The world of car hire can be befuddling for the traveller. With so many terms bandied about by car hire representatives you are often left feeling confused and bemused and in the main, unclear on what you are actually paying for. While the rep may have a clear idea of what they are talking about, it is often the customer who has lost the conversation long ago and ultimately is trying to hang on to any semblance of relevancy in the hiring process. For some help to travellers wishing to hire a car, here are a number of terms used in the industry.
Additional drivers are those added to the hire package when in the process of hiring your car. Understandably, if you are hiring the car for a long period of time and driving large distances it is advisable to share the driving with another member of the party. The car hire company should be notified of this person, adding them to the contract. While there will normally be an additional charge for adding other drivers, it will be ultimately worthwhile as sharing the workload can make the trip that much more enjoyable for everyone.
Airport surcharges are usually added when using car hire from a major airport. While the consumer may be at a loss to explain why a hire car should be any more expensive whether hiring from an airport or not is relatively simple. The hire company will normally have to pay the airport authorities a payment that secures their desk in the terminal. These fees are usually passed directly onto the customer, like it or not, you will probably have to pay more if hiring from an airport.
A collision damage waiver or CDW is a common insurance extra that applies to you if an accident should occur during your hire period. An excess will normally apply, and an added charge will almost certainly be applicable; however, the taking of this waiver can save a lot of expense should you encounter an accident. It should be remembered however that this is not strictly insurance and is only an added extra to your premium.
Personal accident insurance will provide both driver and passengers with protection and coverage from personal injury. This is especially useful when in a foreign country as medical bills for holidaymakers can be exorbitant. Companies will vary on prices for this kind of package so be sure to check over the small print carefully.
A theft protection package can help you should your hire car be broken into or stolen. While this is usually included as part of the hire package, it is worth checking the contract carefully, if it is not their as standard, it may well be worth taking it as an extra.
You may need to cancel your hire car if you have booked early and unforeseen circumstances have arisen. A waiver that ensures you are refunded if this is the case can be advisable rather than losing your entire hire fee.
If you are planning to use a hire car whilst abroad it is often needed to apply for an international driving permit. This does not mean it is valid as a licence however and should only be used as an additional element to your domestic license.
It is hoped this brief glossary has helped the consumer to gain a better understanding of the terminology used within the car hire industry. By decoding some of the phrases bandied around by reps it is possible to get a better deal and a further understanding of what you are paying for. For the traveller, this should be a vital and useful resource.
Industry expert Thomas Pretty looks terms and terminology used within the car hire industry.