When Jennifer McIndoe signed on the dotted line for an Avis rental car she didn't realise the ramifications.
Like most people she signed without reading each and every one of the 3324 words in the agreement and she got a huge shock when a $2900 post-rental charge turned up on her credit card bill.
A hit-and-run driver collided with her hire car and McIndoe realised that she would have to pay the cost of repairs, which eventually amounted to $1600 plus GST. Avis, however, pinged her credit card automatically for far more than the cost of the actual damage.
"Avis told us we would receive a copy of the quote for repairs in two working days. Ten days later no quote but $2900 was taken from our credit card," says McIndoe. It took weeks of moaning to get a refund.
McIndoe accepts that she was responsible to pay for the damage, but she was left feeling that she'd been taken to the cleaners.
McIndoe's case highlights one of many fish-hooks faced by Kiwis who rent cars….which is where TINZ can come to the rescue :)
Kiwis don't often think to take out domestic travel insurance which can cover excess fee you are required to pay should you have a ding in your hire car.
The insurance included in daily rental car charges comes with excesses of up to $5000. That will be deducted automatically from your credit card even if the other person was at fault and only refunded if the other party pays. To reduce this excess you can take out a travel policy that will cover you for the excess. Travel insurance is usually cheaper than the extra excess waiver cover from the car rental company.
If you're travelling in the United States, in particular, be aware that some rental car deals don't include any insurance at all. That's because US drivers are usually covered by their own car insurance when they're in a rental vehicle. Having an uninsured accident in the US can be incredibly expensive and your travel insurance only covers the excess, not the entire cost of the claim.
However, we don’t have any restrictions. TINZ covers New Zealand residents when hiring cars anywhere overseas. Enjoy the rental vehicle excess benefit under our Comprehensive, Comprehensive Plus and Frequent Traveller plans. Remember if you are planning on driving in other countries it’s a good idea to obtain an International Drivers Permit (IDP).
Check what roads you are allowed to drive on with your hire car company. Exclusions to do with driving on unsealed roads within New Zealand could apply. We match the cover of your rental company, so If they do not cover you for off-road driving, we wouldn’t either.
We cover many types of rental vehicles. We cover campervans and motorhomes that do not exceed 4.5 tonne, compact cars such as sedans and hatchbacks, mid sized wheels such as station-wagons and four wheel drives; and even mini buses and people movers that are rented from a licensed motor vehicle rental company.
Be aware that some rental car agencies hold the full vehicle excess on your credit card for the entire time you're in charge of the vehicle. That can be a financial nightmare if you were relying on the card for spending money.
You will be covered for your excess liability or the cost of repair, whichever amount is lower, provided your rental agreement includes some form of motor vehicle insurance.
It is important to note that TINZ’s rental vehicle excess benefit does not replace standard rental vehicle insurance. Travel insurance does not cover you for the actual damage you cause to a car or the total cost of getting that damage repaired. The benefit is limited to your nominated excess or damage waiver liability.
No one wants to read the fine print of their car rental agreement and travel insurance document...however it's essential to do just that.
Based on original press release we worked with NZ Herald: on:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11780133
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