Car Hire Excess Insurance: leaving your possessions in a hire car can be a real headache

You’re rushing back to the airport after a week or two of blissful relaxation in the sun, you park up the hire car and leg it to the check-in desk.

Only once you’re through security you realise you’ve left your wallet/sunglasses/phone/iPod in your hire car’s glove box. What a nightmare.

Although the language barrier can make it a problem reclaiming these items, it’s no less annoying when it happens in the UK – and it does with alarming regularity.

According to Europcar, it’s had more than a few unusual items left in its rental cars over the years, including: a false leg, a Scottish Piper’s Black Ostrich Hat, an ammunition case and stretcher, half a pint of beer with a CD called ‘The Art of Speed Seduction’ and 10 odd pairs of shoes.

As you’d expect, sunglasses, CDs, phones and keys are among the most frequent culprits to be left behind by a hire car’s temporary custodian, but rental firms do see the odd uncommon possession left. One hire car company once found over £1,000 of designer goods in the boot of its vehicle.

There’s a clear security issue here, too. It’s important to be vigilant and not leave expensive items (such as laptops, MP3 players and digital cameras) on show when you leave your hire car, whether that’s in the UK or abroad. Opportunists and thieves don’t change depending on location.

It’ll help you from paying out on the excess as part of the hire agreement, and also mean you won’t have to claim on your travel or house insurance for lost property, potentially sending your premiums sky rocketing.

But what can you do to stop your favourite pair of shades or your coolest CD – more likely all of your music now, with modern MP3 players – disappearing from your life?

The only real antidote is to perform a thorough check before you hand the keys over. And if you’ve got children, check every last cubbyhole, nook and cranny for their favourite teddy bear, book or most prized possession. It could be a testing time if you don’t…