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How to use your Avios points for car hire excess insurance

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The website is pretty thin on the ground now when it comes to redemption options.  If you haven’t visited recently you might not have noticed.

One option which is still there is redeeming Avios for car hire excess insurance.

The relevant page of the website is here.


Car rentals in the UK generally come with an excess of £750 – £1,000 – that is what Hertz quoted me just before Christmas.  You can pay an additional sum to get rid of this but, if bought directly from the rental company, it tends to be disproportionately expensive.

A number of internet-only companies have sprung up to offer a better alternative – Insurance4CarHire is the biggest and is well regarded.  You can buy an annual or one-off policy which will cover you for any claims you need to make.

Another option is to get an American Express Platinum charge card.  You get a similar policy as one of the benefits.  I claimed on this twice and have been refunded by Amex on both occasions with no difficulty, although you need to fill in a few forms.

A third option is to use your Avios to pay for a policy.  It covers you and up to six other people for up to 56 days of rentals per year.

An annual policy costs either 12,000 Avios or you can pay £72 and earn 360 Avios back.  This means that you getting 0.58p per Avios point.  You can also buy policies for individual trips.

(To buy the annual policy, you need to ask the website for a quote for a short trip for random dates.  You will then see two options – either to buy a policy just for those dates or to buy the annual policy.)

It certainly isn’t the best value Avios redemption out there, by a long way, but if you are Avios rich and cash poor then it is something worth bearing in mind.  It is certainly far better value than buying excess cover from your rental company.

Click here to learn more at

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (21)

  • Caro says:

    Questor does an annual policy for around £40 and you can often get a discount with a code. However, please be aware that policies only cover you if your additional named driver is on your policy. Ie I rented a car in France with friends and have my own policy. I added my friend as an additional driver and she has her own policy (named on her husbands policy) – she was not covered in our scenario on two accounts. That is even if the rental had been in her name her policy would not have covered it because it was not a joint policy. These are great if you rent and drive as a family. But give some thought when renting and sharing with mates.

    • ADS says:

      sounds like if you rent with friends, you’re better off taking out a separate policy each time you go on holiday – even if it ends up being expensive than an annual policy.

  • shd says:

    I paid £39 for an annual (Europe) policy at iCarhireinsurance, with 22% of that back via topca$hback.

    Friend of mine has too, couple of years ago he had to claim an entire car (stolen!), iCarhireinsurance paid out promptly, amazing at that price.

  • Matt says:

    The American Express platinum hire care insurance is a very different product from car hire excess insurance.

    Technically, you need to decline any CDW policy (usually included when hiring a car in Europe) or you aren’t covered.

    • Robman says:

      Matt, could you please explain.

      • Matt says:

        The insurance is similar to that typically provided by US credit cards, it covers everything, not the excess.

        If you read their Key Facts document on p5 there is an exclusion “Cover applies only when rental agency allows refusal of their insurance” this means they are free to refuse a claim for the excess amount if you have CDW already.

        • Rob says:

          No they are not. By law almost all countries except the US insist on a level of CDW which cannot be removed. It is not an issue.

        • Matt says:

          By law, they are not allowed to advertise car rental in Europe without CDW, but you can decline it through certain companies (e.g. Hertz) or by booking through US websites.

          It wouldn’t surprise me if people have successfully claimed the excess amount with other insurance in place, but the wording is very clear to that it falls under an exclusion.

  • bill says:

    Does Amex Platinum hire car insurance cover rentals near to my home ?

    I know from a purchase a few years ago that a standalone product from insurance4carhire didnt cover rentals within 30 (?) miles of my home

    • Rob says:

      I think UK rentals require a hotel booking for the same night, but check the small print.

      • Chris says:

        Wow, didn’t know this. I’ve done 24 UK rentals on the last 6 months and just assumed my Amex Plat covered me.

  • RTS says:

    On the Plat Amex care hire insurance… how do you actually use this? Fro example – i hire a car in spain. I crash it. Excess is £1k. I pay the excess. Do I then claim via my Amex Plat insurance after i have paid the excess?

  • SF says:

    Something I never knew about until very recently is the different requirements for renting cars in the US (and therefore presumably some other places as well).

    Unlike in the UK, “3rd Party” cover is has a minimum level – and this is usually what gets covered by the rental companies – In Florida, the minimum requirement is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL), so (if the worst happens and) you put someone in hospital, you could be liable for anything over the cover the rental company provides (£10k doesn’t go very far in a US hospital) .

    Additionally, Florida is a “No Fault state” (google for the other states – there are 12!) which means that if you have a bump, you are both equally liable (this is also true if your car is parked and gets hit – even if you are not in it)…

    Basically what this means is as well as looking for “Excess Cover” you also need to look for SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) cover, provides this as part of their “Worldwide Plus” product (£114 annually)….. I don’t know if anyone else also provides this… but without it, you are not really covered… at least in the US.


    • JohnT says:

      I know some US states have a zero excess on CDW (at least on Avis) including Louisiana and California – so would you need it there? I thought PIP was usually covered on your travel insurance as well. Almost puts me off renting does all this!

      • SF says:

        I dont know if PIP would be covered if you were driving – either way – if you are involved in an accident (or at least your vehicle is – you dont even need to be in the car) you will be personally liable if the claim goes over the base minimum…. so if you hit a $20,000 car, you are in the hole for $10K…..


    • Ian says:

      Despite reading the policy a couple of times I am still not clear if it covers the USA or not. Though I guess from reading SF’s comment that without SLI the policy is not as complete as it needs to be?

      Off to Florida soon and looking at options

  • Lady London says:

    I never hire a car without this type of insurance. Check terms and conditions each time in the insurance. They keep changing. Things to check include whether/how many drivers are covered on the same policy, is hire covered only outside of a certain distance from your home., geographical coverage, types of damage covered. For example some policies cover mis-fueling (when you put petrol into your diesel or vice versa) some don’t. Whether replacement of keys is included. Whether damage to the interior of the car is included (usually not but worth a look). Maximum length of any one hire, if you have taken an annual policy. etc.

    If you are hiring in the USA some States mandate that excesses cannot exceed certain amounts. Otherwise for North America you’d be advised to take the top level of cover every time.

    Some are good for vans (Questor) some cover mobile homes some not. etc. Some allow a shorter maximum hire for these types of vehicles, than for standard cars, if they offer non-standard vehicle coverage at all. Van hire excesses can be huge so it’s well worth paying this insurance for peace of mind. And same companies quite frequently change all these types of terms.

    Two things : even if you do take the car hire company’s daily rate for excess waiver it will normally cost many times as much as these other policies. Plus, coverage is sometimes worse in that car hire version won’t cover roof, tyres, someties not glass or mirrors. But the good vehicle excess policies do cover these and sometimes more besides like lost keys/rechipping if needed.

    I have used Questor, icarhireinsurance, insurance4carhire, some others I’ve forgotten, and a new excellent one Bettersafe (more flexible than the others and fantastic value). the site that cannot be named or its near competitor can be your friend, their process does work with these companies. Just read the t’s and c’s every time you take this insurance so you know exactly what coverage you have. Amex Plat looks to cover well enough though if you have that.

    • Dmitri says:

      Why is the Bettersafe more flexi than others? I cannot seem to customize it at all..
      Questor can be customized at least..