Sneaky Car Hire Excesses

By | Category: Travel rumblings

You’ll be aware about my previous thoughts on car hire and car hire companies. You need to be wary as they try to ratchet up the basic price they use to lure you in to rent their cars. But they have another sneaky approach. When you hire a car in the UK, you pay for any damage up to the first three hundred pounds or whatever it is and then you can pay a daily sum to reduce that figure.

But in Australia…

The renter is liable for the first $A3,300  (say 1,650 pounds) of damage if you are using a sealed road. If you are on a unsealed road (which a heck of a lot of Aussie roads are once you head away from the main cities, then the liability rises to $A5,800 (2,900 pounds). You can reduce this liability of course, by paying an extra daily fee of $A27 which reduces your liability by up to a staggering 93% to just $A400.

So guess what people do?

In other words, almost by default, your daily rate is more expensive than you planned because  there aren’t many of us who aren’t deterred by trying to find $A5,800.  And even more objectionable is a little phrase that is included in the hire agreement. You are liable for the money, “regardless of fault.”.

Cars in Australia are, for the popular brands that hire companies tend to use, cheaper than  in the UK. The excess on the Nissan I hired was between a third and a quarter of the value of the car if I bought it new. In the UK it is about 5% of the value. How can Aussie car hire companies justify that?

Is it because Australia has one of the highest road accident records in the world?

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