Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Monday, 2 September 2013

How To Steer Clear Of Hidden Car Hire Costs

Now we are home and settled from our canal cruise, it is time to think about our two weeks in sunny Spain at the end of the month. As usual, we have again researched our trip fully, and booked it as cheaply as possible, eventually booking our Monarch flight and 4* hotel via Lastminute.com and then 2 weeks car hire separately with Hertz, simply because I know their office is directly opposite the exit door of the airport terminal where we land, and, in the main, the price of hire for any particular class of vehicle is often very similar between companies.

This post relates to the car hire process and documentation.

What many people fail to realize when hiring a car, particularly in Europe, is that, although the named driver is insured to drive the hired vehicle, there will be a relatively huge excess to pay in the event of making a claim on that insurance. The hire company will, quite rightly, advise at the time of signing the hire documents, that it would be advisable to take out additional insurance to cover the cost of the excess, known as excess waiver cover, as the excess can run into £thousands, to be paid by the unsuspecting hirer in the event of a claim. What they don't tell you, until it is time to pay, is that their own cost for this waiver insurance is usually excessive in itself, usually in the region of £15+ per day. The cost of car rental is highly competitive, and it is in these other areas where they try to make their money, while keeping the headline cost of hire as low as possible. There have been numerous articles on this recently, here is one of them from The Daily Mail.

The most cost effective way to cover this is to buy your own excess waiver cover from an independent source, prior to arriving at the hire company desk to collect the hire car. We chose to use this company, Halo Insurance Services, after our own research, with cover provided by Chubb Insurance. If hiring for over 14 days, as we are, it is cheaper to buy the annual policy, which we did, at £39.99. When you arrive at your holiday destination car hire centre, present your certificate of insurance to them and all should be well.

Other things to watch out for is whether your hire company sends you off with a full tank of fuel and expects it to be full again on return, or whether they want it returned empty, (which it would never be - fully), and they make a fixed charge to fill it. Returning with a full tank is best for you, but make sure you take a date stamped image of the fuel gauge prior to handing over.
Also do make sure that you closely inspect the car for any damage prior to taking it over, making sure any is marked clearly on the documentation, and also take date stamped images of the vehicle on return. If the vehicle is dirty when you collect it, you have the right to demand that it is cleaned, as dirt could be hiding damage.

All too often these days, some of the more unscrupulous companies will try and wrench additional charges out of you any way they can. Excess waiver insurance provided by all hire companies is usually far more expensive than it should be. As always, it is best to be one step ahead of them, and don't forget to take your driving license!.

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