July 09, 2013 06:34 ET

One in Five People Found Unrecorded Damage on a Hire Car

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - July 9, 2013) - Car hire companies are not giving accurate descriptions of existing damage on hire cars, according to a new YouGov survey, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of stand-alone excess car hire insurance.

Over one in five people (21%) said that they had found damage on their hire car which was not highlighted on the collection check-out sheet.

Any damage incurred to a hire car, even if the car is stolen or scratched in a car park, can lead to the hirer having to pay the first part of an insurance claim i.e. the excess amount which can be as much as £2000 (e.g. if hiring a VW Golf with Hertz in Faro this summer).

"Check over a hire car as thoroughly as if you were buying it," said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com. "We're seeing travellers getting charged for minor damage which they're pretty sure they didn't cause but which weren't identified on the check-out sheet when they collected the vehicle."

A holiday-maker going to Faro this summer could be paying up to £16 a day (or £25 a day to include tyre and windscreen excess as well) for a car hire excess insurance waiver bought from the rental desk, compared with an iCarhireinsurance.com excess policy from £2.99 a day - over five times cheaper. iCarhireinsurance.com policies also cover vulnerable parts of the vehicle, including windows, tyres, windscreen and the undercarriage, which the rental companies usually exclude.

Car Hire Check List

  • Check your vehicle carefully before you drive away and make sure damage is recorded on the rental agreement.
  • Always buy excess insurance in advance and not from the car hire company. This could save you up to 80% and is likely to provide you with better protection as it includes re-imbursement for damage to areas like wheels and tyres which are usually excluded from rental companies' own excess waivers.
  • Read the small print to know the terms and conditions of the hire policy. Some companies now operate a return fuel-empty policy for instance.
  • Return the car in acceptable state as some companies are starting to charge a cleaning charge.
  • Returning the Car: Allow time for the vehicle to be inspected by a rental company employee.

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