Wednesday 28 January 2015

Hiring a car again this year? Save money and protect yourself with excess insurance

Just had an email from those people at insurance4carhire.

They said "Did you know, if you're hiring a car for more than 10 days in a 12 month period, it's more cost effective to purchase an annual policy?

That way you can get up and go, giving you peace of mind for the next 12 months."

Pre-buy peace of mind today!

What is more, if you use this link for the  annual Europe you save even more money. Now that is a great way to start the New Year.

Monday 26 January 2015

Good Weekend Car Hire via Economy Car Hire in Dublin

Had to hire a car for a visit to Dublin a couple of weekends ago. As Hiring cars in Dublin had been a bit of a nightmare over the years I was a little concerned when I made the booking in December.

The Irish car hire market has had a very bad press over the years which is most unfortunate as tourism is so important to the country's economy.

I used Economy Car Hire.  I carefully checked the fuel policy terms and conditions of each car hire company they put forward on line. I knew we would not be travelling a great distance so having to pay for a full tank of fuel and bring the car park empty without a refund was out of the question.

Budget Car Hire had the deal that meant that you paid them for a full tank of fuel and returned it full to get your money back.

I took out excess waiver car hire insurance with Questor Insurance Services. Just before departing, I received an email from Economy Car Hire saying "
£7.50 will make sure you are covered - Our improved top-up insurance provides reimbursement cover against any loss or damage to the vehicle not covered by the car rental insurance such as wheels, tyres, glass, under body, roof, keys, locks, mis-fuelling, lock outs and battery failure. Insurance also covers mobile phone charges, curtailment, car-jacking, and road rage incidents.

You can add this additional cover to your car hire booking for just £7.50"  I believe they use Questor for their "top up insurance", but had already purchased separately. I in fact paid a lot less than £7.50 as I used the discount system for Questor Insurance on the jml Insurance websites.
Arriving at Dublin Airport Terminal 2 early on a Friday morning, I went to Budget Car Hire's desk who re-directed us to a mini bus from Avis and Budget on the ground floor. 
We did not have to wait for any other people as it was in the very quiet time of year after the Christmas rush.
We were soon in the car hire terminal located just outside the airport. A very helpful Budget / Avis representative processed the hire and I pointed out that I was declining any excess waiver insurance and a large deposit was held from my credit card, although checking the credit card details they did not put the transaction in as debit and credit, but just retained the right to do this if necessary.
I also double checked the fuel policy and was debited £73.78. I signed the paper work also writing on it declined excess waiver insurance and we checked the car over before setting off.
On the Sunday I had great difficulot getting 10 euros worth of fuel in the car. On my credit card statement £73.78 was refunded.
The car was checked back in and in no time at all were in the mini bus that dropped us off at Departures at Terminal 2,
A very pleasant experience of car hire at Dublin.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Sometimes you just don't need to hire a car on holiday

Earlier this month I was on holiday at an all inclusive hotel at Los Abrigos on the south coast of Tenerife. With hotels transfers from the airport included and visits to a local golf course a few minutes walk why hire a car.

We wanted to visit Mount Teide which is the  third highest volcano on a volcanic ocean island in the world.

Researching visits on line, visitor's comments were not too complimentary about taking a big bus tour. One person that they had returned a few days later after hiring a car.

I was not too keen on hiring a car for the day. First of all there were hire cars parked in the local village from one the car hire companies that have a very bad reputation in Spain and Portugal. "Your excess insurance is not acceptable and you pay for a full tank of fuel and bring it back empty +". We could have arranged car hire via the hotel reception, but who is to say you might not end up with one of these "bad reputation" companies. There were four of us going and possibly I could have been the driver.

From what we did see of the roads and drivers in Tenerife during the stay would not have been a problem. They wear their seatbelts and say that the local police are very hot on this subject, drivers stop at pedestrian crossings and the road surfaces are a lot better than back in the Home Counties in England. They might have volcanos, but certainly don't have pot holes!

Consulting the hotel's reception they told me about Jeep Safaris lasting all day or half a day and with vehicles and guides accommodating nine passengers. Sounded ideal, sure car hire would have been cheaper, but then you would have needed to arrange independent car hire excess waiver insurance (much cheaper usually than through the car hire company) and of course could have easily had a situation of returning a car nearly full of fuel.

This other way meant the driver would not know where to go, so you can enjoy the trip fully.

A Land Rover Defender arrived just after 8.15 in the morning and seven of us got in and set off with a resident Englishman driving. We had all brought warm winter clothing too as we were leaving the mild climate of 22 degrees for something a LOT colder.

We thought that was that up to the Teide National Park and begin the tour. We suddenly pulled into a shopping centre car park behind Playa de las Américas. Here we were asked to leave the vehicle as the driver had more collections to make. Land Rover Defenders came from the Tamarán Jeep Safari organisation that also included a couple of Japanese 4X4 but no Jeeps.

We were divided up into those taking the full day trip, half day trips and language for driver / guide. A while later we were setting off again with a Scottish guide in another Land Rover Defender (all seven us who were from the same hotel in fact.) We were told we must take turns in the front, centre seats and back as this was a trip for all and everyone paid the same price.

On the way to the park we made a couple of stops to learn more about the area and to buy coffee if that was what you needed. We were never alone as there was always a convoy of Land Rover Defenders.

The entire trip was very worthwhile, you gained knowledge about the volcanic history, saw a fair amount of the countryside and passed through several typical Tenerife villages and towns. All in al very good value at €43 a head.

What about car hire then for such a trip. You can visit the top of the volcano via the Teide Cable Car, however the cost is €26 per person and according to our guide you need to be there very early in the morning to avoid long queues. Around 9.30 is the latest, so if you are really interested in this visit hiring a car must be a must.

You also need good visibility. The early January Saturday morning we were there the sun was out it looked perfect. Apparently you can get a lot of clouds blocking the views up there.