Having the use of a hire car if your own vehicle is off the road after an accident is an important feature of many car insurance policies. For most people, not having the use of a car is a real hassle. Getting to work, going shopping, taking the kids to school; we need a car for almost everything we do these days.
Does your policy provide you with a replacement car if your own car is off the road being repaired? Do you know if you get a replacement car under all circumstances or are there certain pre-requisites? How long do you have the car for? Most people probably couldn’t answer these questions so here’s an overview of the common terms associated with being provided with a car rental.
Firstly, if you only have third party cover you can pretty safely assume you won’t be provided with a replacement car. This is really just a feature of comprehensive and third party fire and theft car insurance.
Common conditions for having the use of a hire car after an accident:
· The insurer will cover the cost of the hire, but it may be in the form of a reimbursement. Be prepared to pay for the hire car yourself and then claim back the cost.
· There will be a maximum number of days for which the cost will be covered. 7 or 14 days are common.
· In some cases you may only be able to claim the cost of the hire car up to the point that your claim is paid.
· You will need to pick a hire car that is similar to your own car. Don’t expect to be driving around in a Ferrari while your Holden is off the road. (Good luck to anyone who has a Ferrari at the panel beaters).
· In some cases the insurer may have the right to query whether or not you need a replacement car. If you are single, live within walking distance of a supermarket and catch public transport to work they may decide that it isn’t necessary for your to hire another vehicle.
· Forget thinking about claiming fuel, road tolls or fines while you are driving the hire car.
· In addition to the maximum number of days you can have a hire car for, there may be a maximum dollar amount you can claim. Make sure the daily cost of the hire doesn’t mean you use up the dollar amount you can claim before the maximum number of days is reached.
· The insurer may provide you with a list of car rental operators that you must choose from.
· Be careful about the insurance cover you opt for with the hire car. Your insurer may pay for the cost of the car rental, but not the insurance you pay for the hire car.