How to drive away with a good car rental insurance deal

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WHEN it comes to insurance cover, zooming off on holiday in a rental car can be confusing so take extra care with policy details before driving away.

One in four people who hired a car felt they had been upsold car insurance unnecessarily, the latest research from Canstar Blue found.

Usually when signing a car hire agreement consumers take out cover that could saddle them with a massive excess charge if something does go wrong.

This excess charge can be reduced by paying more for the cover at the time of booking.
To make matters more confusing, booking online through some third-party providers can also result in auto-tick boxes being selected and automatically signing you up to, and charging you, insurance cover that you may not realise you have taken out and that may not be suitable for your needs.

Canstar Blue spokeswoman Justine Davies says while rental car insurance is critical, drivers need to clearly understand their policy and what the excess charge is if something does go wrong.

Sometimes these can be as high as $4000.

Generally when you hire a car it comes with in-built car insurance in case you have an accident or the car is damaged or stolen,’ Davies says.

A lot of travellers get a shock when they pick up the hire car and are told about the excess and thats typically when the rental company tries to upsell them to an extra insurance policy.

While it can seem like an arduous task, drivers should read through the policy thoroughly to ensure there is sufficient cover, advises the Insurance Council of Australia.

Every policy is different and it is important that consumers read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before making their purchase to understand what each policy covers and excludes,’ an Insurance Council spokesman says.

Some insurers offer stand-alone policies for rental vehicle excess. These policies may also provide cover for additional expenses, such as loss of luggage or personal affects.

Another trick is to also look at your travel insurance policy if you have one most of these policies already cover the traveller for any rental car excess expense if something does go wrong.

@sophieelsworth