Holidaymakers taking risks with car coverage

TD Guest Writer

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Car hire costs vary too much, says Which?
Car hire costs vary too much, says Which?

UK holidaymakers risk potentially high costs by not taking out enough car hire insurance when abroad.

According to the latest Post Office Travel Money report on car hire, more than half of consumers do not take out Excess Waiter Insurance (EWI) which reduces the excess payable for accidents or theft to zero. In addition around 76% were not covered for tyre, undercarriage or window damage.

Those who damage their car and do not have the right insurance could face charges of GBP418 minimum in Turkey while they could pay double in the Spanish Costa and Majorca at GBP839 and more than GBP1,000 in Ireland and Switzerland.

The report said in comparison the extra insurance for a week would cost around 10-12% of the excess payable. The report also warned that SatNav and additional driver charges are not often included in the initial prices.

“These figures make it clear that it is a false economy to cut costs by sticking to the basic cost when booking car rental online.  We advise against taking a risk that could cost hundreds of pounds if your hire car suffers damage or is stolen,” said Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money. “What is more, don’t leave it until you get to your holiday destination to find out how much the hire car is really going to cost.  Calculate all the costs by doing your homework in advance to find out the realistic price of car rental and holiday motoring.”

In a survey of 16 European countries Cyprus came out cheapest for car hire at GBP295 with Malta at GBP317 and Turkey at GBP325, compared to GBP614 for a weeks’ car hire in Norway.

Consumer organisation Which? launched a campaign recently for more transparent car hire prices.

In response to the Post Office report Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “We found car hire companies don’t always play fair with their customers, with people often caught out by unfair fuel policies and sneaky charges added to the headline price. We’re campaigning for car hire companies to be transparent about all extra charges, so people know exactly what their final bill will be.”
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