Monday 15 August 2016

Car rental companies still make renters pay for excess insurance if credit on card not sufficient

My niece and family were visiting Ireland from France in July. They were flying to Belfast and hiring a car at the airport.  

I bought on her behalf a European car hire excess insurance policy from Questor Insurance. She printed off the details for the holiday. First of all she had to find a car rental company that allowed the driver to take it in the Republic of Ireland and then find one that did not charge a hefty fee for cross border use.

She booked the car online from France and they arrived at Belfast Airport. They went to collect the car and although she showed them the Questor Insurance policy document, as she was providing her own independently purchased excess insurance she fell down on a common financial problem.

Yes she could use the Questor Insurance, however they wanted to debit her French debit card immediately with some £800. This would have meant this amount of money (around €1,000 at that time has the value of the pound had not fallen post Brexit). She could not afford this so they sold her excess insurance costing some £125.00 for ten days cover.

So she had two lots of insurance cover. On costing £39.99 from Questor Insurance and the Car Hire company's product (for which they earn a lot of commission) costing £125.00 for ten days.

This is totally unfair. They should have the right naturally to hold a credit card deposit, but to actually take it off the driver at the time of hire is not right. This means the car rental company has additional funds in the form of cash flow and  if the hirer is not in the Sterling  zone they have to pay currency conversion costs to their bank.

I have hired cars over the years in similar circumstances, however most of the companies used have "swiped" the card and had the right to deduct the amount if there was a problem on returning the car, but funds were not immediately withdrawn.

This type of incident once again does not help tourism and only benefits the car hire company trying to make up income from competition by making a lot of money from car hire commission.

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