Wednesday 27 May 2015

Always check the rental car before driving off

We rented a car in Dublin last week, booking via Economy Car Hire as we had done in January. Before making the booking I checked the rental conditions of the various car hire companies the broker had listed.

My main concern was their fuel policy. It is all very well hiring a car and finding out that you pay for "their price" for a tank of fuel, but their policy is to return it empty and if you don't use that fuel, too bad its their gain.

I also declined Economy Car Hire's additional excess waiver insurance that is supplied by Questor Insurance Services, deciding to purchase it independently particularly as I could save 10% with Questor by using a special discount code at the Insurance4carrental .com site.

The plane was delayed by nearly an hour, however it was very early afternoon on a cold May Monday. I called over to a representative at the car hire desks at Terminal 2 and said should we proceed straight to the car hire buses which we did. The car hire terminal is only a short drive away outside Dublin Airport and we were attended too very quickly.

We declined their excess insurance as we already had the Questor product and such, we had a "reserve" that could be debited to our credit card of €1,350 / GBP£1,017.

The keys were handed over and I talked to their representative about the new rules for those with UK driving licences only having plastic ones and no paper counterpart this month. I was not asked for the counterpart and the representative told me she had heard something about this, but was not too concerned.

We were presented with the damage report and told there was a mark on offside front wing. On checking the car further there was also a mark on the nearside rear and the nearside front hub cap was missing.

I marked these areas and returned to the check out desk and had the changes signed off.
It looks like the car hire company had not done a full check on a 2013 Renault Clio from Cork.

It is very important to thoroughly check the car yourself and even photograph it before leaving the car hire depot if you at all concerned.

You also need to check if the fuel gauge is showing full after just paying a deposit on the fuel or buying depending on the contract you have taken out with the car hire company.

Sometimes because of bad light or weather conditions it is not possible to check everything.

A day or so after collecting this car we discovered  a mark around the opening system for the boot. Unfortunately you cannot look everywhere including looking under the bodywork in general.

This applies just as much if you are hiring a van, motorhome or even a minibus.

We have had a lot of bad experiences hiring cars in Dublin over the years, but of late have been well impressed by the polite friendly manner car hire operatives have been in looking after their customers.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Car Hire Confusion over new Driving Licence Rules - What does it mean for You?

There have been many newspaper and online articles over the last three weeks or so since the DVLA in Britain decided to stop issuing "Counterpart" paper driving licences. These counterpart documents had all the info about penalty points etc that someone at a car rental desk could look at. Personally since I have had a plastic card driving licence no one has asked for the counterpart, but apparently it could happen.
iCarhireinsurance sent an interesting email out yesterday - Thinking of hiring a car? Changes by DVLA could affect you. -
As you may already know, from 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will not be valid and will no longer be issued by DVLA. If you are thinking to hire a car this summer, this could possibly affect you. 

What does this mean for you? Fortunately, we have a page dedicated to provide you with this information. I followed their link to the website and they had put together a very imforative page to help address this problem. 
They say that "The DVLA (The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) are going to get rid of their paper counterpart that accompanies all UK photo card licences from the 8th June 2015. Although this is quite a big change and has been widely reported in the media we don’t think that this is going to cause a massive problem for UK travellers this summer as long as you follow a few simple steps before you travel.
In the long run this move will probably be beneficial to car hire users as not having to worry about taking your paper counterpart on holiday with you to hire a car will ultimately be more straight forward and is the way that a lot of other EU licences operate anyway, however there could be some delays and confusion in the meantime as rental companies have to adapt their processes to cope with this change."
Going to the DVLA website they say.....
From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will not be valid and will no longer be issued by DVLA. The counterpart was introduced to display driving licence details that could not be included on the photocard. These details include some vehicle categories you are entitled to drive and any endorsement/penalty points.

Please note, this does not affect photocard licences issued by DVA in Northern Ireland

If you already hold a paper counterpart, after 8 June 2015 it will no longer have any legal status. You should destroy your paper counterpart after this date but you still need to keep your current photocard driving licence.
After 8 June 2015 if you are hiring a vehicle or you drive for a living and you are asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), you will be able to do this online for free by accessing our Share Driving Licence service. This service is currently in development but will be available before the counterpart is abolished. The service should be used by both paper and photocard driving licence holders and will also allow you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared.
Alternatively you can call DVLA and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.

From 8 June 2015, you may wish to check with the hire company what they need to see when you hire a vehicle. If you are asked for evidence of what vehicles you can drive or confirmation of any penalty points, you will be able to request a unique code from GOV.UK which will allow you to share your driving licence details or you can download a summary of your driving licence record. The code will last for up to 72 hours and will allow the hire companies to make any necessary checks. You can also request a code by calling 0300 083 0013. This also applies if you have a paper licence that was issued before 1998.
Not all vehicle hire companies will ask for this information and we advise that you check with your hire company.

There could be some delays when you go to collect that hire car in the next few  months. The iCarhireinsurance article says There’s no need to panic so long as you still keep your paper counterpart for the time being, print off your details from the DVLA web service as well as generate their online passkey. Be prepared for longer queues and slightly confused staff at rental desk across Europe in the period immediately after this change even though we don’t think there will be major disruptions as a result of this it may take the industry a bit of time to adjust their processes completely to cope with this.
See article Here

Go to DVLA Here            
 See iCarhireinsurance Excess waiver insurance products here


Tuesday 5 May 2015

Avoid car hire pitfalls - seasonal newspaper article for late May bank holiday

We have just had the first May Bank Holiday and the second one with be on the 25th May this year.

On Sunday the Express Personal Finance column ran an article "Avoid car hire pitfalls: Five-minute guide to renting a vehicle when on holiday - If  you are booking a hire car for your foreign holiday this summer, try to steer clear of hidden charges."

They are warning of the hard sell of additional insurance at the pick up point for the car. According to MoneySupermarket.com, this can cost as much as £20 a day in some countries, driving up the cost of a fortnight's motoring by another £280.

They quote iCarhireinsurance and they charge £2.99 a day or £39.99 a year. Lauren Mason, marketing manager at that insurance company says "Excess waiver policies from the rental desk are not just more expensive, they often exclude vulnerable areas such as the windscreen, tyres or undercarriage,So even if you pay for the cover and chip your windscreen, you would still be liable to pay for the repair, often at over-inflated prices"

See the article in full Here   Find out more about iCarhireinsurancve Here  Makes sense naturally to go prepared in advance and if you have a UK Driving Licence the rules about paper licences change on the 8th June. More about this Here