Rental cars can have a tough life; we get that. However, most people who hire a car drive it more carefully than they do their own.
Have you ever seen a rental car advertised for a great low daily rate, only to find that when the time arrives for payment the price skyrockets due to a series of extras and add-on insurances?
It can be frustrating to see the price increase significantly just because you don't want to have to pay a large excess premium in the event of any damage. This collision damage waiver is optional, but who can afford to take the risk of having to pay the massive excess in the case of an accident?
Overview of Rental Car Companies Excesses and Premium Reduction
When we undertook a quick review of the standard car rental excesses offered, we discovered it can be quite expensive and can be many thousands of dollars. When considering the excess reduction options, these need to be read with caution. The cover provided varies significantly between providers and often has limitations.
Car rental companies frequently emphasise that they are offering options - not necessarily insurance. Their offers often contain more restrictions and limitations than you may initially expect. Many of these options do not include cover for tyres, windscreens, glass, undercarriage & overhead damage.
Car Rental Company Excess Cover - Modus Operandi
Car rental companies are keen to take your rental booking online without going into the excess cover considerations. Yes, you end up taking the lowest daily rate for the type of vehicle you want and there is a feeling of having secured the best possible deal available.
The car rental firms know they can raise their excess reduction options at the car collection counter. However, rental car collection counters are a time poor environment, with customers sometimes feeling fatigued, harried and impatient. In this environment there are a range of factors competing for your attention making you distracted.
So you feel as though you are out of alternatives - either pay for some car rental company excess reduction scheme or risk a massive excess payment if something goes wrong. This can be a 'grudge purchase'.
Allianz provides an alternative for Rental Vehicle Excess Reduction
Allianz rental car excess insurance* offers price certainty in the event that you need to make a claim. The benefits and increased security over your rental car hire make the Allianz options well worth exploring here.
Allianz Plan A is available to drivers from 21 to 75 years of age. This provides a mechanism for drivers under 25 years old to have $4,000 cover, nil excess. Plan B is available to drivers from 25 to 75 years of age. This provides $6,000 cover, nil excess.
Both Allianz Rental Vehicle Excess insurance plans also include cover for luggage and personal effects up to $1500 ($500 per person), and it also covers single vehicle accidents and is for more than just cars - four wheel drives, mini buses, people movers, campervans and motorhomes that do not exceed 4.5 tonnes are also covered. See the website for a full list of benefits.
Please refer to the Product disclosure Statement (PDS) for further information regarding the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions.
Remember to put all drivers on the Rental Agreement
Whether you opt to use Allianz Car Rental Excess protection or go with the rental car companies' offer; when collecting your hire car always take the time to put all drivers and potential drivers on the rental agreement. This will take a few minutes longer during the car collection period, however you never know when you might be sharing driving duties. For some of the car rental agreements available, unless the person driving is specified on the agreement, they will not have insurance cover.
Hire Car Tips
It is possible to return a hire car to a different depot to the one that you collected it from. Sometimes this attracts a surcharge, however avoiding the need to retrace your travel route and increased flight options from other airports always makes this worth considering.
When you collect your hire car, always take a walk around the vehicle to inspect for any existing scratches and dints. Don't be alarmed when you find something. These are then recorded on the paperwork as you leave the carpark. It helps to use a smart phone to capture video as you do the walk so that you have a record in the event that a dispute arises.
Check what fuel package your car is on, sometimes if you are travelling over many kilometres, you can save money by returning the car with a full tank of fuel or by pre-paying for that service. Also check if there is a mileage cap of 'x' number of kilometres per day.
A quality GPS is worth having. If you are using your mobile phone to navigate, keep an eye on data consumption, as well as how it impacts upon your road safety.
Anyway, we hope that you have a great road trip the next time you hire a car. The next time you do, there is an alternative to the collision damage waiver the car hire company offers.
* Allianz Rental Vehicle Excess insurance is issued and managed by AGA Assistance Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) as agent of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708. We do not provide any advice on travel insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Conditions, terms, limits and exclusions apply. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at allianz.com.au before buying Allianz Rental Vehicle Excess insurance. If you purchase Allianz Rental Vehicle Excess insurance, AGA receives a commission which is a percentage of the premium - ask us for more information before we provide you with any services on this product.