How Not to Get Stung with Excess Car Rental Insurance Abroad


A couple of years ago we went on our first holiday as a new family to Malta. It was an exciting time and we have lots of happy memories from the trip. The only thing that really didn’t go to plan was our car rental. We’d opted for what we thought was the ‘full cover’ at the time of booking only to discover upon collection that we weren’t fully comprehensive. We ended up paying an absolute fortune for the excess when we arrived the other end.

Luckily, we’ve since wised up. As many of you may have discovered by now, there are ways to avoid getting completely stung the other end by arranging cover with an independent insurer before your trip. This usually works out so much cheaper than paying for fully comprehensive insurance with your rental provider at the other end.


This autumn we’re off to Italy and we’re doing things a little differently this time. Recently I discovered Zest Car Rental; their offices are based here in Norfolk (you know me, I love to champion a local business!). They’re also winners of the Which? Recommended Provider award in 2018. I don’t know about you but whenever I see the Which? logo, I always feel reassured. Plus, a friend has also used these guys so I was confident with using these guys.

Zest is actually a broker, which means you can not only book your car hire with them but also your insurance through them too. They search for all the best deals online and will provide you with a selection to choose from. I guess what I’m saying is that, booking your car hire and insurance through a company like Zest, this will ensure that one way or another your excess is covered.


If you purchase their Top-Up insurance, which is usually from around £3 a day, you won’t need to pay the fully comprehensive insurance when you collect your car because this covers everything. And they guarantee this! If you’re ever in any doubt about car hire insurance when you collect your car, Zest encourages you to contact them immediately. Whatever you do, do not sign anything unless you understand EXACTLY what you’re agreeing to.

Zest include either a basic excess cover or no excess on all bookings. This is labelled as ‘no excess liability’ or ‘excess protection’. No other broker includes excess cover as standard – you can find out more about it in this article about  insures differences.

There are different levels of cover available but I recommend opting for the aforementioned Top-Up Insurance, which is the ultimate cover available when you book your hire car. It provides reimbursement cover against any loss or damage to your hire car, including the bits not normally covered and there’s no excess costs. It also means there will be no nasty surprises when you collect your car – so if your rental hire company try to charge you for extra insurance, make sure you refuse this and call Zest if you have any queries!

For our forthcoming 10-day holiday to Italy, Top Insurance to cover this period of time costs £40 but if we were to pay the fully comprehensive insurance on the other side, this would cost around £200, if not more!

Zest also have a guide to car hire insurance, which is clear and easy to understand.


When life hands you a lemon…. head to Zest!


(Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Here’s a bit more info about Zest

Family owned and run, Zest Car Rental provide holiday car hire across the globe; from Spain to Australia, USA to Portugal and most locations in between. In 18 years of operation in Dereham, Norfolk, they have grown to become the largest independently-owned car rental broker in the UK. Their focus on clarity and customer service has led them to be the first car rental broker to receive the Which? Recommended Provider award in 2018.

NB: This is a collaboration between Zest and Roots and Toots. Zest provided Roots and Toots with car insurance in exchange for an honest review about its service. For part 2 – check out my post at the beginning of October, after our holiday.







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