Everyone who has rented a vehicle has experienced the phenomenon. You arrive at the collection point. More often than not, this is at an airport and you are already tired. You really don’t want to think about anything other than getting in the vehicle and driving to your final destination. But the counter staff are full of dire warnings about the perils of driving without the additional insurance cover they have on special offer. So you hesitate and the hard sell comes. If you’re a stranger to the local legal liabilities, it’s easy to get suckered into buying. As a general rule, it’s always a mistake to be spooked into buying when you have no chance to verify what you’re being told nor whether the price you’re being asked to pay is reasonable. So here comes two very simple rules.
If you’re going to use a car rental company inside your own country, you need to check the wording of your own auto insurance. The vast majority offer liability cover when you drive a vehicle not belonging to you. This covers all third party liability claims that might come your way whenever you drive a vehicle belonging to a friend or hire an alternate. The difficulty comes in the cover provided against damage to the vehicle you are driving. Collision and comprehensive cover tends to be limited to your own vehicle. It’s at this point you pull out the Terms and Conditions for the credit card you are going to use to pay. Many credit card companies offer some degree of insurance cover when you pay by card, but you need to be very careful about all the limits and exclusions.
If you are going to use car rental companies outside your country, the insurance cover you have on your own vehicle will almost certainly not cover you. Now you shop around and buy adequate cover from a third party insurance company. This will always cost significantly less than the insurance cover offered at the last minute by the rental company. It sells you cover that gives it the maximum commission, That’s the way it maximizes its profits.
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Whether you are traveling for vacation or business there are a few things you can to make your traveling arrangements easier. Review what the different car rental companies have to offer in the area that you will be traveling.
Research is key. When booking, take the time to ask some very pertinent questions. Ask about all taxes and levies, and any additional fees that might apply. Get a clear explanation, and have a clear understanding of the projected amounts. Nothing hurts more than at the end of your trip being caught with insufficient funds to get home.
Request a copy of the contract ahead of time. Read and understand it. Since most states in the US require insurance, you probably have sufficient coverage with your current insurance. However, in some locations it is prudent to buy the additional insurance. For example on the southern island of New Zealand, it is a good idea to purchase the windscreen insurance. The road conditions are such that windscreens/windshields often become pitted or even cracked with normal driving.
Put all possible drivers on the contract. There are often additional charges for additional drivers. However, if a non-registered driver is behind the wheel in an accident your insurance is void, and you may find that based on the small print you are liable for the cost of a new car. Depending on the country and the rental car company, you will need to provide a police report for any damage above a specific threshold stipulated in the contract.
Before you leave the lot, inspect the vehicle. Do this with the attendant. Have the attendant write down on the rental agreement any damage (dents, scratch’s, misalignments of the bumpers, or damage to any of the glass.). Review the interior as well. In addition, always make sure there is a spare tire. If you pick up the car without an attendant then use your cell phone to photograph any damage and email the pictures to the rental company right then. This establishes a timeline so you will not be held liable for repairs.
Let us help you review your options. Here you can research multiple car rental companies for your next trip. Here you can compare and find the right package for your trip. By following these few tips, you should have a carefree car rental experience.