If your rental van is stolen, you might assume that as long as it was locked and secured correctly, the hire company’s insurance would cover the loss. Unfortunately you’d be wrong.
Theft protection is included in most rental insurance in the UK. But unless you’ve purchased additional protection, you will normally be liable for the maximum excess payment on your rental policy. This is typically £1,000 – £2,000.
This very sad recent news story highlights how distressing this situation can be. 84-year old widower Johnny Feaver hired a van to move from West London to Preston, Lancashire. After loading the van it was left parked overnight outside his home, from where it was stolen.
Leaving aside the devastating loss of all his possessions, Mr Feaver has also reportedly been told that he’s liable for a £2,000 excess payment to the rental company for the theft of the van.
How theft protection works
Most rental insurance in the UK does include theft protection. But even if the van is properly secured, you’ll still be liable for an excess payment if the van is stolen.
For rental vans, the standard excess is usually pretty high. The £2,000 figure quoted in the article I’ve linked to above isn’t unusual, as these examples show:
- Europcar: Standard excess for loss or damage is £1,500. Renters can buy extra cover to reduce this figure to £250.
- Hertz: Standard excess on most vans is £1,000 (some models have a higher excess). Excess protection is available to reduce this figure.
- Enterprise: Standard excess on vans is £1,150 (£1,400 in Northern Ireland)
- Easirent: Standard excess is £1,250. Renters can buy extra cover to reduce this amount.
All figures believed to be correct as of 25 July 2018. vanrental.co.uk accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions. Please check before you buy.
This isn’t an exhaustive guide, but I hope it’s clear that if you don’t have excess protection, you can face a hefty bill if your rented van is stolen, even if it isn’t your fault. Note that if you are found to have contributed to the theft, for example by leaving the van unlocked with the keys in, you may be liable for a higher amount.
How to reduce your excess
Almost all van hire companies will sell additional insurance cover that reduces your excess, in some cases down to £100 or even zero. These aren’t bad products, but they’re often charged by the day and can work out quite expensive for longer hires.
One alternative that I’ve used is to buy excess protection insurance from specialists offering this service. This insurance will refund any excess payment you make to your hire company, subject to certain terms and conditions.
These products generally have a good reputation, from what I’ve heard. If you hire a vehicle regularly you can buy annual policies at quite reasonable prices. And cover is also available for overseas use.
To find out more (and collect the latest discount code) check out our Van Hire Excess Insurance page.