Hiring a vehicle is one of the best ways to explore on holiday, but it can also be one of the most costly when things don’t
go to plan.
When you purchase travel insurance, you should familiarise yourself with the key inclusions when it comes to claiming on
hire car damage and the conditions of your coverage.
You may be driving on dirt tracks, in built-up cities or on the other side of the road, but take practical steps to cover
yourself and avoid denting your wallet when you dent the car.
Know your car hire excess
An excess is an amount you agree to pay when a claim takes place. It’s what you will have to pay if you are involved
in an accident or if the vehicle is stolen.
Often when you arrange to hire a vehicle, there are different payment plans with the hire company that can increase your
daily cost but reduce the excess you would be required to pay.
It is important to note that some travel insurance policies already cover you for this vehicle hire excess, potentially reducing
your costs with the hire company.
Provided your travel insurance covers the full amount of your hire vehicle excess, you may want to choose to waive this part
of the rental agreement.
“Most people want to get the keys and get away as quickly as they can,” HBF travel insurance spokesperson expert
John Martelli said.
“But if you take out travel insurance you may already be covered for any excess,” he said.
It’s always best to hire your vehicle through a reputable, registered company and make sure you adhere to the conditions
of the hire agreement.
This will help ensure your travel insurance will cover you for the hire car excess.
When will travel insurance NOT cover your vehicle claim?
To make a valid insurance claim, many insurers will require you to hold a valid Australian motor vehicle licence.
To drive a scooter overseas, for example, many insurers will insist you hold a valid Australian motorcycle licence to be
covered, even if you are not legally required to hold one to drive a scooter in that country.
In Bali, you will need to hold both an international driver’s licence for your vehicle of choice to abide by the local laws
(and by extension maintain your cover) and an Australian licence.
Don’t do anything silly that could jeopardise your cover. Always wear a motorcycle helmet on a scooter or motorbike,
for example, and a seatbelt in a car. Don’t go on a scooter in thongs, wear closed shoes, and put on sunglasses
to protect your eyes from any gravel or dust that may shoot up from the road.
Under no circumstances drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol – you’ll not only have to face the
police for breaking the law, your cover will be void for any road-related accidents.
It is always best to check with your insurer about your licence requirements before travelling to make sure you are covered.
So, your hire car has been stolen or damaged. How do you make a claim?
File a police report and call your insurer as soon as possible after an accident. Ensure you keep any paperwork, which will
include driver information and details of the accident.
It’s also a good idea to take photographs at the scene so that you can supply evidence to support your claim. Remember
that you may be required to pay the excess yourself before the travel insurers refund you in due course.
Also, bear in mind this excess element may not cover you if your car or scooter is damaged by a terrorist attack.
Road collisions and crashes can happen to anyone, so take out cover to give you peace of mind and you won’t be driven
to worry on your next holiday.
This article is sponsored by HBF Travel Insurance.
HBF Travel Insurance is issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 (IAL) trading as CGU Insurance. HBF Health Limited ABN 11 126 884 786 is an authorised representative of IAL. Any advice provided is general only. Always consider the PDS available from hbf.com.au/travel-insurance to see if the product is right for you.