The concept of holiday car rental is simple. You pay the holiday car hire company a fee and off you go.

There are strict laws about who can drive on the open road. Similarly, there will also be terms and conditions attached to any contract you take out with the car hire company.

It’s no good crying foul after the event. You need to be across what you’ve agreed to before you drive away. Read on to find out how to mitigate the risks by preventing hire car damage and reducing your excess.

Before You Set Off

You can take a range of common-sense measures to lower the danger of damaging a vehicle you’re hiring. It all starts when you first get into your holiday hire car. Here’s a quick checklist to complete before you drive off:

  • Adjust the driver’s seat and all mirrors as necessary
  • Understand where the indicators, handbrake and headlight controls are
  • Work out where the reverse gear is and how it operates

Some accidents happen because drivers do not know their way around the vehicle and that impairs their reactions. They may, for example, need to reverse quickly but fail to do so. That can be because they’re not familiar enough with the reverse gear in a car they’re not used to. Check and check again before you set off.

Work Out Your Route

You should always be across road surfaces. Stick to main roads and avoid dirt tracks or roads that are under construction. Chips to paintwork and damage to the undercarriage can easily happen if you go off-road with small stones hitting the car at speed.

If you do find yourself having to drive along a gravelled driveway, take extra care and drive very slowly. Taking just a few extra seconds could greatly reduce the impact of any small stones on the car.

Be extra vigilant while driving over speed bumps. Take care crossing them to avoid bumper or undercarriage damage.

Drive cautiously paying particular attention not to follow other cars too closely. Avoid any distractions and figure out your route before you set off using GPS to guide you.

 Parking and Reversing in a Car Park

Take extra care if you’re visiting a supermarket or manoeuvring in a public car park. Check the area around the car before you get back into the vehicle and reverse out of a parking space. Again, those few seconds could save you a scrape from an unexpected post or bollard.

You might be a considerate driver, always careful to leave adequate space when you park for other drivers. There are lots of people out there who do not behave in the same way.

Choose your parking space with care. Try to avoid parking close to:

  • Locations where supermarket trollies get stored
  • Cars that have crept over the line into your parking space
  • Entrances or exits to car parks
  • “Family” designated parking bays

Have a Parking Strategy

“End-of-row” parking bays are often a good option as you will only ever have one car beside you. By choosing to park here, you will have already reduced the chances of a dent or scratch to the sides of your car by 50 per cent.

Try not to park next to older vehicles that look uncared for. If they already have dents, it’s doubtful whether their owner cares if they get a few more. The owners of these types of vehicles may not be as mindful as you would be when opening their car door, for example.

Plan the following:

  • Park next to cars that are smaller than yours to give you more space
  • Avoid tight spaces and look for the emptiest areas of the car park

Avoid Driving in Bad Weather Conditions

If part of your holiday is taking a scenic drive along the Sunshine Coast, when preventing hire car damage, it is important to watch the weather. The Sunshine Coast has more than its share of hail storms. Just a few years ago Brisbane got showered by one of its worst hail storms in living memory. It left destruction in its wake and a bill for damage estimated at more than $1.3 billion. Many cars took a hit from the hail with dents to bonnets and roofs.

Bad weather conditions will increase the chances of you having an accident. If the forecast is especially grim, wait until the weather clears. Remember that debris on the road can get whipped up by a storm and give your holiday hire car a nasty and unwanted scratch or dent.

Hire Car Insurance Explained

Ignorance is no defence when it comes to who pays up for damage to a hire car. Your basic rental price will include sufficient insurance to legally let the named driver or agreed extra drivers take to the open road.

However, there will be a standard excess to pay in the case of any damage to the vehicle. You can choose to reduce this excess with different insurance products.

Part of the reason for the choice of how much you might want to reduce the excess is that some people are less risk-averse than others. Many drivers, however, want peace of mind and choose to take our extra Platinum insurance to reduce whatever excess may be due when there’s damage or theft.

Reducing Your Excess

Excesses tend to range from a reduced rate of a few hundred dollars to several thousand. The choice is yours. The higher the excess, the higher the bond tends to be. And, in effect, the overall car rental will appear cheaper because the risk to you is greater.

Our excess options for cars offer the following:

  • $300 (Platinum)
  • $750 (Stress-free)
  • or $3000 (Standard risk taker)

Our advice would always be to consider these options carefully because it’s not possible to change your mind during the contract period.

Get Booking Your Holiday Hire Car Today!

You can play a big part in preventing hire car damage by driving and parking sensibly. Understanding how hire car insurance works, particularly in terms of excess, will also help. Spend a little time deciding what level of cover is going to suit you best.

We are the holiday car rental experts for Brisbane and the surrounding areas. You can obtain a quote or book a vehicle through our user friendly website or give us a call. We will beat any written quote!