Sunday, 20 January 2013

Car Hire Insurance Explained

Renting a car can be a daunting experience – language issues, local car rental laws, different driving rules, jargon and extra charges can all make life complicated. Tipoa Car Hire clarifies in this document some of the terminology used and offers useful tips on successful car hire.

1. Let’s start at the beginning...Choosing your hire car

There are plenty of car hire companies (suppliers) out there (e.g. Hertz, Avis), there are plenty of brokers out there (e.g. British Car Hire, Tipoa, TopAutoverHuur). In fact if you go to Google and enter some of the key search terms such as ‘car hire’, ‘car rental’, ‘cheap car hire’ you will be bombarded with plenty of options. Let’s start with the car hire companies (suppliers). These are the well-known international brands that we are all familiar with. Hertz, Alamo, Europcar, large multinational companies with a presence in most cities and airports. These also include local outfits, which own cars and operate them at the destination.

2. The Extras

If an option, take the car with a full tank of fuel and return the tank with a full tank of fuel. Find out where the closest fuel station is when you collect the car so you know where to go on the way home. The reason that the rental company wants you to prepay for gas is simple. You will always return the car with gas in it. Nobody will take the chance of running out of gas by trying to run the tank empty.

Additional drivers and young/old driver surcharges
Think who will be driving the car and check the costs for adding an additional driver or more. An additional driver can usually cost an extra £3-£6 per day payable locally.
The minimum rental age is normally 21, though if under the age of 25 you are likely to incur an extra daily charge.

Child Seats
Infant/booster seats for children under 12 years are mandatory in most countries in the EU, so should be provided if requested.

Snow Chains/Ski Racks/Snow Tyres
If you are heading for the snow then think about all the equipment that you have and the size of car that you will require.

Late return fees
Check exactly what the late return fees are.

Unlimited mileage tends to be the norm.

Excess Waiver
Excess waiver is the additional insurance that is sold to you at the counter when you collect your car to either reduce your excess in part or in total.

PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)
Pays out if you kill or maim yourself or a passenger.

Personal Effects
Covers your personal effects such as baggage if stolen from your vehicle.

3. Insurance Explained

What insurance is included and what is excluded is often the most difficult element to understand when hiring a car, so let’s make it simple.

There are a few ways to reduce your excess to zero

     a) Super CDW

     b) Damage Excess Waiver (DEW)

     c) Excess Insurance

4. Collecting The Car

You have just arrived at your destination and all you want to do is jump in the car and go. There’s a queue, you have the kids with you and the temptation is to just rush everything. It’s quite simple. DON’T.

Once you are in the car...

Familiarise yourself with the vehicle: your seat position, lights, heating, wipers, warning lights.

5. Returning The Car

The same principles apply when returning the car. DON’T RUSH!

1. Take photographs of your rental car when you collect it and return it.
2. Try to avoid returning the car outside of normal office hours, as just leaving the keys means you have not gone through the full return process, and you are liable for the car until the car rental company opens the following day.
3. Inspect the car with a representative of the car rental company to ensure that there are no problems.
4. Wait for a printed copy of the final report.
5. Take photos of the car when you return it to show that there is no damage.
6. Check the seat pockets and seat wells for any items that you might have left in the car.
7. Finally keep the copy of the car rental agreement and any damage report until your next credit card statement arrives. That way if you need to claim on your insurance or dispute the transaction you will have the information to hand.

For more detailed information, please download our Insurance Brochure:

Source: Daniel Smith from
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