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Know the Car Rental Cons - Tue 14th May 2013

A common marketing con with online car rental comparison sites is that they state the car hire includes for example third party cover, collision damage waiver and theft cover, whereupon the hirer assumes this package is the equivalent to fully comprehensive insurance cover, when it doesn't whatsoever.

As such, if the insurance only includes the above cover then the hirer will be asked by the clerk at the destination airport car rental desk for a large deposit of up to 1,000 Euros or more to cover possible damage to the car, should the hirer refuse to allow them to clear this on their credit card then the hirer will be forced to take out additional insurance cover. The extra cost is between 7-10 Euros per day excluding VAT, resulting in an extra 60-85 Euros per week for the cost of the hired car. This additional insurance cover may well include a high excess liability in each of the categories of insurance cover that is taken, so it's vital to check the excess liability before booking.

Other insurance cover may well then be offered at the destination airport to include protection to reduce ones excess liability and personal accident insurance, along with breakdown cover protection too.

Quotes given online do not always reveal what they exclude. For example if the quote does not state that it includes breakdown cover then the hirer should assume it does not, which can then result in the hirer being asked to pay an extra charge at the destination airport of around 35 Euros per week, unless the hirer is willing to accept the risk of being responsible for the cost of the vehicle's recovery. Interestingly, personal accident insurance automatically forms part of the protection cover a hirer would normally get when fully comprehensive insurance is purchased, but this is regrettably not the case when the insurance is packaged separately and fully comprehensive cover is not included.

What has happened in the car rental industry is that most car rental firms have replaced or repackaged fully comprehensive insurance with principally third party then added on collision damage waiver and theft cover, in order to ensure that their online quote is kept very low and appealing, thus enabling the rental firm to make up their profit by selling the extra insurance at the destination airport.

By segmenting the insurance cover in this way means that many car rental firms can apply their own extra charges for each type of cover, thus effectively doubling or tripling the cost of the original car hire quote on insurance alone. Moreover, that this key information is only brought to the hirers attention at the destination airport and not at the time of booking.

Posted by Bruce Gibson

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