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Refundable Excess

Refundable Excess – Frequently Asked Questions

Recently we’ve been receiving a lot of questions and feedback regarding our Excess Refund product. In order to help clients understand what it is and what it does, we’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. What does excess mean?
The vehicle’s basic insurance limits the driver’s responsibility to a certain amount, which is called an excess. For instance, say a car has an excess of £300 and there’s accidental damage amounting to £500. In that situation, the driver is responsible for paying the £300 of the excess and the car’s insurance covers the rest. The value of the excess varies depending on the supplier and the car category, and you can normally find that information in our booking engine, under “Product Information”.

2. What is Excess Refund?
Refundable ExcessThe Excess Refund option (also known as Refundable Excess) is a service provided by Auto Europe that allows clients to claim a reimbursement of the excess amount in case of accidental damage.

3. Does that mean I still need to pay for it to the supplier?
Yes, in case of accidental damage to the vehicle for which you need to pay the excess amount, you will pay for it to the supplier and you can then claim a refund from Auto Europe.

4. What is the advantage of getting Excess Refund from Auto Europe rather than getting extra insurance to reduce the excess from the supplier.
Two main reasons. First, you can book and pay for it online in advance and not have to worry about whether or not the supplier provides the option and about having to pay for it locally. Secondly, even if the supplier does provide such an insurance, Auto Europe’s Excess Refund program tends to be significantly cheaper than options provided locally.

5. If I have Excess Refund from Auto Europe, do I still need to leave a deposit?
Yes. The Excess Refund service from Auto Europe does not eliminate the supplier’s excess and you will still need to leave a security deposit.

6. The local staff says I really should take on additional insurance with them even if I have Auto Europe’s Excess Refund. Should I?
It’s important to understand that local staff are salespeople and, as such, they quite naturally try to sell their own products. Whether or not you acquire further insurance is entirely a matter of personal preference, and except for very specific situations, all the insurance offered locally is optional. If you are offered additional insurance to reduce the excess, then it is probably redundant to take it on top of the Excess Refund. They may also offer insurance to cover elements not covered by the basic insurance, such as tyres, glass, etc., in which case it’s up to the client to determine whether or not they find that necessary for their own peace of mind.

7. So the Excess Refund does not cover the entire car?
The Excess Refund covers the excess left by the basic insurance and, as such, the same exclusions apply. While the exact exclusions may vary depending on the category and supplier, they usually are as follows: interior, underside, wheels, tyres, glass and roof of vehicle. You can find a complete list of exclusions in the description of the product on our booking engine and on the Terms and Conditions of your voucher.

8. What do I need to do to claim a refund from Auto Europe.
You can find a detailed description of the procedures by clicking here. Please note that it is extremely important to contact the police and obtain an incident report, even if no other vehicles were involved.

9. I want to add Excess Refund cover to my booking but I don’t see an option online. What do I do?
Excess Refund cover is not available for all cars and locations. When available, you are given the option to add it to your booking before proceeding to payment.

ZD10. Do I always have to pay for the Excess Refund option if I want to add it to my booking?
No. Sometimes Auto Europe includes Excess Refund as part of the basic package and you don’t need to pay anything extra for it. When that is the case, we display that information in the search results in our booking engine. If you like, you can even filter the results to display only those that already include Excess Refund/Zero Excess in the price.

11. Are Excess Refund and Zero Excess the same thing?
No. Zero Excess, where available, eliminates the excess entirely. To learn more about Zero Excess and Excess Refund, click here.

We hope you found this article informative! As always, you are welcome to leave your comments or questions in the comments section below, or come pay us a visit on Facebook or Twitter 😉

This entry was posted in Car Hire Tips, Products and Services. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Refundable Excess – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. car insurance database mid says:

    Excellent article. I am going through a few of these
    issues as well..

  2. David says:

    So I went for a car with Zero, collision damage and theft, to be told by Auto Europe that some damage and negligence is not covered and I had to pay a deposit of Euro 400 to Euro 600.
    So would I be better with a refundable excess or would I still have the same issue that Auto Europe would still say some items were excluded.
    When I asked the staff they said I could buy local damage protection insurance. However your article makes out that this is not necessary.
    I have asked for details of what damage and negligence is excluded, but not sure. I was told if the car was damaged whilst parked it would be negligent. Then not if in a garage and then they checked and changed their mind so damage in a garage would be negligent.
    Zero Excess and or a Refundable Excess was why I choose Auto Europe, but I am at a loss know to understand what it means. Should I cancel the zero excess and look for refundable excess or would it just get me to the same point.

  3. Ines says:

    Hi David,

    Yes, you are correct, with Zero Excess there is still the need for a deposit, to cover the insurance exclusions (you can find that info on the last paragraph of this post: This deposit is smaller than the deposit on a car with no Zero Excess would be, since it only accounts for the exclusions (you can find the exclusions on the Terms and Conditions of your voucher).

    It would not be advantageous for you to cancel the zero excess in favour of refundable excess, since with a refundable excess product you would have to leave the full deposit to the supplier.

    Locally, suppliers do offer additional insurance to cover the exclusions, but these are optional and you may choose not to take it should you wish not to.

    I hope you have found this explanation helpful! If you have any further questions, we’re here to help! You can also give our toll free number a call: 0800 358 1229.

    Auto Europe

  4. Catalin says:

    Since this is my third time when I intend to rent a car and both of my previous experiences are completely different, I need a little help in order to clarify these terms:

    1. Fully Refundable Excess
    2. Zero Excess Package
    3. Inclusive Package (with an amount for CDW and TI, specified)

    Can you explain me what I need to pay when I pick-up the car, each case in part?
    Because in my first experience, the supplier blocked aprox. 500 euros on my credit card and the unblock was very difficult after more than 30 days, with many calls, emails, etc. Very unpleasant, I don’t want this again! 🙁
    In my second experience, the supplier told me that I have 2 options: first one is to block aprox. 1500 euro on my credit card, or secoond to pay a single time fee of 107 euro and I’ll get full coverage for damage and theft. I choose second one, but I was not very happy! 😉
    There is a possibility to not pay any amount, but to be covered for damage and theft?

    Thank you very much!


  5. Ines says:

    Dear Caitlin,

    Thank you for your query. I will try to explain what all of these mean 🙂

    Inclusive Package means that the basic rate includes all the mandatory insurance needed for you to legally drive the car in a given country. It normally includes Collision Damage Waiver, Theft Insurance, Liability Insurance and Fire Insurance. Both CDW and TI have an excess for which the client is liable in case of accidental damage to the vehicle. The value of the excess is indicated on our booking engine under Product Information and again on the Terms & Conditions, and is usually a good indication of the amount you can expect to leave as a security deposit.

    Some of our vehicles have, on top of the basic insurance package, the Zero Excess Package. The client doesn’t pay anything extra for Zero Excess; when available, it is already included in the basic price paid for the vehicle. The Zero Excess package eliminates, for the most part, the excess for which the client is liable. I say for the most part, because there are some elements of the vehicle not covered by ZE, normally elements such as tyres, glass, etc. You can find a list of the exclusions on the Terms, Conditions and Local Fees of each of the cars in our booking engine before you finalize your booking. Because of the exclusions, it is still necessary for the client to leave a security deposit locally; however, with the Zero Excess package, the amount of the security deposit is normally much lower than it would be otherwise. Locally, you can purchase extra insurance to cover the exclusions and do away with the deposit entirely.

    Fully Refundable Excess is sometimes already included in the rates, but more often it needs to be added to the booking for an extra fee. This package covers the excess left by the car’s basic insurance, but it does not eliminate it. This means that in case of accidental damage for which the client has to pay to the hire company, Auto Europe will refund that amount to the client. Because the excess is not eliminated, as far as the supplier is concerned, the client will need to have the full security deposit blocked on their credit card (which, as mentioned above, is normally the same amount as the excess). It’s also worth noting that, much like Zero Excess, the Fully Refundable Excess also has a list of exclusions, detailed on the product information (which you can check before you commit to booking).

    In short, a security deposit is always necessary and, unfortunately, the only way to do without it entirely is to purchase additional insurance locally. In most situation, the block on the card is not problematic, as it automatically reverts back to the card at the end of the hire period (though this may take up to a billing period to be reflected on the client’s card statement). It is unusual for people to have to chase after the supplier to have it resolved.

    I hope this helped with the questions you had, but if anything was not clear or if you still have any doubts, we’re here to help 🙂

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  6. Eva says:

    after i’ve read everything above, i am still not sure about one thing – when booking a car with fully refundable excess, it says under Additional information:
    C.D.W. Deductible: Approx. EUR 650.00, VAT included, and
    Theft Insurance Deductible: Approx. EUR 650.00, VAT included
    Does that mean i will have to leave 1300€ as a security deposit? (which i will get back at the end of the hire period)

  7. Ines says:

    Hi Eva,

    Thank you for your question. Yes, with Refundable Excess you would still need to leave a security deposit which normally amounts to the value of the excess.

    In the scenario you described, some suppliers would only block €650, while others would block the full €1300 (which would then be released at the end of the hire period). If you give our toll-free number a call (0800 358 1229), our reservation agents will be able to better advise you as to which would be the case with a specific supplier.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  8. Yair says:


    I’m looking at things that are not covered – and it’s very scary. The roof for example – why? If the accident was bad enough, the roof will also be damaged, and that may be very high. If something falls on the car, a tree, something off a truck etc – Am I responsible?
    Wheels & tires – if they are stollen as well? If there is a pot hole in the road that breaks my wheel – am I supposed to pay for it?
    “not covered…driver not taking due care..not following the rules of the road” – that’s almost enough to cover all mistakes done durig driving – are they not covered?

    Am I mistaken in my understanding?

  9. Ines says:

    Dear Yair,

    Thank you for your query. Yes, you are correct in assuming that for items not covered, the client is liable for the damage up to the limit set by the excess amount. Likewise, damage that results from negligence or reckless driving is normally excluded from the insurance cover. Please note that suppliers often offer additional insurance locally to cover the excluded items.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  10. Andis says:

    Dear Ines,
    Please explain what then is covered by refund product if damages to roof, tyres, winshield is not covered. For example in case of heavy hail all these parts will be damged. Where is reason to pay for refund?

  11. Ines says:

    Dear Andis,

    Thank you for your query. The Excess Refund product covers the excess of the basic insurance offered by the supplier, which is why the same exclusions apply. In such a situation as you described, any damage to the excluded items would not be refundable. Any damage to the rest of the car (for which the client would be fully liable up to the maximum excess amount with only the basic insurance), would be refunded.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  12. chris says:


    I work for one of the largest rental car companies in the world.

    we have done training on this matter.

    the security deposit which is held is not always for damage done to the car for eg;
    our security deposit covers fuel, returning the car late or to the wrong destination, speedin and parking fines etc.

    there are some issues we have constantly raised to us by our customers and if you could clarrify that would be great,

    with most of these policies you need a written police report at the time of any accident? however where i work in Northern Ireland the police will not attend a road traffic collision which does not involve personal injury?

    some of our american and canadien customers are what is called stan lieable which means they are liable for the full value of the vehicle so this generally means an excess of £18000 would that be covered or should customers take the basic cdw which has a excess of £1000 with our company?

    and what is the general refund time scale?


  13. Ines says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am not sure what the situation would be for American or Canadian customers. We provide services for UK clients, so it’s not something I have experience with. It would be a question for our US branch.

    Regarding the police report issue, each claim is reviewed on a case by case basis. Rarely, but, sometimes, the police will not come to the scene, and this is taken into consideration when reviewing the claim as a whole as long as an earnest attempt has been made to get them to come.

    Regarding the time frame for a refund, general turn around time is 4-6 weeks, depending on how much info we start with and how long it takes to get things like the repair bill from the supplier, etc… It can be quicker, it can take longer.

    Hope that helps!
    Auto Europe

  14. Paul Billings says:

    We had a really dreadful experience with Advantage Car Hire, renting with Auto-Europe 2 years ago. We were given a car that basically had no brakes! Are Advantage still used by Auto Europe?

  15. Tyyne says:

    Dear Mr. Billings,

    I am sorry to hear that you were not satisfied with the car you received with Advantage. However, I am pleased to tell you that with our online booking engine you can now see the supplier of each car rental as you make your search, and thus choose which supplier you would like to have. The logo of the supplier is shown below the price of each rental in your list of search results.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  16. Kathryn says:


    I am confused by the term ‘with excess’ in relation to what is included in the price to hire a car through the Inclusive Package:

    Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) – with excess
    Theft Protection (TP) – with excess

    Does this mean that you have to pay for the additional excess cover in order to be protected in case of collision or theft? Or does it mean that if the car is stolen or damaged you will have to pay the initial £300 but won’t be charged for the additional cost of damage or theft incurred?

    Many thanks

  17. Tyyne says:

    Dear Kathryn,

    “With excess” in this case refers to the fact that the insurance covering the car includes an excess, meaning an amount that is payable in case of damage to or theft of the car. This excess, however, is the maximum amount payable in case of damage that is covered by insurance. Therefore, for example, if the car is damaged and this damage is covered by insurance, you will only pay up to the amount of the excess, even if repairing the damage will actually cost more.

    You can find more information in this blog post: Zero Excess and Excess Refund Explained

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  18. David McLean says:

    I have just booked a car from Auto Europe for one month in Fuerteventura.
    Since booking i have received an e-mail stating ” we have noticed that your booking includes a non refundable excess of 808 euros in case of damages to or theft of the rental car”
    Does this mean that you will charge my credit card with this amount even if i dont have any damages etc.?

  19. Kate says:

    Dear Mr McLean,

    your excess amount will be blocked on your credit card as a security deposit at the pick-up time. The excess is the total amount you have to pay to the supplier if there are any new damages to the rental car or when the vehicle is stolen. If you return the car with no new damages, the deposit amount will be released from your credit card.

    Kind regards
    Auto Europe

  20. Steve says:


    It says it’s important to get a police report on any damage, even if no other vehicles are involved.

    If I damage the vehicle while parking at the airport – I need to get the police to come and inspect the damage and give me a police report? I will surely miss my flight if I have to wait for the police. I can’t imagine the police have accidental rental car damage reports high on their priority list. It’s not a criminal offence, I can’t see why the police would be in the slightest bit interested.

    Can you confirm that the police in Fuerteventura are compelled by law to give me a police report if I damage the car while parking?

    Can you state what Auto Europe’s response to accidental damage caused when there is insufficient time to report to the police before a departing flight?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  21. Tyyne says:

    Dear Steve,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I have forwarded your questions to our customer service department, who are better equipped to answer them. A reply will be sent directly to the email address you have provided.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  22. Catherine says:

    I would also like to know the response to Steve’s comments of 28 March as I am considering buying this insurance but fail to see how you can always get a police report especially if there are no injured persons and/or you are returning the car to catch a flight when the damage is done? Thanking you in anticipation.

  23. Tyyne says:

    Dear Catherine,

    Thank you for your comment, and my apologies for the delay in replying to you.

    As a general guideline, if you are involved in an accident of any kind, this must be reported to both the rental supplier and the police. There may be cases where the police will not provide an official report after assessing the accident and the circumstances surrounding it, but the incident should still be reported. If the police do not provide a report, you should provide us with as much evidence as possible of the fact that you took the required steps of reporting the accident, as it is important that we see that you have gone through the required procedure, even if you were turned down by the police.

    If the car is damaged while you are returning it and need to catch your flight, again we would expect that you do as much as you can with the time that you have. This would mean in particular informing the rental supplier and the police of the accident, to the extent that it is possible for you to do so with the time you have, and provide us with evidence of the steps you have taken.

    I hope that these general guidelines have helped answer your question. However, each case is reviewed by our customer service team on its own merits, and therefore outcomes vary on a case by case basis.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to call our toll-free number 0800 358 1229 to speak to a reservations agent.

    Kind regards,

    Auto Europe

  24. Gail Hale says:

    Thanks for useful information. I decided to spend this winter in Europe and I long looked for the good and inexpensive car rental company. I will follow likely your advice and will rent a car in the autoeurope company.

  25. Karim says:

    I hired a car through you for a trip to Europe. I picked up the car in France. Another car drove into the back of me in Switzerland and the driver was very apologetic and wrote clearly on the accident report form that it was entirely his fault and he accepted full responsibility. The claim took 14 months to go through! In that time I have changed banks and now Auto europe is saying that they can only refund the original credit card. Despite being very flexible as I have a French euro account, a UK stirling account, a UK address and a French address I am getting nowhere. Am I going to lose my 850 euros?

    This will be very useful for potential renters to know the outcome of.


  26. Tyyne says:

    Dear Karim,

    I am sorry to hear that you have experienced difficulties when dealing with this issue. Unfortunately, as this is a matter for our customer service department, I cannot give any further assistance on my part. I hope that the matter will be resolved quickly!

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  27. Niall Cook says:

    Your so-called “Refundable Excess” is a joke. In the event of a claim, you list amongst the information you require a “police report” (if the damage amounts to more than €300). Despite providing you with all the information you request, as well as a UK Crime Reference Number and copies of all email correspondence with the local police, you are refusing to even open a case for my claim because I haven’t provided a “police report” (despite the incident happening in a private car park with no witnesses and the damage not being noticed until the following day).

  28. Kate says:

    Dear Mr Cook,

    Please accept our apologies for the misunderstanding and delay in handling your claim. Our customer service team has approved a refund to your credit card account.

    Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  29. Manny says:

    Thank you for this article. It is really detailed and helped me understand refundable excess better. I will keep this in mind when renting cars in Europe.

  30. SC says:

    Awesome explanation!

  31. Roy Hughes says:


    I was just about to book a car through your service. Ive dialled your number but have been directed to the details here. I read this explanation. Its very well written. I am in the UK.

    In the event of damage to the car your terms suggest I get a police report. But surely thats not really possible under all circumstances? Not in the UK. So as real example with my own car, I left it in a car park and someone had scuffed rear wing when I returned. I presume it was when they parked next to it. The bay next to mine was empty when I returned. It isn’t possible to get any response to this incident. So what happens when its unrealistic to expect a police report say to scuffed paint or broken lights?

    What happens in this circumstance? Is there a different insurance? Can you give me some guidelines please.

  32. Kate says:

    Hi Roy,

    thanks for your comment. In this case we would not require a police report. If it is a scratch, a dent or broken lights caused by the client, with no 3rd party involved, we do not need the police report. Of course, our customer service has to see case by case but on this one we would not require the police report.

    Auto Europe Team

  33. Gracelynne Borg says:

    I am hiring a car in Italy and I have a problem with the excess one is 1220euro for damage and the other is for theft of 2318 euro do they block the card for 3538 euro pls

  34. Kate says:


    thank you for contacting us! As different T&C apply for individual local car rental companies, please contact our reservations specialists under the toll-free number 0800 358 1229 for assistance. Our agents will be able to check conditions for the chosen deal and help with your deposit query.

    Auto Europe Team

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