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Car Hire insurance is confusing !

If you are renting a car for your holiday or business trip to Malta and feel confused and uncertain about the insurance cover ……. You are not alone !

Car rental jargon is usually hard to read, unless you are a lawyer and accustomed to such jargon, the insurance policy is unclear and excess is excessive. This creates the perfect pitfall for the average holidaymaker.

We at OfftoMalta want you to be well informed before leaving your home and hence we have created this information page about car hire insurance cover. We want you to wise-up on the terminology used by car hire companies.

Usually you are intrigued by the cheap price for the rental being offered and you book your car without looking into the small print of the insurance cover. Let’s face it, the majority of us will not bother to read the policy, and those few who do will not really understand the terms such as CDW, LDW and non-waiver. Not fully understanding what your policy covers can lead to unexpected, and often very high, costs being deducted from your credit card and this is because your policy did not cover you for the excess.

The most common areas of damage to a vehicle are the tyres (especially in Malta since the roads are not always in very good condition), windows, roof or undercarriage, all of which are not normally covered by the car hire’s own excess cover (you will only notice this if you read your policy very carefully)

Excess charges can vary from €300 to €1,500 depending on the amount of damage and the country you are hiring in. Car rental companies do offer you at the counter to buy an excess cover, however this is usually very expensive and can cost as much as €17 per day and more often than not it will not cover the full excess amount of damage to windows, tyres, roof and undercarriage.

Insurance Cover terminology



What does it mean ?

Is this included in the rental insurance policy ?

CDW – Collision Damage Waiver

Cover for damages to the vehicle

Yes it should but check the small print

LDW – Loss Damage Waiver

Same as CDW - Cover for damages to the vehicle

Yes it should but check the small print

SLI – Supplementary Liability or Third Party Liability

Cover for third party

Yes it should but check the small print


Cover for stolen vehicle (not personal items)

Yes it should but check the small print

Excess – often referred to as Super CDW – Non –Waiver and Deductabile

A portion of the claim you will have to pay if damage to tyres, window, roof, or undercarriage

No it will not. This is usually offered at an extra charge of €5 - €15 per day. A cheaper alternative is to buy a third party excess insurance cover beforehand like the one being offered by icarhireinsurance


So what is the solution?

First of all we have produced a checklist for you which we strongly advise to follow.

• You should ALWAYS read the terms & conditions of the car hire provider's website and documents
• Check the Excess cover even if you reduce it to zero you may still be liable for damage to the tyres, glass, undercarriage and the roof
• Check that your insurance covers all aspects of your trip especially if you are planning to hire a luxury car, convertible or going off-road.
• Check the vehicle for any existing damages when you collect the car. Make notes on the car rental form and ask the attendant to sign the notes. We also recommend taking photos of the damage
• Take your car hire company's contact details with you in case of emergencies and check if there is any breakdown cover
• Check what time you need to return the car as you will be charge an extra day if you delay.
• Check your credit card statements after your hire to ensure the amount they blocked has been released. In certain cases it takes quite long for the funds to be released. Check with the car hire company if in doubt.

Secondly if you really want to put your mind at rest and enjoy your holiday in Malta we highly recommend taking a third party cover which is cheaper than the car hire company’s policy and moreover it  covers the tyres, roof, glass and undercarriage.

We recommend the following insurance company; 


"Our stand-alone car hire excess insurance replaces the need to buy expensive, last minute, additional cover from car rental companies.

Buy a daily or annual policy based on the region you travel to and start saving when you book your rental car.(icarhireinsurance website)"