Anyone with a holiday planned over the next couple of months must be worried at the news that another Icelandic volcano has started to disrupt travel across Europe. The 2010 eruption was said to be a “once in a hundred year” event yet a little over 12 months down the line we’re having another one!
Have you flown into or out of Barcelona's large airport? If you have, you've probably been fortunate to fly out of the new Terminal 1 building, which dwarfs the old airport tri-terminal set up. Well, I was recently there and as I looked across the tarmac from the new to old, I could not help looking at the multitude of Ryanair planes on the ground. This is Barcelona!!! Spanair, Vueling, where are you hiding! They had taken over practically the old airport. Navy-blue and yellow tail fins of a Ryanair plane (locally pronounced "Ria-ner") too many! They roam like passenger buses through the vast number of runways at the new airport.
On the 11th February, “Which?” the consumer magazine launched a super complaint into the practise of levying surcharges on transactions using debit or credit cards to complete a purchase. The basis of Which’s complaint is that this practise “results in distortionary effects on competition, primarily through reducing the clarity of advertised prices…”
Rental companies pepper their agreements with many hidden charges which could end up doubling or tripling the cost of the actual hire car itself. We all know why you are here and this is great news, you have found a great website to start saving you money on your next hire car. This time around, I don't really want to tell you about car hire excess insurance, but something more to do with car rental gadgets - the Satellite Navigation System, or better known to us as the "satnav".
In the majority of European rental car fleets, the satnav remains a luxury and depending on where you have just hired your vehicle from, it will most likely be extra if you decide to hire a vehicle fitted with one. The trick is, can you get one in time before the rental desk at your pick-up location runs out of stock?
There is an emerging trend in the car insurance industry. One that is making me feel very excited about the future of motor insurance and one that is catching like wild fire since the ECJ ruling on gender-based pricing. Over the past couple of years, I have been following a technology referred to as 'Telematics' with interest. It is the technology behind all of the 'pay as you drive' insurance products cropping up in the market targeting young drivers and those of us who travel low annual mileage. The "Black box" is here and I had the opportunity to share my thoughts with one of the insurance industry's leading publications, Insurance Times.
Don't think this excludes the car rental industry. It already applies in the management of small and large fleets of vehicles and their drivers, but telematics is destined to play a bigger role in the car hire products we access.
An article in the Irish Times caught my eye earlier this month, as figures for the Irish car industry and new car sales have reportedly increased by nearly 5% on the previous year. What’s more, these numbers have been buoyed by large sales to the Irish rental market with sales to Irish rental fleets accounting for nearly 17% of all new car sales in February alone.
This is good news for tourists to the Emerald Isle, at exactly the same time last year the same paper was reporting a drastic shortage in the rental fleet and expressed grave concerns that this would lead to drastic car hire price increases as demand outstripped supply. In fact, a reported halving of the supply of hire cars in the Irish rental fleet between 2006 to 2009 was estimated by the Department for Arts, Sport and Tourism to cost the Irish economy over €1billion.
Just recently, we found out Whipcar, UK’s first peer-to-peer car sharing club was listed as a Community Car Club by CarPlus.org.uk. That probably means it passed a checklist of requirements, but with this piece of news, we can certainly offer users of Whipcar our annual Car Club Excess Insurance products.
Is there an excess on Whipcar vehicles (even though they are someone else’s)? The answer is yes. Drivers are liable to pay a £500 car hire insurance excess if damage occurs during any Whipcar booking. Whipcar offers Drivers the option to purchase a Damage Excess Waiver (DEW) for every hire. The excess waiver insurance costs £5 per day and reduces the Driver's financial liability from £500 to £250 in the unfortunate circumstance that a Whipcar Owner's car is damaged during hire. If you get into the habit of using this, would not you prefer an annual car hire insurance policy for £39.99 from iCarhireinsurance.com?
iCarhireinsurance.com is 12 months old this month, having sold our first hire car insurance policy in March 2010. We’ve had a great first year in business and in what feels like a very short 12 months having helped thousands of customers buy low cost car hire insurance for rentals across the world. Within our first few months of business we also created a brand new policy for members of car sharing clubs, such as Zipcar, City Car Club and Street car. Our car club excess insurance can now bought on its own for £39.99 a year, or can be combined with a car hire policy for just £19.99. We are still the only company in the UK to offer this policy. In July of 2010 we also launched two great value Van Hire Excess Insurance policies.
This past February, I took the kids skiing for a break over the half-term holiday. Months of planning in advance, I trawled the internet for advice on the best resorts across Europe, best skiing deals and best overall place for my family to get to grips with the winter sport. Proximity to a good airport was key, so Geneva was an obvious choice after we selected our Ski Resort.
In regard to car rental, I booked it with Hertz this time around to try their service as I am usually hiring from different car rental companies to stay in touch with the industry products and services.
The Office of Fair Trading published the results of its investigation into consumer contracts last week and the car rental industry came off pretty well with the OFT concluding it is an industry which generally services its customers well. The contracts that rental companies impose are generally held to be fair yet there are situations involved in the booking and collection process where circumstances lead to reduced customer understanding. We detail some of the key findings of the investigation below and believe that there are a number of key things that customers can do to avoid the pitfalls that the OFT highlighted in its case study.
All prices within this section were correct at time of publication.