Car Rental Insurance – Don’t Get Caught Out
Hiring a car when you go on holiday is a great feeling. Cruising down different roads, wind blowing your hair, sunglasses on even when it’s dark (that last one might just be me). On the off chance that something should happen while in a rental car, it pays to be clued up on how to go about dealing with the hire car insurance you have. The trouble is, it’s very easy to end up paying out a lot more than you first thought, even with this cover in place.
This is one of the most common pitfalls when using a rental car. When you hire a car, the vendor will likely try to throw in Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) cover, or even try to sneak it in as part of the overall price. Ignore the fancy name, it’s more or less a form of car rental insurance, so if the car is damaged or stolen then you should be covered. However, CDW often goes hand in hand with a large excess to pay, sometimes as much as £1000. An easier method is to take out your own temporary car insurance, which can work out a lot less expensive, even when factoring in excess. Depending on who your regular car insurance provider is, you might be able to add the rental car as part of your normal policy. Otherwise, you can take out specialist temporary car insurance to keep you covered.
Phantom dings and scrapes
You could be the most careful driver in the world, but you could still end up paying out or making an insurance claim on the car regardless. Some unscrupulous companies will take pre-existing damage to the car and try to pin the blame on you, making you fork out for something that you had nothing to do with. Usually, since no one can be 100 per cent certain that the damage wasn’t somehow their fault (or they can’t prove it) they end up paying. What if you could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that any damage was there already? Make a thorough inspection of the car beforehand and check over everything for pre-existing damage. If you spot anything, have the renter agree in writing that the damage is there so they can’t charge you through the nose for it later. If you’ve a camera handy, take a few shots of the car so you’ve all the proof you need.
Beware of exclusions
If you end up taking out the Collision Damage Waiver, you still might not be fully covered. How can this be, you cry? It’s all down to that wonderful annoyance called small print. This usually contains a set of exclusions to the CDW, meaning that you can’t use it in the event that certain parts of the car are damaged. As fate would have it, these are the areas where damage is often most likely to occur. The windscreen, tyres and roof are the most common things to be on the exclusions list of your standard CDW, so go over the small print with a fine tooth comb to be certain that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for. Don’t sign the dotted line without being completely comfortable that you aren’t going to be out of pocket later on.
Jamie Gibbs writes for Confused.com, the temporary car insurance comparison site. He once embarked on a six hour road trip while playing nothing but 80s and 90s TV theme tunes. Best road trip ever.