CityPress - - Business -

The in­sur­ance cover fine print also de­serves more scru­tiny. While you may think that most of the big­ger car hire com­pa­nies are in­sured to the hilt, this is not ac­tu­ally the case. Com­pa­nies like Avis and Budget self­in­sure and they share some of the bur­den with cus­tomers.

“Peo­ple some­times ask why we don’t of­fer allinclu­sive pack­ages. But we don’t be­cause so many cus­tomers don’t want it. And if you don’t want it then this is the risk you are happy with. We self-in­sure our fleet. We try to go to in­sur­ance com­pa­nies but we’ve found that when they see the dam­ages of all the ve­hi­cles dur­ing the year the pre­mi­ums go up, so we rather self-in­sure,” ex­plains Lance Smith, strat­egy ex­ec­u­tive at Avis.

Clients can choose be­tween stan­dard waivers or more ex­pen­sive su­per waivers. The more you pay in in­sur­ance waivers the less you pay in the event of an ac­ci­dent. In­sur­ance is a must, as the amount you could be li­able for, re­gard­less of whether you were at fault, could be well into the tens of thou­sands of rands, if not more.

You may not al­ways be li­able for ev­ery dent and scratch but this de­pends on the car hire com­pany you choose. “We have a fair wear and tear guide which can be avail­able to you. A lit­tle dent or scratch is within our tol­er­ance,” points out Smith.


How­ever, you would be li­able for big­ger dents and dam­age. But you can get in­sur­ance from just about ev­ery car hire com­pany. Avis, for ex­am­ple, has two op­tions: you can ei­ther get Col­li­sion Dam­age Waiver, which is a lim­ited waiver and means that, in the event of an ac­ci­dent, the ren­ter is re­spon­si­ble for up to the spec­i­fied amount as in­di­cated on the rates ta­ble (see online) for re­pair to or re­place­ment of the ve­hi­cle or part thereof (or the cost of dam­age re­pair, which­ever is the lower).

If you choose its Su­per Col­li­sion Dam­age Waiver (SCDW), a lower, non-waiv­able li­a­bil­ity will ap­ply. Avis stresses: “De­clin­ing ei­ther of these op­tions means you are li­able for the full amount of dam­ages in­curred or the spec­i­fied li­a­bil­ity. Au­tho­ri­sa­tion will be gained to se­cure the li­a­bil­ity amount on your credit card for the du­ra­tion of the rental.”

As an ex­am­ple, Avis’s rates ta­ble shows that if you hired a Mercedes-Benz C Class or sim­i­lar the to­tal li­a­bil­ity is R500 000. If you have Lim­ited Waiver Li­a­bil­ity at R135 per day you could be re­spon­si­ble for up to R50 000 should you be in an ac­ci­dent. By pay­ing more for SCDW at R215 per day, you would only be re­spon­si­ble for R10 000.

“Rather take the full in­sur­ance op­tion be­cause, if you get into an ac­ci­dent, the car hire com­pany makes no at­tempt to claim from the wrong­do­ing driver’s in­sur­ance or to get the cheap­est quote – it merely deb­its your credit card with what it says it costs to re­pair the car. Make sure you have proof of your in­sur­ance op­tion,” says Melville.

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