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  • December 9th, 2015

Car rental company insurance is a rip off. Its cost is wildly disproportionate to the risk.

Divide the premium you pay for your normal insurance (usually for the car’s full value less a small excess, and third party liability) by 365 to get a daily rate. $3-4 per day would be typical.

Then compare that with the daily rate for the extra charge rental companies make to cover only the  “excess” on your rental.

I’ve just booked a car for three days with Thrifty. The contract came thru The Thrifty contract has an excess of $3000 + GST. If the car is returned damaged I’m liable for up to that amount before the rental insurance cuts in.

Thrifty offered to cover that excess as an extra for over $30 per day. Ten times the daily cost of my current insurance to cover a maximum risk amount of less than a quarter of the value covered by my usual policy. In other words the “extra” cover is up to 40 times more expensive than the policy covering my personal car.

But now I’m being pestered by phone and email to buy extra cover from They are offering me a real deal – 3 days cover for only $60. That works out at only twenty times the cost of my personal policy per day.

Ah, but sir, that “$60 is a one off payment, not a daily rate”.

And it “also covers glass, mirrors, tyres, wheels, the roof, the undercarriage and breakdown charges and the vat (presumably they mean GST)”. Should I be suspicious that they do not mention the paint?

And even better “this price is discounted from the original online price of $101.98”.

Sadly – Thrifty has bought Apex, from which I previously got personal service.

But I’m hoping in future to avoid using “The World’s Number 1 Online Car Rental Service” – I want to find a company that does not insult me and waste my time with offers that insult intelligence, and batten on the failure of most people to do risk/return calculations.

Thrifty might continue as it always has, but by avoiding at least I should avoid the hard sell insurance sales follow-up.

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  • David
  • December 10th, 2015
  • 12:10 pm

Some years ago when I was renting cars frequently, I took out a stand alone car insurance policy that covered me whatever I was driving, including cars of friends and relations who had 3rd party or owner only cover. It covered me for a year for about the cost of one hire. But the agent made an interesting point, he said the highest risk was the first day in an unfamiliar car.

  • Tim
  • December 11th, 2015
  • 8:23 am

Overseas I’ve used several times, not least because they also offer much cheaper insurance. They seem to work in NZ too…

  • Marc Williams
  • December 15th, 2015
  • 7:29 pm

I will gladly change my regular car insurer when one offers a rental car ‘extension’ for a reasonable cost. A bit like the glass or roadside rescue extensions. Until then, I avoid using rental cars in NZ because of these extortionate premiums. It sounds a bit like the guarantee extensions you are offered in stores – all profit and often with many hidden exclusions.

Did you know you are liable for hailstone damage if the hire car you are driving only has regular the CWD cover? This can easily add $3000 or more to your credit card bill without recourse.

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