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Irish Car Rental Companies make customers buy their car hire insurance by financial constraints... By Philip Suter

Irish car rental companies are making it very difficult for customers to use independently purchased car hire excess insurance by insisting they pay a large deposit at the time of hire. Unless you are carrying a credit card with a high credit amount that can cover an instant deduction of €1,300 or more you have to buy their very expensive product.

If you are renting a car in Ireland apart from paying for the car rental in advance on line, you will more than likely have to pay the car rental company a lot of money as "a deposit" if you have purchased your car hire excess insurance separately and not from the car hire company.

When you rent a car the renter is normally liable for the "excess". The excess is a set amount that the hirer must pay towards the cost of any insurance claim. It can be set very high, ranging from around €600 to €1,700. This is normally not covered in the price of car rental, so the renter will have to purchase "car hire excess insurance" in case there is a claim and it solves this problem.

As car hire companies have traditionally charged a lot of money a day, around €15.08 in Ireland for example, independent insurance companies have been selling the same product for a lot less. There are currently eight companies advertising their products at which is a specialist car hire insurance marketing and information site.

Buying one of these daily policies from the independent company for use in Ireland will cost €3.53 per day whereas the Irish car rental company will charge the renter around €15.08 per day. There are independents who charge more and others who charge less and it is advisable to see exactly what is covered for your money. Are the windows, tyres, wheels, underbody covered? Are car key losses covered?

If people are going to rent a car at least twice a year, it normally makes sense to take out an annual policy. Most of these insurance companies offer these for Europe (approx €50 a year) or Worldwide (approx €70 a year) and even older renters (75 to 85 age range for €85 to €97 a year) can obtain cover.

In some countries if you do not buy the car hire company's preferred insurance and use your own they will swipe your credit card and you agree to have around €400 debited in the event of an accident. Car insurance in Ireland is very expensive for the average motorist and so this is very much reflected in the car hire market.

At the end of January 2011 a visitor to Dublin arrived at Dublin Airport searching for a car to hire for four days.

As it is a quiet time of the year and late in the afternoon companies were anxious to rent out their vehicles. This person was able to arrange a rental for €100. This also included the "airport car collection fee" that Irish car rental companies try to add on (even if you collect the car in a location in a city or town nearby it can cost an additional €28), but the surprise came with the excess insurance.

He had his own annual excess policy that had cost under €50, however if he wanted to use this cover he would have to have had €1,300 debited to his credit card. This amount would have been taken out of his account immediately. As he had other transactions on the card and not a very high credit limit this was going to rather tricky, so in the end had to purchase the car hire company's over inflated priced insurance which for the 4 days worked out at €60 (that is €10 more than he had paid for 365 days cover via the independent insurance company).

Enquiring as to find out how do other people get round this problem if they don't have a very high credit limit, he was told they have a separate credit card. This is OK in the UK where you can apply for lots of cards still, provided the companies will issue with one, however in Ireland, the Irish Government imposes annual "stamp duty" of €30 for each card.

This is very off-putting for visitors to Ireland who will normally have to pay for accommodation and other costs by credit card and are therefore pressurised into buying the car rental company's expensive insurance.

Imagine if you rented a car for the two week family holiday, you would end up paying around €210 in car hire excess insurance, whereas you could have bought a policy for a year for a third of that amount. Wherever possible make sure you have sufficient credit on your card if you are hiring a car in Ireland, or bring an additional card with you. It can save you a lot of money if you buy an annual policy.

(February 2011 ©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 02-11

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Car hire insurance for Irish residents

See also:

How car rental firms gouge customers for minor damages - January 2019

Car hire rental desk very busy in Dublin, Ireland yesterday - August 2016

No Number 13 in Irish Vehicle Registration Next Year - December 2012

Car Hire Dublin. It is a shame that you cannot always collect the car from the airport itself - October 2012

Car hire – it's too cheap - Car hire companies are undercharging – but then making their profits by forcing renters to buy insurance policies - June 2012

Watchdog: Mis-selling car hire cover at Knock Airport, Ireland - February 2012 and more on this at the Car hire excess insurance blogspot Looks like Irish car rental companies are still mis-selling car hire excess insurance

Following on from the iCahireinsurance article "Dubious Dublin airport car rental staff - November 2011" we have added a summary and extracts and comments on the "Car Hire Excess Blog" and invited readers to comment and add their experiences of problems renting a car in Ireland - Visit the blog article "Focus on Dublin Car Hire Rental Staff - November 2011" Here

Car hire company in Ireland charges for unwanted excess insurance - July 2011

Flying to Ireland and hiring a car can prove cheaper than taking your own car - March 2011

Irish Car Rental Companies make customers buy their car hire insurance by financial constraints - February 2011

Irish Tourism in 2011 - January 2011

How Irish car hire companies are not improving Irish Tourism Article - October 2010

Irish car rental consumer's problem hiring a car in France - December 2009

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