Saturday 24 October 2009

Autumn Half term Holidays here - are you renting a car?

Left: Shop window dressed for Halloween in Dublin, Ireland - (Photo jml Property Services)
The nights are getting darker, clocks go back this weekend and Monday is the October 26th bank holiday in Ireland.

Halloween and November 5th Fire works celebrations are just days away and so are the autumn (fall) half term holidays.

Despite the recession, many people will be taking a few days holiday with their family as they enjoy a break from school. No doubt you could be hiring a car.

Naturally if you are hiring a car remember you will have to pay certain additions, usually the
Collision Damage Waiver or CDW. Collision damage waiver is the insurance that will provide cover for damage to the rented vehicle. You can insure against this and it is called "car hire excess insurance"

You can usually buy these policies from the car hire company, but quite often you are paying more that using a provider like questor insurance or insurance4carhire. They offer very competively priced daily policies and annual policies that are really great value. Both of the providers advertise at our website insurance4carrental.com If you are hiring a car close to home you cannot be covered by the annual policy (check small print), however according to our contacts at insurance4carhire their daily policy does.

We covered this in more detail back in July this year on this blog site "Renting a car close to home, can I buy car hire excess insurance?"

As there are lots of times when you will need to rent locally like:

  • People only have one car, it is holiday time and they need a larger one for a day trip - ideal for a day trip on the half term holiday

  • There is only one car the family has and a family member is using this and another family member needs a car for a day or two.

  • There is no regular car of their own as the family lives in the city centre and parking is expensive and limited and they prefer to rent when they need one.

  • The car is in the garage for repair.

If you are not going away you may decide to stay at home and decorate or undertake some DIY project. Part of the problem is that you need to transport materials and you can't get these in the family car. You decide to hire a van. Rather like with hiring a car you will have to pay the excess insurance to the van hire company.

For just £7.99 per day, you can be protected against Van Excess charges, whenever you rent a van in the UK. Find out more here

Finally apart from car hire excess insurance we at jml insurance also act asd introducers for lots of other products including Travel Insurance, Property Insurance, Wedding Insurance, Pet Insurance and even products ffor people with criminal convictions. Take a look at our website sometime jml-insurance.co.uk

Have a great break, however if you are not taking one remember "insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Holiday Car Hire - More on the 2009 chaos

On Sunday the 11th October, “The Mail on Sunday” an article entitled Holiday car hire: Get the rental details right and avoid the chaos by the newspaper’s feature writer Fred Mawer. As with so many articles these days, advice on this blog and our website www.insurance4carrental.com he started the article with the words. “Car hire is something many of us put off sorting out until the last minute, long after we have booked our flights and accommodation.”

Mr Mawer went on to explain that In previous years, this hasn't been a problem because there have always been enough vehicles available in mainstream holiday resorts and, unlike with airline fares, rental costs haven't really fluctuated. But 2009 has been different saying that some holiday makers who had not booked early enough in Spain had ended up paying £400 per week to hire a small car.

The message very simply expressed by this Mail on Sunday journalist and others like Harriet Meyer of The Observer and Simon Calder of The Independent had been that you should book well ahead if you want to be sure of a hire car. It is easy to put this off to the last moment. You have secured your flights and villa rental, however something as straightforward as arranging car hire is left on “the things to do pile” near the bottom.

The Mail on Sunday’s article explained once again that the situation during the summer of 2009 came about because car rental companies operated with smaller fleets. Due to the current recession, car manufacturers are making fewer vehicles anyway and rental firms have been struggling to get credit from banks to purchase replacement cars.

As with Harriet Meyer and Simon Calder a quote was found by Car hire broker Holiday Autos Managing Director Stuart Nassos, saying “This year, car rental fleets in Spain have shrunk by 35 to 40 per cent and in Portugal, Italy and France, we've also seen fleet reductions of 15 to 20 per cent. As a result, at peak times - over Easter and during July and August - there was a shortage of cars and with demand sometimes outstripping supply, prices went through the roof. The situation in Spain was the worst”.

The article also quoted Gareth Robinson, Managing Director of price-comparison website carrentals.co.uk, says the problems look set to continue at periods of peak demand this autumn and winter. 'In winter-sun destinations such as the Canaries and Madeira, and at airports for skiing holidays such as Geneva and Chambery, at times I anticipate there will be a limited choice of vehicles and prices will be pushed up for late bookers,' he says.

Last week on the 6th October we posted a story on this blog site entitled Is there still a shortage of car hire vehicles in Europe? and it seems evident from Gareth Robinson’s comments that there will be.

Meanwhile Stuart Nassos of Holiday Autos is more concerned about next summer and has commented that 'It looks as if the challenging conditions may repeat themselves next summer, We're seeing many more people booking their car now for next summer than would have been the case in previous years.'

It is good to book several months ahead if you are one hundred per cent sure of your t holiday plans. We know that through our self catering villas site, www.jmlvillas.com that a local agent in the Algarve in Portugal has taken a lot of bookings for the summer of 2010 and is receiving a lot of enquiries.

The article ends up with an excellent plug for insurance4carhire.com by saying “Shop around for excess waiver. While rental firms quote rates including insurance against damage and theft, the cover usually comes with an excess - what you're still liable to pay in the event of an accident - running into hundreds of pounds. Rental firms let you reduce the excess to zero for an additional hefty fee, but even then you often have to pay for any damage to the tyres, windscreen or roof.
You are better off taking out an excess-waiver policy with a specialist insurer: it will be much cheaper and will cover damage to all parts of the car. See carhireexcess.com and worldwideinsure.com for cover from under £2 a day in Europe, www.insurance4carhire.com is competitive with its annual policies.

The article lists other cost saving suggestions as we have been saying recently like look out for those additnal charges like, additionaldrivers, child seats and even sat nav navigation systems.We are now into mid-October so with Christmas and winter holidays around the corner if you are hiring a car, you should make the arrangements as soon as possible plus arranging the car hire excess insurance.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Just renewed our Europe Family & Partners Car hire Excess Insurance

In October 2003 when my wife and I took out our first Annual Excess Car Hire insurance with Insurance4carhire we had individual policies. Each policy cost £49.00 which it still does some six years later. No increases there unlike a lot of insurance products.

Our annual outlay on this was £98.00 and to date, fortunately neither of us have had to make a claim when we have been away hiring a car. However rather like taking out AA cover on our own cars or Legal protection insurance on a rental property, taking this cover is beneficial, because you never know when you might need it.

We have also found that it is cheaper to take out an annual policy rather than daily ones when we are renting a car a few times in the year. We have also found it cheaper to buy the insurance4carhire.com product than buying it from the car rental company.

A couple of years ago at this time of year when we were about to renew the policy, we discovered that insurance4carhire had a "Europe Family & Partners 31" policy for only £79.00.

This looked ideal as it covers 2 policy holders, who must be family members or partners, travelling toether or separately. The policyholders and all additional drivers on the car rental agreement for unlimited use throught the 12 month period. It Covers Excess on damage to the rental vehicle including the undercarriage, Excess on theft, and damage to windows and tyres
What is more it saves us £19.00 a year so is well worth considering and as our present insurance policy does not expire till the end of the month, we have arranged it today and in fact you can arrange them up to three months in advance. You can also pay be credit card too.

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Tuesday 6 October 2009

Is there still a shortage of car hire vehicles in Europe?

Throughout the main holiday season, particularly in southern Europe, it has been rather frustrating for those wanting to rent a car and unless the booking was made far in advance.

On this blog in July we ran a story entitled "Book your car hire early this summer - you might not get one at the last minute" It tells the story of some regular visitors to Nice in the south of France who had not booked in advance and when they arrived there could only find luxury cars available like an Audi TT.

These types of cars do tend to be rather expensive to rent, if all you want is a small Citroen with air conditioning.Then on this site on the 10th August we ran an article "Shortage of Car hire vehicles in Spain". This was following Simon Calder's article in The Independent's travel pages about a visitor who had booked “a pay on arrival” car with “DoYouSpain.com” and was contacted a couple of days before he was due to arrive in Palma Airport in Mallorca that no vehicle was available.

This renter did find one in the end however and found a Renault Clio that was available and would cost £843. In his original booking it was going to be £197!Simon Calder also researched other airports and discovered no vehicles at Faro in Portugal, Ibiza or Mahón in Menorca. At Málaga you get VW Polo for £472 for the week.Following on from this we ran a story "Where have all the car hire rentals gone?" on our insurance4carrental.com site. The story outlined the problems of the summer where Car rental companies were saying they have not been able to buy enough vehicles because of a fall in manufacturing and tighter lending conditions.

Car hire broker Holiday Autos Managing Director Stuart Nassos was saying that the shortage was blamed on shortages in the recession as car manufacturers have cut the number of cars being built, therefore fewer are available and also there is a lack of credit. The two combine to create a perfect storm. He suggested that advised holidaymakers should not rely on an airport booking, which may be cancelled at short notice, but to book a car from a city location.Last month on the insurance4carrental.com site we featured a report entitled "car hire vehicle shortage predicted for September 09".

This was about an article by Harriet Meyer of "The Observer" saying that there will be a shortage of hire cars in European hotspots and steep price rises may cause problems for travellers into September.Our story also took into account northern Europe as we had asked a car hire company in northern Europe on how they had got around the problem of not having enough cars in the height of the summer and they had replied that they had put up prices and this had solved the problem.So there were predictions of problems running into September.It would be interesting to know if this actually happened and has it continued into October by adding your comments in the box on the right "add your comments here".

I look forward to hearing from you and it will be interesting to see if there are more cars about again in 2009.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Who needs car rental excess insurance?

Just filing a few old emails and came across this Google Alert from those people at insurance4carhire.com with the following article.

Car rental excess insurance exists to give people renting cars additional security and peace of mind.

It is a sad fact that accidents can happen at any time including when driving a rented vehicle. In such circumstances the insurance cover that is included as standard with the vehicle rental may prove to be limited and involve the renter in significant additional payments towards the cost of any claims arising.

When booking the vehicle initially the hirer should check carefully to see what insurance is included as this varies by country and rental company. It may or may not include cover for things such as third party, fire, theft and damage to the vehicle itself. Not only should the areas covered be confirmed, but also any exclusions and limitations. As an example, it is always important to ensure that the third party insurance levels are high enough to meet the hirers needs and potential exposures.

In many countries the basic insurance that comes with the vehicle typically provides cover for fire, theft, third-party claims and some forms of damage to the rented vehicle with this latter usually called Collision Damage Waiver or CDW. For all categories of claim the policy may contain large excesses in other words the first part of the total claim amount that the renter will be expected to pay in the event of an accident.

These excesses could amount to very significant amounts of money running into hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds/dollars that the renter would need to find following an accident.

It is usually possible to reduce the excesses payable and broaden the cover by paying the car rental company for top-up insurance at the time of rental and this is also sometimes called car rental excess insurance. This usually has to be done on a rental-by-rental basis and may prove expensive.

There is another insurance alternative that can reduce these risks and costs.

Specialist car rental excess insurance offers protection against these excesses and can be purchased on-line through various insurance companies. In the event of an accident, the renter will pay the excess as stipulated by the car rental policy, but then claim this amount back through their car rental excess insurance policy.

This type of insurance may also offer other significant advantages. Many basic insurance policies that come as part of the rental itself may exclude damage to some parts of the rented vehicle including windows, glass, roof, wheels and tyres.

Many car rental excess insurance products will include cover for these items as part of their basic policy, thereby allowing the renter to claim back any payments made for damage to those areas. They may also increase the amount of personal liability cover provided for the hirer.

Another possible advantage arises from the fact that car rental excess insurance is sold to the policyholder and is not restricted to a given car rental arrangement or company. What this means is that it may be possible to purchase this type of insurance to cover all car rentals during a given period of perhaps 3 months or even a year. Typically this will offer cost and logistical advantages to renters, particularly those planning to rent several times in a period of time.

Car rental excess insurance may have its own conditions and limitations. Policies of this type may only cover rentals that take place more than a specified distance from the policyholders home. Typically they will also exclude specialist rentals such as goods vehicles, sports cars, vintage or antique vehicles and very high value cars such as a Rolls Royce. As is good practice with all types of insurance, the policy details should be checked before purchase to ensure that they will meet the needs of the individual renter.

Car hire insurance policies can vary in cost and detail of cover and it would be sensible to check the details carefully before purchase.

Interesting, reminds me must renew my car hire excess insurance later this month as it expires soon and it is always good to have peace of mind with an annual polict in case you have to suddenly go somewhere and need to hire a car.