Only you know the importance of your car in your everyday life. If you have more than one car, then it may not be a major inconvenience if your main car is out of commission for a few days or weeks. But if you are dependent on the car you drive daily, then you may find yourself in difficult times should you car need to go into a panel beater for accident damage repair. Car insurance companies understand the inconvenience of not having a car for a period of time and the high costs of hiring a car and therefore provide a car hire benefit with your insurance. This ensures that you have the car hire option at a very low monthly cost and can access a rental vehicle when you need it the most.
Benefits of Car Hire with Insurance
If you had a major road traffic accident with your vehicle or you have lost your vehicle in a theft or hijacking, then it can mean several weeks without your wheels. Panel beaters can take a really long time to fix accident damage and some panel beaters are less efficient than others. It easily rolls over into the weeks before you are back in the seat of your car. Similarly, car insurers can take weeks to pay out for a stolen or hijacked vehicle and then you still have to find and buy a new car. Sometimes weeks can turn into months.
Car hire cover with your car insurance can be a lifesaver at these times. It ensures that you can go over to a reputable vehicle rental company like Avis or Budget and hire a car for a specified period of time at your insurer’s expense. You can be back on the road within hours in a hired car and continue life as normal until your panel beater repairs your vehicle or the you buy a new car with your insurance payout. No need for car pool or public transport. No missing out on work or social events just because your damaged or lost your car.
Cost of Car Hire Cover
The car hire option is just that – it is optional. You do not have to take it with your car insurance cover and your insurer is not obliged to provide it unless you opted for it. But when you consider just how cheap car hire cover is as part of your car insurance policy, it often does not make sense not to take this optional extra. The rates may vary among car insurers but you can expect to pay as little as R30 per month for the optional car hire cover. In light of the hundreds, if not thousands, of rands that you pay in monthly car premiums, this car hire price is miniscule.
Now if you are trying to save a few bucks on your car insurance and would rather do without car hire cover, think of this – hiring a decent economy car from a reputable rental vehicle company in South Africa costs starts from about R300 per day. What if you are without wheels for a week or a month? Suddenly the small cost of car hire cover with your vehicle insurance seems like a pretty good idea. Even public transport on a daily basis will not cost you as little as R30 per month.
Deposit and Insurance on your Hired Car
It is always important of find out about the additional costs associated with hired car cover. Even though your insurer is covering you for the daily cost of hiring a car for a specified period of time, you are still liable for the deposit and insurance on the rental vehicle. This should not detract you from taking out car hire cover with your policy. The deposit can be as high but it is refundable once your return the rental vehicle in good condition to the car hire company. The insurance for the short period of vehicle rental is well worth it considering the inconvenience you may experience without a car.
Car hire companies have different level of insurance cover that you can take out on the rental vehicle and variations in the claim excess. Read the fine print carefully. It may be worthwhile to fork out a little more on the better cover than take the risk of having an accident with the rental car and paying a very high excess. Most insurers will only cover the hire of a basic economy car during this period but if you want something more then you will have to pay the difference. Remember that this will also change the insurance amount you will pay on the hired car.
Duration of Car Hire
Ensure that you clearly understand the period of time that your insurer will pay for the hired car. It can be as short as a week or as long as month and after that you are responsible for the daily rental costs. You may not necessarily have your car, either repaired or new, back in your hand by the time the rental period is over. However, this is not necessarily unfair to you as the policy holder. Imagine if car insurers had to pay for vehicle rental for the entire time that you panel beater took to repair your car. You should therefore make the most of the hired car while you have it but do not expect it to be a neverending benefit unless you are prepared to take over rental payments on your own at some point.