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Motorists risk steering into trouble if they cut corners on car rental, a new report warns.
Almost half (49%) of those questioned in consumer research for Post Office Travel Money failed to take out Excess Waiver Insurance (EWI) that reduces the excess payable for accidents or theft to zero.
Nearly three quarters of drivers (72%) did not take out insurance to cover tyre, undercarriage and window damage.
Yet, motorists who damage a rental car and do not have EWI or tyre, undercarriage and window insurance face a minimum of £292 in excess charges in Turkey to £1,270 in Switzerland.
The accidental damage excess payable is also high in popular destinations for driving holidays such as the South of France (£589), Portugal (£794) and Spain (up to £800).
In every country surveyed, the Post Office found the combined cost of EWI and tyre, undercarriage and window insurance to be a fraction of the excess charge payable in the event of damage.
Insurance costs £102 for a week in Switzerland – only eight per cent of the potential excess bill. In other countries the cost of reducing the excess charge to zero is between 10-17% of the excess payable.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “It is a false economy to cut costs by sticking to the basic hire cost. We advise motorists to protect themselves against costs that could run into hundreds of pounds if the car suffers damage or is stolen.
“Don’t leave it until you get to the rental desk in your holiday destination where you will be bombarded with questions and may sign on the dotted line without understanding what’s included and what’s not.
“Calculate all the costs by doing your homework in advance to find out the realistic price of car rental and holiday motoring and make sure you are fully covered.
“Carry enough foreign cash to cover the cost of car hire extras because many of them – including EWI, Sat Nav and additional driver charges – have to be paid when you pick the car up in your holiday destination.”
The Post Office annual car rental report covering 20 destinations found Copenhagen airport to be the cheapest for a week’s hire at £248 including Sat Nav, additional driver and a tank of fuel. Faro at £533 and Split in Croatia at £547 were the most expensive.