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Focus On Car Hire Additional Charges...

By Philip Suter

You want to rent a car for a few days, see a great deal on line and suddenly the original price you thought you were going to pay has increased dramatically because of additional car hire charges.

When you hire a car you will often find that when you go to collect the car there are additional charges that you will have to pay before you drive it away. I have found over the years that renting a car in Ireland from Dublin airport can be very misleading. I have booked on line and seen a car advertised at €12 per day for example. By the time I am driving down the motorway into Dublin the price has become €15 per day.

So what are these additional charges that a car rental company will add on? There are first of all charges if you want a roof rack, satellite navigation or child seats. Fair enough as these items have to be fitted to the vehicle and take a while to do. I remember in the 1980's renting a car in Portugal and the majority of the small cars were actually the original small Mini and as there was no real room for luggage in those cars, they all came with roof racks as standard. No doubt as time progresses the majority of cars will have Sat Nav built in.

There are other charges that are to be expected which are reasonable like "One-way drop charges." Whereby you collect and return the car at two different locations and you can be paying anything in the region of €50 to €75 for this service.

Out of hours charges is another "fair charge" The car insurance company advertises its normal business hours and if they have to remain open longer because of flight delays or a late flight for example, they have to compensate staff. I have had to pay this in France on a couple of occasions.

The Location Surcharge is a charge that should be built in and in many cases is as I have been charged around €25 for collecting a car from Dublin Airport and when I questioned this was told all "Operators did this". I even rented in Dublin on one occasion collecting the car from a city centre location and still be charged an airport collection charge!

Other charges to look out for in Ireland are "Cross border" charges. If you are renting in the Republic and take the vehicle into Northern Ireland or vica versa and you could be paying around €25 for literally staying on the M1 motorway and going from one part of the country to the other.

My research into renting a car in Ireland has found that there is also a "Vehicle Licensing Fee" with some companies and that rentals will incur a charge of €2.64 per day which will be charged locally upon arrival at the collection point. One company even has an "Environmental and recycling charge" whereby they can charge €2.63 per rental and say this is for recycling tyres, batteries, oil, paper, plastic, glass and car wash water".

Finally of course there is Insurance. The most popular one of course is the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). Collision damage waiver (CDW), sometimes confusingly also called loss damage waiver (LDW), is essentially a form of insurance that may or may not come included in the rental price of a hired car. It exists to provide cover for damage that occurs to the rented vehicle itself. If you don't take out additional insurance, you are liable for the full value of the vehicle.

Car hire companies naturally sell this additional insurance and it can be expensive. My research in April 2010 found that in Ireland it can cost €14 per day and that can be as much as the daily can rental itself. For a two week hour this would be €196. By using the Internet you can now purchase this type of insurance for around €2.99 per day and buy an Annual policy for around €62.

If you rent a car several times a year the Annual policy is probably the best solution and some insurance companies offer "family" policies for around €99 per year. These types of products will normally cover theft, the tyres, windscreens and underbody of the vehicle if you happen to damage them plus if you lose the car keys and these can cost around €250 to replace..

The car rental agreement normally includes cover for Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft, however the renter is still liable for the Excess on CDW and Theft. When a rental car is damaged or stolen, the driver is asked to pay the first portion of the repair or replacement costs. This is known as the Car Hire Excess. If the car is damaged or stolen, the car rental company will charge the renter's credit card for the Excess amount and the renter then claim for reimbursement on the car hire excess insurance policy. If only this had been about in 2000.

Philip Suter is a Director of jml Property Services a UK based company advertising Insurance products on line at and a specialist car hire excess and van hire excess insurance advertising site

(April 2010 ©jmlpropertyservices - Philip Suter)

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. jml property Services 04-10


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