Australian Car Rental Trap:

About Us

The Car Rental Trap is a site dedicated to sharing articles that highlight the hidden traps and pitfalls associated to renting a car in Australia. I should disclose that we do have a vested interest in these traps being exposed as we also have a solution to the excess insurance trap, called Tripcover, a stand-alone, low cost insurance option to your car rental excess exposure.


Latest Articles

New App Beats Car Rental Trap

  • 19 Jan 2013
  • eGlobal Travel Media Australia

There’s a new app that allows you to beat the car rental giants’ (such as Avis, Hertz, Europcar, etc), expensive car hire insurance trap. Now users of iPhone and Android smart phones can save over 60% in just three taps after you download the App.
You know the drill, you are at the car rental desk and surprise, surprise,....more on car rental excess insurance.

Car Rental Companies - Clause for Concern
CHOICE tells you which car rental companies to avoid:

One of the costliest “optional” extras is excess reduction, and often contracts dealing with the details of what is covered are unclear. Several rental companies including Avis, Budget and Europcar allow customers booking online to select and pay for excess reduction without informing them of important details – like the amount customers are liable for in the event of an accident - until they pick up the vehicle. Some companies charge over $40 per day to reduce liability to a few hundred dollars....more on car rental excess insurance.

Discovery - 21 Car HIre Pitfalls, eBook

At Discovery Car Hire we value giving you all the information relating to your rental. A pitfall is a trap or danger for the unwary and therefore we have endeavored to alleviate any uncertainty in our free eBook, 21 Car Hire Pitfalls....more on 21 car hire pitfalls.

ACCC - Hiring a Motor Vehicle

  • Shop around and get quotes from a number of companies before you travel. 
    • Check websites that compare offers from a number of car rental providers.
  • Ask about all of the fees and charges that apply when you are organising quotes and before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the hire contract in advance and check it carefully.
    • Watch out for terms and exclusions or extra costs. 
  • Check any restrictions on distances travelled. 
    • Some companies include a limited number of kilometres as part of the advertised hire rate. 
  • Check the price charged for booking in advance against the price to hire if you simply turn up at a rental outlet....more on hiring a motor vehicle

Office of Fair Trading Qld - Rental Cars
When you are considering a rental agreement for a vehicle, you should carefully read the entire contract so that you understand your rights and obligations. Remember to shop around for the best deal for your own personal circumstances.

  • Before hiring and picking up a vehicle:

    • inspect the vehicle for existing damage
    • ask specifically about third party insurance and do not hire a car without this insurance
    • check your rights and responsibilities in the event of a single vehicle accident
    • check for clauses which would leave you fully liable for any damage

Not Good Enough - On Rental Cars
I recently rented a car at Sydney Airport to go to Newcastle for the afternoon. I opted to use this rental company out of all the other companies as they gave me an upgrade of a larger car for the trip for an extra $20 dollarss.................more.

Tripadvisor - Tips on Rental Vehicles in Australia
For cars, based on posts on TA, many people have asked about excess which can be quite high, say up to about $3,000 for a car.   Basically, this means if the excess is $3,000 for example you will be required to pay for the first $3,000 damage.   If the cost of the repair is less than $3,000, you pay for the cost of the repair.   To reduce your excess to a more acceptable level, you can pay an additional daily amount (in other words another insurance premium) which could result in your excess being reduced to say $200................more.



Q1. Why do the car rental companies call their excess cover, Collision Damage Waiver or CDW?

A: CDW meets the basic definition of insurance, since it transfers some risk from the car renter to the rental company. However rental companies do not call it insurance, since it is a waiver between the renter and the company that the company waives their right to charge the renter for valid damages to the vehicle. Rental companies are not licensed or regulated as insurers. There are also no claims made. Rental companies treat CDW as a waiver of their right to make the renter pay for damage to the car (Source Wikipedia CDW.)

Q2. Why don't the car rental companies offer their customers the option to buy low cost car rental excess insurance?
A: The car rental companies charge between $22 to $33 to reduce customer's excess exposure and make good prophets from this extra charge. As no car rental company in Australia has broken ranks and offered a low cost option, there is no pressure for them to do so.

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