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Zero Excess and Excess Refund Explained

Welcome to the wonderful world of car hire insurance. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and enjoy this informative and exciting ride through a land of excess, deposit amounts and insurance-like packages that help you save a little bit extra.

First things first. Auto Europe does not provide insurance, the supplier does. The basic insurance provided by suppliers has an excess amount, which is the amount for which clients are liable in case of an accident. For instance, if there’s an accident with damages amounting to £500 and the excess is £300, the client would be responsible for those £300 pounds and the insurance would cover the rest.

While Auto Europe does not provide insurance cover, we do provide some services to help you deal with the excess. These are our Zero Excess and Excess Refund packages. The Excess Refund package is available for many – though not all – of the cars we have on offer. Sometimes the Excess Refund is already included in the basic rate for the vehicle, but often it is considered an extra, for which the client pays an additional fee. Local suppliers also offer additional insurance to reduce the excess locally, but this is normally more expensive than booking the Excess Refund package through Auto Europe.


In this case Excess Refund is already included in the hire and you don’t have to pay anything extra for this service

Excess Program

In this situation you are given the choice to either add Refundable Excess to your rental or to skip this step

It is important to realise that even if you have the Excess Refund package, you still have an excess and you still have to leave a deposit that is often equal to that excess (returned after the vehicle is dropped off, provided it is dropped off in the same condition). The Excess Refund package doesn’t eliminate the excess. Rather, in the unfortunate event of an accident or theft of your hired vehicle for which you have to pay excess to the supplier, Auto Europe will REFUND you that amount. Please note that in order to make a claim, you need the necessary documentation, a list of which can be found at the bottom of your voucher, together with a general overview of the claim procedure.

The Zero Excess option, on the other hand, eliminates the excess amount. Often the Zero Excess option, when available, is already included in the basic rate you pay for the vehicle. Sometimes, however, it is considered an extra.


Please note that even if you have Zero Excess cover, you will still need to leave a deposit blocked on an international Credit Card when picking up your vehicle at the desk, though that deposit will be smaller than if you had no ZE cover. The reason why a deposit is still necessary is because some elements of the car are excluded from the insurance coverage. You can find a list of those elements in the Terms, Conditions and Local Fees of our booking mask, on the voucher, and on the supplier’s rental agreement. You may be offered additional insurance locally to cover those items not included in the basic insurance, but please note that any additional insurance offered locally is OPTIONAL.

I 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 😉

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42 Responses to Zero Excess and Excess Refund Explained

  1. Anthony Hill says:

    Hello, still confused about Zero Excess, will I still have to pay for Tyres and Glass etc per day?
    all the best
    Tony Hill

  2. Ines says:

    Hi Anthony,

    Even with Zero Excess, tyres and glass are usually part of the exclusions. Should you wish them to be covered, you can acquire extra insurance locally when you pick up the car. This is normally not mandatory, so you can also refuse to accept it if offered.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  3. nigel wilson says:

    I rented a car while in Spain, and after a day at the beach caught someone trying to break in to the car, as a result the car could no longer be locked. So i took the car back to the car hire company as it was not safe to leave anywhere unlocked yet I was charged 206 euros for this yet on my policy document from yourselves it clearly states i have collision damage waiver and theft protection for the vehicle. Rental limits potential vehicle damage or loss liability to an excess of approx EUR 0.00.
    I also had additional cover from Niza to cover the things you dont such as windscreen and tyres.

    So why am I now 206 euros out of pocket and feeling like i should have just let the car get stolen.

  4. Ines says:

    Dear Mr Wilson,

    Thank you for your query and I am very sorry to hear of the incident with your vehicle. Unfortunately, as per the terms of your voucher, locks are not covered by the car’s basic insurance. You can find this information on the third page of your voucher.

    I cannot speak as to what the additional insurance you acquired locally covered, but should you wish Auto Europe to look into the matter, you can contact our Customer Service department at and we will contact the supplier on your behalf for further clarifications.

    Once again, I am very sorry for the inconvenience.

    Kind regards.
    Auto Europe

  5. Phi Phi Don Deals says:

    Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

  6. Alanya Properties says:

    Very nice, thanks

  7. garry booton says:

    Thanks for the article, as this made things a lot clearer regarding my own zero excess and what I need to check to make sure certain items such as glass and tyres are not excluded.

  8. Terry Mason says:

    I cannot see where it states that refund or zero excess insurances cover
    the excess for theft . All references are to accidental damage i.e the CDW excess. Foes this mean that the theft excess remains uncovered?

  9. Kate says:

    Dear Terry,

    Thank you for your inquiry! I am sorry for getting back to you with a slight delay. I have made some research and can now confirm that both Zero Excess as well as Refundable Excess program include Theft Protection. You can find reference for that on our booking engine where we have explanations of both options, on the Terms & Conditions part as well as on our vouchers.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  10. Ian Smith says:


    I have just returned from holiday and had a Goldcar hire from Alicante airport. When I booked the car from auto Europe it had a zero excess category. I was asked to buy extra insurance by the gold car rep to cover damage to the vehicle. He showed me a long list of things you have to pay for. I wish I had taken a photo but I didn’t. I said I didn’t require cover as I had zero excess and I had taken out an excess policy by as extra insurance. He said these didn’t mean anything as it’s not the excess I would be paying for its the actual cost of any damage. I declined the extra cover and his parting shot was ‘be very careful then’
    I am really confused now. If I had damaged the car by denting it and scraping it against a wall would I have to pay for that and if so would my excess cover pay me back. It seems a minefield and not easy to understand if you are covered or not.

    Luckily I didn’t have any incidents and returned the car safely but it does make you worried when you are driving the vehicle.

  11. Tyyne says:

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    Thank you for getting in touch.

    What may have caused some confusion is that, although your rental included insurance cover, the insurance package (in common with other insurance packages offered by other companies) has exclusions. This means that certain parts of the car, or negligently caused damage, for example, are not covered by the insurance. These exclusions are listed in the Terms and Conditions on our booking engine as well as on your booking voucher. To increase your coverage, the local supplier may offer additional insurance when you are picking up the car. Purchasing this additional insurance is, however, in almost all cases voluntary.

    What would happen in case of damage to the vehicle depends on the exact product your booking included. As long as the damage is covered by insurance, one of three things could happen. First, if you did not have the zero excess or excess refund product, you would pay for the damage up to the amount of the excess. Second, if your booking included zero excess, you would not have to pay as the excess would be zero (as long as the damage was covered by insurance). Or third, if you booked the excess refund product, you would first pay to the local supplier up to the amount of the excess and then, as long as you provided us with all the required documents regarding the damage, we would refund you the amount you had to pay. However, it is to be noted that if the damage to the vehicle was not covered by insurance, i.e. it fell under the exclusions of the insurance policy, you would have to pay for the whole amount of the damage. For this reason it is very important to read the Terms and Conditions on our booking engine fully before completing your booking.

    I am sorry for any confusion caused during your trip, and hope that I have managed to clarify things a bit.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  12. Jim says:

    hi, is there any way you can hire a car with everything completely covered. Jim

  13. Tyyne says:

    Dear Jim,

    It is my impression that all insurance policies will have some exclusions, such as negligence. To supplement the cover you have included in our rates, you can purchase additional insurance locally from the supplier, but these policies, too, are likely to have exclusions. To discuss your options in more detail, I would advise that you contact our reservation agents by calling 0800 358 1229 (toll-free from the UK). They will be able to explain all the insurance options you have more fully.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  14. D. Anthony says:

    I love the tips, and surely I would suggest it to some of my friends and other relatives to take the benefit of the services. Hope that others too enjoy the service as I do.

  15. Linda says:

    I paid for excess cover, I thought that if I did not need to claim at all I would be refunded the amount after. Is that correct?

  16. Kate says:

    Dear Linda,

    This is, unfortunately, not the case. The excess cover fee is not refundable.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  17. Age Forland says:

    Nice page but I am still a little bewildered. I have ZERO excess and coverage for wheels, glass, roof and underside vehicle from AutoEurope. Yesterday while driving I95 here in Florida we ended up behind a truck with gravels, and small rocks started flying off the truck. Unfortunately one of the rocks that hit the windscreen acutally made a little “star” of cracks in the windscreen (about 1/2 inch in diameter). With Zero Excess, does that mean we end up having to pay anytthing for these damages is or not?
    Looking forward to your answer!

  18. Tyyne says:

    Dear Age Forland,

    Thank you for your comment.

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

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  19. Rachel says:

    Hi, how much would the deposit be if you have zero excess on an economy car for 6 days, rented in Bologna Airport, Italy. Thanks

  20. Kate says:

    Dear Rachel,

    the deposit depends on a supplier you choose. Please call our toll-free line 0800 358 1229. Our agents will be happy to answer your question and help you find the best deal for you!

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  21. Philip says:

    As I am going to hire a car with zero excess inc wheels, glass etc I would be interested in the answer to the question posed by “age forland on the 28th March



  22. Tyyne says:

    Dear Philip,

    Thank you for your comment.

    In the case of Mr. Forland, the zero excess policy was offered by the supplier, not by Auto Europe, and therefore only the supplier could give further advice on whether the damage in this particular instance would be covered or not.

    To find out if this is also the case with the offer you are interested in hiring, please call our toll-free number 0800 358 1229 to speak to a reservations agent, who can advice you further.

    Kind regards,

  23. Mau Wilson says:

    Hi, I am looking at renting a car through Auto-Europe. The agent is Record Go, it is “inclusive package rates”, “full to full” fuel and i have my own rental insurance. Do they “hold” my deposit or “take” it then refund. I ask this as i have read some customer reviews which say they had money deducted for fuel or damage without this being brought up upon car return. I will take photos of any damage upon pick up and again at drop off, also of the fuel gauge. In the event of any problems will Auto-Europe help to resolve?


  24. Kate says:

    Dear Mau,

    thank you for contacting us. To provide you with the best assistance I would ask you to contact our toll-free line: 0800 358 1229. Our agents will be able to answer all your questions and help you with all your queries.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  25. Dimitrios says:

    Hi there,

    Quick question.
    With Zero Excess cover-I do still need to leave a deposit on my credit card -even if I don’t accept any additional insurance?

    Why this deposit is not clearly stated at the time of booking?


  26. Tyyne says:

    Dear Dimitrios,

    Thanks for your question.

    Yes, in almost all cases you will be required to leave a security deposit on your credit card, even if your booking includes zero excess. An explanation of the security deposit is included in the Terms and Conditions of rentals made through Auto Europe, which must be read and accepted before payment is made. For more information, please call our reservations department on 0800 358 1229.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  27. Gary says:

    It really does pay to shop around and find out exactly what the collision damage waiver and no excess really means, and more important how it could affect your pocket in case of fire, theft and damages. Depending on how much a car hire company is charging of course, in my opinion its worth paying that little extra to eliminate as much as possible any excess, if you can contract a completely O excess on your insurance without paying a fortune then my advice is to go for it. Not only could it eventually save you financially I find it gives me peace of mind during my holiday as I am never worried about if the car gets damaged and I could be liable for a big payout. In short check the small print and ask the company about the cover, get it in writing so there is no, he said she said, at a later date.

  28. Des says:

    Hi, on my rental voucher it says. IDMR basic rental with insurances CDW, THP, ZQ
    What is ZQ ?

  29. Tyyne says:

    Dear Des,

    ZQ should stand for Refundable Excess with Super Cover – you can find more information on this product here.
    You may wish to give us a call on 0800 358 1229 to make absolutely sure. Our call centre agents can then look at your voucher and explain its contents further.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  30. Ray says:

    Hi if you hire a car in holland what information you need to pick up the car o you reqiure a code from DVLA ? some say yes and some people say no .
    Many Thanks

  31. Sophie says:

    Hi Ray,

    The DVLA code is necessary for pick-up in all countries. It is used instead of the paper part of the driving licence which has been scrapped. Please note, the code is now valid for 21 days (;

    Kind regards,
    AE Team

  32. Mo says:

    Every year in the summer I hire a car in Bari for 5 weeks or so for University business, and every year I have ended up paying more than I expected when I arrive at the airport to collect the car. I have paid in advance for the car and insurance, but at the airport I get slapped with half that again for various other insurance things I don’t understand, and I am always told that I HAVE to do this, so it blows my budget. How can I minimise these surprise “other” costs, and do I really HAVE to take on what they force on me at the airport? Can I book something online with Auto Europe that includes all or much of what I will need insurance-wise? I hasten to add that these previous problems have not been with Auto Europe, but with other car hire firms.


  33. Kate says:

    Dear Mo,

    Thank you for your comment. To avoid paying local insurance, the driver needs to present a credit card in their name to be able to leave a security deposit. If the driver fails to present the credit card, local insurance becomes mandatory. This applies for all Auto Europe bookings, including Refundable Excess ones. In short: the security deposit allows the driver to decline local insurance.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  34. Sujata rai says:



    Kind regards

  35. Sophie says:

    Hi Sujata,

    Many thanks for your question.

    A valid DVLA code is usually necessary for the pick-up. Some suppliers may not require it but we recommend obtaining one, just to be on the safe side.

    Kind regards,

    Auto Europe Team

  36. Patrick Bellew says:

    Hired a car in through Autoeurope in Italy the hire rental company was locauto, I have taken out a car insurance in the uk before going to Italy for piece of mind and reading the article in the national press about extortionate insurance the car
    Hire companies were offering. I had to return the car before the car hire company opened for business, completed the paperwork as required and deposited the keys, paperwork in the box at the terminal. I found out from barclaycard that I had two charges against my card 1 for £55.81 i assume for fuel as we didn’t return it with a full tank the other charge was
    For £664.38 now to date 2/10/2016 21 days after the car was returned I have had no information whatsoever from locauto
    Or Autoeurope what this charge is for which I find incredible.3 people checked the car for damage before I returned it and
    found nothing, or did we miss £664.38 of damage,I think not.i have been in touch with Autoeurope Sverdlovsk times and
    they have opened a file they say, but could take up to 20 days to get an answer. I can’t make a claim to the insurance for
    Two reasons as I do not know what the charge is for and I do not have any documentation to support a claim, of course
    we are assuming the charge is for damage but without any paperwork I am in limbo. I will soon take to all the media
    outlets available to me very soon, especially Twitter.i have not contacted locauto as Autoeurope told they resolve this,
    they also said at the the first call they normally here from rental companies within a week and then the next call they said
    they would open the the file and take up to 20 days, no confidence there.

  37. Christian says:

    Hello, Question regarding zero excess

    I understand I will need to leave a deposit even with zero excess. I will rent with Hertz. The deposit is for a full tank but if i decline local insurance will I still need to leave a deposit with zero excess
    Or will it be just a fuel and other options deposit?

  38. Kate says:

    Hello Christian,

    thanks for leaving your comment. In this case the deposit accounts for car parts not covered by zero excess plus fuel and any locally purchased services. Each supplier has their on deposit policy, which may slightly vary from each other. Please call our Reservation Team on our toll-free line to find out what are the requirements from Hertz.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  39. Chris says:

    Prompted by your reply to Mo (March 29/30 2017), interested in whether it matters if the credit card to be used for a security deposit locally upon collection is in a different name to the lead driver. This may have to be the case for us (travelling in a few days to Greece, about to book car hire through UK website). The booking and deposit would be paid on the same card, but the name will not be the same name as the lead driver. Prompt reply would be much appreciated.

  40. Kate says:

    Hi Chris,

    thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, a locally used credit card for deposit has to be in the name of the main driver with no exceptions.

    Auto Europe Team

  41. Huw says:

    Hi there,

    I’m still a bit confused.

    When I went to take a car from Keddy (or europecar) the other day, they said that europcar do not accepts 3rd party insurance from anyone and that I had to buy their extortionate insurance….now considering I’d already paid the £60 extra for your insurance, I decided to risk it and say no and research what I’d actually bought from you…and I have come to the conclusion it was probably this….

    So can you tell me this? If I have an accident, will you be able to cover me or refund me the charges that Europecar/Keddy will most likely charge me?

    What i THINK, the guys at europcar were trying to say is that I’d have to pay the money up front to them, and that they were making it sound like I wasn’t covered at all…

    But what I THINK i actually have is that, if I crash, I pay them the money, I then contact you (or whoever the heck you’ve insured me through) and then you refund me the money that I’ve had to pay Europcar up front , or at least the amount of money that is agreed on this strange policy I have.

    Is that the jist of it?

    Thanks very much,


  42. Kate says:

    Hello there,

    thanks Huw for your comment. What you have written is correct. With the Refundable Excess product from Auto Europe you are entitled for excess refund in the event of damage to the rental car. What it means in practice, is that you first need to pay to the rental company for the damages occurred and claim your costs back from Auto Europe. Please do not hesitate to contact our reservations team if you have any queries concerning your booking. Our toll-free number 0800 358 1229 is available 7 days a week.

    Auto Europe Team

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