Saturday 30 January 2010

Money Saving Tips for USA Visit includes Car Hire Excess Insurance

The Daily Telegraph published a report by Paul Wade and Katy Arnold on Friday 29th January 2010 entitled “USA on a budget - money-saving tips”.

Amongst the selection of the “Ten Money-Saving Tips” was “Before renting cars, take out independent annual excess cover from companies such as Insurance4carhire” http://www.insurance4carhire.com/index.asp?linkfrom=4&curID=1&langID=1&refID=188

They also mention car hire further fown in the article under “Do it yourself” saying “For the web savvy, it is easy to book flights, car hire and hotels in the US……. and to Skycars International for well-priced car hire…. However, it is important to note that car rental companies have cut their fleets, so fewer cars are available. In future, hiring a car may be more like booking a flight: you’ll need to move early for the best deals. To guarantee your car is waiting when you arrive, pay in advance and be sure to provide your flight details. Otherwise, if you are delayed, your car might be allocated to someone else.”

One company that is great value in my opinion is Holiday Autos.
http://www.holidayautos.co.uk/cgi-bin/liveweb.sh/QSearch.w?ctryref=GBR&lang=EN&aff=xjeffreymilnerltd They are one of the major car hire brokerage companies, part of last minute.com and they cover the USA

They are very competitive going to excellent car hire companies. I recently booked through them in Nice, France and discovered their partner there was Europcar. Out of curiosity as soon as I booked, I went into the Europcar website to compare the price for the same booking. It was a lot cheaper through holiday autos.

Finally remember if you are looking for a self catering holiday rental property in the USA or have one to let (it only costs £11.75 per year to advertise on the low cost villa advertising service) visit http://www.jmlvillas.com/

Saturday 23 January 2010

Garden Route Forum South Africa comments found

Came across this on Tripadvisor earlier today.

Jan 21, 2010, 6:03 PM
hi....was wondering if anyone can give any advice...ive planned to hire a car to do the Garden route part of my trip to SA, and have been searching online for a good price, as u do...

i was just completing my booking on an AC car (which included theft protection, CDW, unlimited mileage, local taxes etc. ) when i noticed an option for TDEW (total damage excess waiver)....

i am confused as to wether i Need this or not (as its an extra £52 on my rental cost)...and dont really know what it is...

fellow travellers who have rented a car - is this something u would advise i get????....

thanks in advance for anyone who replies, advises or helps!!

1. Re: car rental
Jan 21, 2010, 6:47 PM
Destination Expert
for Cape Town, Western Cape, World Cup 2010

If you hire a car with standard CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and Theft protection. The insurance policy will normally require you to pay the first amount of any damage or loss. This amount vairies depending on who you rent from and the type of car. This is normal anywhere in the world but in South Africa can range from around R2,500 up to R15,000. Sounds like you are probably renting through a UK broker in which case the excess is normally at the lower end of this band. It is also possible to reduce the excess to "zero" by the payment of an extra insurance premium. In other words if you damage the car you pay nothing - EXCEPT if the damage is to the tyres, windscreen or underneath of the car in which case the excess still applies. For a further payment it may also be possible to reduce even this excess to zero. The combination of these two additional premiums is normally known as Total Damage Excess Waiver. This is what you are being quoted £52 for.

Should you take it out? That is purely your choice and is a straightforward gambling risk calculation. Without payiing the additional premium the maximum you are risking is say R6,000 (£500) if you damaged the car significantly. At a premium of £52 the company suggest that your risk of having an accident is worse than 10:1. If you believe your driving is this level then take it out.

I personally never do. The amount you are risking on a single rental is not huge but over the years the premiums can mount up. Over the past 15 years or so I have probably rented cars around 100 times on holidays and business in South Africa and around the world. I have only ever had an accident, and been charged an excess amount, once - and that amount was less than £200. A number of times I have had minor damage but this has always been passed on inspection and my excess was never charged.

So by not taking out TDEW I have saved a few thousand pounds. As I say however, now you understand what the risk is, it's completely your decision.

There is another way to eliminate this risk for a lower cost - if you rent cars a few times a year. In the UK you can take out a yearly insurance which covers you against "excess" claims on any rentals you make. Rather like single premium annual travel insurance - although here the consequences could cost hundreds of thousands!

The original company offering this was Insurance4carhire :

There are now quite a few other companies such as :

2. Re: car rental
Jan 21, 2010, 6:54 PM

Hi I rented with economy car hire where they offered comprehensive insurance and didn't have a CDW, so perhaps you'd like to try them.

3. Re: car rental
Jan 21, 2010, 7:08 PM
Destination Expert
for Cape Town, Western Cape, World Cup 2010

Yes, economycarhire is pretty normal pricing. They include the first part of the insurance in the standard price but as they say - "Certain parts of the vehicle such as the wheels, tyres, locks, roof, glass parts of the vehicle (including the windscreen), the underside and interior are not covered by the insurance as they are normally damaged as a result of negligence." So this is not a Total Damage Excess waiver and you would need to pay extra if you want to cover this. Not sure that if you get a tyre puncture it is "negligence"?

But it is important when comparing offers that you are aware of what they include. Economycarhire is good as they also include the cost of a second driver. But this is of course of no value to you if you only intend to use one driver!

4. Re: car rental
Jan 22, 2010, 6:13 AM

Hi, justback from SA on Tuesday. Hired a car for 17 days both at Cape Town airport and Joburg airport. Booked car months before going through Holiday Autos and also took out the Total Damage Excess Waiver with them for peace of mind.

Holiday Autos use Europcar as their partner, they are nothing short of a nightmare. When arrived in Cape Town after overnight flight and eventually getting through passport control, went to get car. There were four desks operating with about 7-8 people including me in looking for car. I was 3rd in queue. It took 50minutes for me to get keys for my car. This is unacceptable when all they do is type a few details into computer and photocopy your license and passport and swipe your credit card. Operator did not appear to be fully computer literate, typing with one finger and looking for keys on the keyboard.

Also no Total Damage Excess Waiver on contract, as operator stated that Holiday Autos do not pay them the premium, so if you have a collision you can spend the rest of your life trying to claim any excess payments to Europcar from Holiday Autos, very underhanded in my view!

Oh, also there were a group of four germans who had arrived from France who had been at the desk for an hour and a half because Europcar had totally lost their booking in their system, and refused to give them a car until the booking could be traced, how bad is that. Man were they frustrated, making numerous international phone calls from their mobile to try and assist Europcar with the details of their booking!

When we flew up to Joburg, I was dealt with immediately, no queue, I was ecstatic to see. However when providing the dedetails for my rental I was informed that they only had a small car available, not what I had booked. I refused to accept it and was told I would have to wait. I asked how long I would have to wait and the operator could not say. I had a 500KM drive ahead of me and I told them that I would not wait indefinately for a car I had booked months ago and had arrived at the designated time I had indicated when booking the car. The lady then went off for a while to enquire, it appeared that I had put her to a lot of trouble by refusing the small car. I was eventually given a car I had booked after 15minutes or so waiting. Again the admin procedure was slow for all they have to do.

Overall a tiring and trying experience, and I will never use either Holiday Autos or Europcar again for car hire in any country.

I don't know what they are going to do when tens of thousands decend in June for the world cup and many are looking for rental cars, probably booked months/years in advance?

5. Re: car rental
Jan 22, 2010, 6:47 AM
Destination Expert
for Cape Town, Western Cape, World Cup 2010

Hi Bobbles

Sorry to hear your specific story. However I have personnaly used both Europcar and HA dozens of times around the world - including many times in South Africa. Europcar is no different in efficiency to any of the other multinational companies. Also BTW HA don't deal always with Europcar in South Africa. I have had cars more frequently from budget and also from Hertz. In other countries I have had Avis and Sixt.

To blame HA because you had one slow booking clerk is not really logical. I booked a car a few months ago with Avis at Heathrow and it took me nearly an hour to get the car and I was first in the queue!

Concerning not having cars available this often happenss with all car hire companies.

Unfortunately often customers don't return their cars on time or think they can just add a couple of days without informing the rental company. Or cars are returned damaged and need to be repaired or serviced before being rented out again. Sounds like you were renting right at the peak of the main SA holidays so they are unlikely to have spare cars available. If they don't have the right car, rather than downgrade and pay less, ask if they will upgrade the car for the same price. This very often works.

Also maybe you didn't understand the concept of TDEW with HA and all the other broker companies. The additional insurance is direct with HA not with Europcar or whoever. So they were absolutely correct - HA do not pay them this premium. If you have a claim, the local company will take the excess from your Credit card. They also send you a bill. You send this to HA and they reimburse you directly. People on here report that they ofetn get the reimursement on the same credit card statement as the excess charge - or sometimes even before!

6. Re: car rental
Jan 22, 2010, 6:14 PM

Won t go into the HA debate as others have said it all, except to say I do understand some of your frustrations.

Don t know if this suggestion might help you tho... If you drive a lot abroad each year you can take out a completely seperate insurance policy which will waive all the CDW to zero. You will find easily on the web, if you search thro google, but if you cant find I will dig out my details and msg you back.

Alternatively you could try economycare hire who also include all excess, the only bad news is they are also hand off to Europcar or they do in PE where I m starting from. A few yrs ago I hired thro HA when staying up near Kruger ... dropped off in JoBurg and all went well.

Source Tripadvisor: Add your comments and experiebces to this blog.

If you are looking for car hire excess insurance with a choice of providers and car rental, then take a look at insurance4carrental.com

Sunday 17 January 2010

Car hire excess insurance in news again

The "ASK GILL" column in the Daily Telegraph on the 15th January 2010 had a headline "Ask Gill: Should I lock my cases or not? Gill Charlton looks at the pros and cons of securing your luggage in the US; how to keep car hire costs down; and where to find winter sun."

Car hire tips
We are travelling to Melbourne in April and have arranged car hire through Avis for the 21-day trip. Are there any pitfalls we should be aware of when signing the documentation?
Gill Collins, Reigate

Gill Charlton replies
I see that there's a A$2,650 (£1,514) damage and theft excess on this rental. The rental location will try to sell you top-up insurance to reduce this excess to the minimum of £220. Buying this top-up insurance through Avis will cost about £300 for 21 days. You can save money by buying an annual excess-reduction policy through Insurance4carhire ; for £65. This covers bumps, scratches and accidental damage, including any to wheels and windscreens, of up to £2,000.

Naturally, rental agents working on commission don't like these stand-alone policies. Some will try to hoodwink you into taking their own top-up insurance, either by saying that the annual cover isn't valid or by placing a cross in the "accept" box for excess reduction insurance and hoping the customer will be too tired to spot this when initialling all the "accept/decline" items.

Rental companies are becoming much stricter about charging for minor damage.

Always check the car yourself to make sure paintwork scratches and bumps, upholstery stains and any other obvious damage is listed on the condition report. If you spot something that isn't listed, however small, ask for it to be added, otherwise you may be charged for it. If you can, get the car signed back in and ask for a final invoice printout before catching your flight.

This was the second time this weekend that the insurance4carhire people were featured in a major UK National Newspaper. The other was in Paul Golsling's column in The Independent SEE the blog "I've become bothered by the increase in costs associated with hiring cars"

Don't forget the apart from insurance4carhire.com there is also Questor as a major provider in this market.

Saturday 16 January 2010

I've become bothered by the increase in costs associated with hiring cars

It is Saturday 16th January 2010. I have just be reading "The Independent" newspaper and I normally head straight for Simon Calder's travel comments and Paul Gosling's "Question of Cash".
The second question in the Question of Cash feature was submitted by TA by email.

Question: I travel overseas on a regular basis and as I don't like public transport I use car rental companies a lot. In recent months I've become bothered by the increase in costs associated with hiring cars – particularly the excess insurance costs. I know car insurance excess can be expensive, but have you any suggestions to reduce the cost of car hire insurance? TA, by email.

Answer: You can greatly reduce the costs associated with hiring a car by independently obtaining cover for the excess for any damage to the vehicle. Buying a Collision Damage Waiver from the hire car company can still leave you with a bill of a thousand pounds or so if the car is damaged while in your care, because of the insurance excess (the amount you must contribute if your car is damaged while you hire it).

You can insure against paying this excess, but the cost can be high when taking out a policy through the car rental agency (typically over £10 a day). Insurance policies are available elsewhere that provide either annual or monthly policies to meet the excess costs. Insurance4carhire.com provides an annual policy for excess insurance in Europe for £49 a year, covering the policyholder and another six named drivers, providing they are aged between 21 and 74. Policies are also available for hiring cars in North America and worldwide.

The Questions of Cash column is always an interesting read and Paul through his column sorterd out a problem for my younger son a couple of years ago when his Barclaycard was stolen in South America. He is a journalist, broadcaster, author, researcher, media consultant, copywriter and public speaker.Paul has written for most of the leading UK and Irish quality newspapers – The Financial Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the Irish News, the BelfastTelegraph, the Mail on Sunday and the Express.As well as his weekly column in The Independent, Paul also writes a weekly column for the Belfast Telegraph, called MoneyTalks.