire-related damage.
A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is insurance coverage that reduces the amount of the deductible (the amount the driver would have to pay if there was an accident) to a manageable amount, typically in-between €250 and €1500, compared to the full value of the vehicle you may be held liable for otherwise in the case of damage to the vehicle. Theft protection is typically included with a CDW, which protects you in the case that your rental car is stolen by reducing your deductible to a similar amount as your CDW might require.
To supplement your CDW, drivers can opt to purchase additional insurance, either a zero deductible rate, or a refundable deductible. With a zero deductible rate, you won't be held liable for any damages to the vehicle (although you will have to pay a damage administrative fee, typically around £50), and with a refundable deductible you will be held liable when you return the vehicle, but Auto Europe will reimburse you after processing all necessary paperwork you provide, including a filed police report, if applicable.
Most major US credit cards (Visa, American Express, MasterCard) offer collision and theft insurance for your rental car in the United Kingdom as a perk of being a card holder. In order to take advantage of your credit card rental car insurance, you have to pay for the rental with the card you plan on accepting coverage from. If you decline coverage through your rental company or Auto Europe and opt to rent with only credit card coverage, it's imperative you provide written proof from your credit card company outlining your coverage, as the rental company may refuse to rent you the vehicle without proof of coverage (which if you've failed to acquire written evidence of, means purchasing insurance locally or having your credit card blocked for the full value of the vehicle.) Review the charts below outlining coverage major US credit card companies typically offer, but be sure to clarify any and all of these coverage's with your credit card company personally.
A credit card is your greatest asset when renting a car
|Benefit ||Visa ||MasterCard |
| Offered On|| All Cards||Gold, Platinum, World, World Elite |
| Rental Period|| 15 consecutive days|
domestically, 31 abroad
|31 consecutive days |
|Max Vehicle Value||Unspecified||$50,000 |
|Includes||Theft/Collision damage, loss|
|<-- Same |
|Excludes||Injury, property damage,|
taxes, damage to other
vehicles, damage to tires
|<-- Same |
| Drivers Covered||All authorized drivers ||<-- Same |
| Excluded Vehicles|| Exotic or antique cars, trucks,|
RV's, ATV's, motorcycles,
|<-- Same |
| Excluded Countries||Ireland, Northern Ireland,|
|New Zealand, Australia, Costa|
Rica, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico,
sometimes Italy and Germany
| Excluded vans/SUVs|
with more than...
| 8 seats||10 seats |
|Max Coverage||Unspecified||$50,000 |
|Max Loss of Use||Unspecified||$500 |
| File Claim Within...|| 45 days||30 days |
|Benefit||AmEx Basic ||AmEx Platinum ||AmEx Premium |
| Offered on||All Cards ||Platinum ||Any cardholder|
| Rental Period||30 days ||<-- Same ||42 days (30 in|
| Max Vehicle Value||$50,000 ||Under $75,000 ||Unspecified|
|Includes||Theft, collision damage ||Theft, collision|
damage, property damage and injury
| <-- Same|
|Excludes|| Diminished value, taxes, wear and tear||<-- Same ||<-- Same |
|Drivers Covered ||All authorized drivers ||<-- Same ||<-- Same |
| Excluded Vehicles||Exotic or antique cars, trucks, RV's, motorycles, luxury vehicles valued at over $50,000 ||<-- Same + luxury vehicles valued at over $75,000||<-- Same|
| Excluded Countries||Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, New Zealand ||<-- Same ||<-- Same |
|7 seats ||<-- Same ||Unspecified |
|Max Car Coverage ||$50,000 ||$75,000 || $19.99 plan: $75,000|
|Max Loss of Use ||Proprietary Info ||<-- Same ||<-- Same |
|File Claim within...||60 days||<-- Same ||<-- Same |
|Source||American Express ||American Express ||American Express |
|Benefit||Discover ||Discover Escape |
| Offered on|| Motiva, Miles, Open Roads, others||Escape |
| Rental Period||31 days ||<-- Same |
| Max Vehicle Value||$50,000 ||<-- Same |
|Includes|| Collision only|| Collision, theft, and towing|
|Excludes|| Theft, any damage not due to collision, loss of use||Diminished value, taxes, wear and tear |
| Drivers Covered|| All authorized drivers||<-- Same |
|Excluded Vehicles|| Exotic or antique cars, trucks, RV's, motorcycles, luxury vehicles valued at more than $50,000||<-- Same |
|Excluded Countries||Valid in any country that accepts Discover||Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, New Zealand |
| Exclusive vans/SUV's with more than...||7 seats ||<-- Same |
| Max Coverage||$25,000||$50,000 |
|Max Loss of Use||N/A||<-- Same |
| File Claim Within...|| 90 days||30 days |
|Source||Discover ||Discover |
Note that while most major credit card companies do offer coverage in the United Kingdom, rentals in Northern Ireland may not be included and limitations may apply; such as the total length of the rental, the value of the rental, and the total amount of coverage you can receive.
You may be wondering why a credit card is an asset when it comes to renting a vehicle, and whether or not it is a requirement to rent a vehicle in the United Kingdom. Although technically no, you might be allowed to rent a vehicle with cash or a debit card, a credit card is a valuable tool that not only offers insurance coverage in some situations, but also allows you to rent a vehicle without leaving a sizeable cash deposit as collateral or paying premium for complete coverage with the rental agency locally. If you are renting with a credit card, the rental supplier will typically place an authorization on your card (typically the amount of your deductible) ensuring that in the case of damage or theft, you'll be able to pay for the damages. With a cash or debit card rental, the rental company's only recourse is to receive compensation from you in cash, which is why you are required to leave a large deposit, sometimes covering the full value of the vehicle.
In short, renting with a credit card, whether you're taking coverage through your credit card company or not, allows the rental company to be satisfactorily assured should any damage occur during your rental without requiring you to leave a large cash deposit or purchase insurance locally at a premium.
In addition to the zero deductible and refundable deductible rates mentioned above, renters can also opt for additional insurance for complete peace of mind while driving in the United Kingdom. Most suppliers offer a Super CDW policy, which reduces your deductible to 0 and can be purchased for a daily fee (typically between £10 and £30, depending on the vehicle). All suppliers also offer Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which provides medical coverage for you and other passengers in the vehicle in case of injury. Typically PAI is redundant if you're covered by either your normal health insurance while traveling abroad, or if you've purchased travel insurance to cover your trip. While you're certainly not required to purchase any additional insurances while renting in the UK, it?s definitely worth consideration as it can save time and money down the road should an accident or collision occur.
Clarifying the coverage you'll receive from your credit card is an absolute must before picking up your rental car. Should you misunderstand the coverage offered to you, you may not be covered as much as you might like should an incident occur, and even worse, the rental supplier may refuse to rent you a vehicle unless you do purchase additional insurance to cover any gaps or leave a large deposit. Additionally, credit card companies may exclusive certain types of vehicles for car rental coverage, such as exotic or luxury cars, off-road vehicles, RV camper vans, and large vans. They also may have a limit on the amount of time you may be covered (typically between 30-45 days), so for longer term rentals it's very important to purchase the appropriate insurance before heading out on the road, you may find due to the lack of coverage offered to you, a short-term lease may be the most economically feasible option.
Don't be like the gentleman above; take some time to understand what you're financially responsible for and not responsible for in the case of a collision or accident. Whether you're renting with a credit card or purchasing insurance through Auto Europe or the rental car company, you surely don't want to be surprised by unexpected charges for damages should the unthinkable occur.
If you have any further questions about insurance, see our generic car insurance page or consult with our frequently asked questions for the UK section of this travel guide.