Of course that means making sure that you are insured, especially since you will be in an unfamiliar motor. But although you might have put the most basic cover in place, have you considered protecting yourself against having to pay the car rental excess insurance too?

Insurance for car hire excess is likely to be offered when you collect your vehicle but by planning ahead and staying organised, you can shop around for a more competitive quote.

Don't buy excess cover from the rental company

If you aren't familiar with the workings of a hire car excess insurance policy, thinking the rental company is the only place you can purchase it is an easy mistake to make.

There is no requirement for you to agree to take out car hire excess insurance from anywhere. However, if you decide you want to protect yourself against the possibility of facing a large bill, you can shop around to get the best quote. In many cases, the best excess insurance is not available directly from the rental firm; this can often work out as a more expensive option.

Excess car hire insurance is completely separate to your regular car insurance so you don't even have to go to the same provider you normally use.

Where to buy excess cover

CDW excess insurance - as hire car damage excess insurance is sometimes known - can be taken out with any company. This provides you with the opportunity to carry out a car hire excess insurance comparison to get the best cover in return for the cheapest premium.

Some firms offer car hire excess waiver insurance discounts if you buy online so it's always worth keeping an eye out for special deals too.

If you feel a bit wary about buying from a provider that you haven't used before, checking out some car hire excess insurance reviews could help set your mind at rest. A great way to not only see that the company is legit, online reviews can provide lots of useful information about how easy the policy was to take out and how good their customer service proved to be in the event of a claim. Buying cheap cover is great but if they are painful to deal with you will end up wishing you had simply paid a bit more so you can skip the hassle.

Finding the cheapest car excess option

However, before you click to buy, it's worth considering an alternative option: annual car rental excess insurance.

If you are planning on hiring the car for a while, or perhaps know you will be having a few holidays or trips this year, you could find that taking out a policy which lasts for 12 months works out much cheaper than paying for it day by day.

Annual insurance for car hire excess works in exactly the same way as the daily cover, but protects you for multiple trips every year up to the policy limits. You can also opt to take out the exact cover you need including European and US/Canada cover so wherever you are travelling you know you are fully insured. It also means you don't have to worry about getting your excess insurance in place every time you need to rent a car - a much easier option!