BRITS should exercise caution when driving a rental car – as a crash could rack up hefty fees.
Drivers renting cars at home or abroad are almost always liable for a chunk of the cost of repairing the car, but forking out for rental insurance can help.Brits should exercise caution when driving a rental car[/caption]
What happens if I crash a rental car?
If a rental car is involved in an accident, the most important thing to do is stop, turn off the engine and switch on the hazard lights.
An ambulance should be called if any passengers in the car are injured.
Drivers may also need to call the police so the accident can be officially recorded.
This may be the case even if the car is still drivable, with some countries mandating cops be informed even for the smallest bump.
Details should then be exchanged with the other driver at the scene or, if a parked car was hit, contact information should be left in a note.
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The driver must also collect the details of everyone else at the scene – including witnesses – and take some pictures.
When this is completed, the insurer should be called and the operator will talk the driver through the next steps.
It is also advised that the driver take the details of the person they speak to on the phone in case it’s needed in the future.
Can I be fined?
Whether a fine applies depends on the car insurer’s policy – and the country the car is hired from.
But hire firms will always make renters agree to an excess to cover the cost of potential damage, which can be between £500 and £2,000 depending on the vehicle.
The driver is almost always liable to pay a chunk of that excess themselves if the car is damaged or stolen.
The amount paid depends on the level of damage.
What about insurance?
Different hire car firms – with popular ones being Hertz and AVIS – have different contract options offering base-level cover.
This often includes a Collision Damage Waiver – which involves a pre-agreed excess fee – or third-party liability insurance.
Car hire excess insurance goes one step further.
Often bought independently from a hire firm, this insurance covers part or all of the cost of the excess.
For example, iCarhireinsurance will pay £6,000 towards the cost of the excess.
It can cover damage to tyres, chipped or shattered auto glass, and undercarriage damage – but can be pricy.
Will a rental car crash affect my no-claims bonus?
A rental car crash shouldn’t affect a driver’s no-claims bonus when they reinsure their own car.
This is because a normal car insurance policy applies no-claims to the car and not the driver.
But an accident in a rental car could affect a driver’s car insurance premium when it is next renewed.
Drivers have to declare whether they have had an accident in the last five years, meaning car insurance firms could hike up the price if they feel the likelihood of another accident is increased.
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