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Unravelling The Terms Of The Car Hire Industry

Jul 2, 2008
The hire of a car can be a confusing experience at times; while you may think you know all there is to know about cars understanding the terminology used in the car hire industry is not always the easiest of tasks. Here are some of the key terms that will help you to understand what you are paying for at the car hire desk.

Additional drivers are a major part of your car hire package. If you are heading out on a long journey it is strongly advisable to share the driving between the members of your party. You must however, for insurance reasons notify the company of any persons that may be driving the car other than yourself, by adding them to the contract you ensure you are covered should anyone other than yourself damage the car.

Airport surcharges are added charges that usually occur if you hire your car from an airport terminal. Why you may not want to pay such a premium it is not necessarily down to the greed of the company that this charge is applied. It is often the case that the airports themselves charge large fees for car hire companies to have a desk in the terminal, meaning that for the companies to make a profit the charges are normally passed onto customers.

CDW or collision damage waiver is an essential part of the rental contract that provides you with added protection in the event of a crash or accident. This form of service predominantly comes at an additional charge but can save you a fortune if you do happen to crash. It is not an all encompassing insurance policy though; this will be needed in addition to regular insurance.

Personal accident insurance gives the driver and passengers cover should they become injured while journeying in their hire car. Most policies cover injury and death and are most extensively used abroad where medical charges may be extortionate. In addition to this, theft protection is an added extra that can be extremely useful if travelling in urban areas. Not only does it protect the car itself from theft but also many of your possession contained therein.

The cancellation protection is an added extra that can come in handy especially if you are booking your car far in advance. As nobody can be sure of the future, having protection that will allow you to cancel the rental period without an added penalty is a must. Unfortunately if you do not have this and attempt to cancel in short notice, you will almost certainly be charged.

There are all manner of insurance excesses that will apply to your hire contract. If the car is damaged or you have an accident it is likely that although you will not have to pay the full cost of the damage, you will at least have to contribute. Excesses are normally a reasonable sum but be sure to closely check the small print of the contract to ensure you do not get caught out should the worst happen.

Another term not to get caught out by is 'out of hours', this is much as it sounds and refers to the opening hours of the car hire depot. However many companies will often charge an extra day's hire if you return the car after hours. This is why it is important to predefine the hours of operation and whether you will be liable for any penalties should you return the car late.

After you understand your hire contract and the rental process in detail, you have the knowledge to extract the best deal. By knowing exactly what you are paying for it is possible to get a brilliant price whilst not compromising on services.
About the Author
Industry expert Thomas Pretty looks into the terms used in the car hire business.
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