I arrived in Portugal on Monday, and as per usual had to put up with the car hire company I had used telling me I should buy everything but the kitchen sink to ensure I had complete peace of mind!!! In fact if I had bought all of their levels of insurance cover, I think I would have spent what the car would have cost from new!!!
I do not necessarily blame the staff that work in the car pick up point; however they can be quite rude! But I certainly get very annoyed with the web based car hire company/broker, who will remain nameless, but do happen to be one of the largest if not the largest in the UK. Why can they not brief the car hire firms correctly in what excess damage waiver insurance cover they provide to their clients.
I had purchased the highest level of cover “Total Damage Excess Waiver” at a considerable cost. However on arrival to my car pick up point, the representative offered me additional insurance cover at a cost greater than the car hire itself, and that this would avoid me having to pay the 900 euro excess should the car have any damage on it’s return. I informed the representative that I had “Total Damage Excess Waiver” and explained that this would allow me to recover the 900 euro excess that I would have to pay should the car get damaged.
Unfortunately the representative told me that the cover I had was not valid in Portugal, and in her experience was completely useless! Now I work within the insurance industry, and I know that the “Total Damage Excess Waiver” gave me the protection I needed, but when you have been through the hassle of flying on a night flight and you have two very tired children with you, doubts start to enter your mind, and the representatives, although I am sure are only doing their jobs, do put considerable pressure on you by putting doubts in your mind!
Anyway I stood my ground and checked my documents, and declined their offer as I was fully satisfied I was fully protected.
The representative then went on to tell me that I needed to pay for half a tank of diesel as this was what was in the tank, she requested a payment of 82 euros for a VW Polo! Now please bear in mind that the average cost of diesel on the Algarve is 1.40 euros per litre, so this would mean that this small car would hold approximately 116 litres if the car hire company was charging the average cost for fuel! Now I drive a large VW 4×4 in the UK and that only holds 100 litres, oh yes, I know it’s not very environmentally friendly and I am seriously considering changing to something greener. Anyway the point is, what a complete rip off, however once again I stood my ground and finally they agreed for me to bring the car back with half a tank of fuel.
Generally my disappointment is that I wish these large car hire brokers would brief the car hire companies they sell for, so that the car hire representatives do not use scare tactics to sell unnecessary insurance, if you have already purchased adequate “Total Damage Excess Waiver”.Also I wish they would stop the car hire companies from trying to rip us all off with inflated fuel cost! As if fuel is not already expensive enough!
We at Insurance for Holiday Homes have been considering selling an annual Damage Excess Waiver policy and if we do, I think it needs to have documentation that clearly spells out to car hire companies what cover is in place so that they do not try to dupe people into cover they do not need!