When going for car hire services, an excess insurance policy is useful to ensure that you do not have to pay for any excess in the car hire insurance. That said, excess insurance comes with what we call a “single incident claim limit.” The insurance company states this limit as the highest amount they will pay for any single incident. For instance, if you are dealing with an excess of £1000 but only have a limit of £800, you will have to cover the remaining £200.

With this in mind, you might be thinking of getting an excess insurance policy with the highest single incident claim limit. But is that a good idea?

Where does excess usually come from?

In most insurance policies, the excess you will receive will come from the CDW (collision damage waiver) of your vehicle. This information will generally be stated in the documents you sign upon paying for a car hire service. Remember to read these documents and clarify any concerns you might have.

What does an excess insurance policy cover?

Many excess insurance policies will cover the CDW aspects of the insurance policy. It will also cover incidents relating to the vehicle’s components, such as the mirrors, wheels, and roof, all of which are generally not included as part of the CDW. 

What are the typical excess levels?

Most European cars are insured with an excess level of no more than £2000. Note that this number may increase with much larger vehicles. 

What is the lowest single claim incident limit?

If you are worried that your single claim incident limit will not cover £2000, do not worry. Even the lowest limit is around double to triple the amount of most common excess levels, meaning you will have no issues having the excess covered.

Why is the single claim incident limit so high?

There is no reason for it being so high other than the fact that people are attracted to large numbers. In other words, those numbers are made to attract the market.

Is opting for a high limit still a good idea?

While most excess will not reach the limits of even the lowest single claim incident limit, there are still a few reasons a higher limit is a good choice.

As we stated earlier, excess insurance policies cover a few extras other than what’s covered by the CDW. This means that if you damage anything outside the scope of the CDW, an extra-large bill will still be easily covered by the policy. In most cases, the limit itself will also act as the total limit of the policy.


While not mandatory, it is still a good idea to opt for high single incident claim limits. Doing so ensures that you will be fully reimbursed if you get into an accident. That said, remember to take the time to look at as many options when picking an excess insurance policy. Not all policies are the same, and some will be more suitable for your needs than others. 

Are you looking for car hire excess insurance? Goodbye Excess can provide you with the exact policy that you need. Check out what policies we have for you.