We like to try the different campervans as we want to buy one sometime soon, so we recently relocated a campervan from Auckland to Christchurch. A 4 day hire at $5 a day, with free ferry and free diesel.
Had a good trip, dropped it off in Christchurch, and on the spur of the moment, we decided to hire a different camper to drive back.
The base price of $70 per day looked good for a nice 3 year old Mercedes LWB high top (van body) camper.
But I was not quite as prepared as I should have been, and we were in a hurry to get going.
· First shock; an extra $5.70 per 100 km for the diesel tax.
· Next trick; “take our pre charge for fuel option and you can return it empty for $84” – so convenient. But I found out later the van only took $70 worth of fuel –you lose, they win.
· Another little price gouger; they charge you for the day you drop it off – you get 6 days and maybe a few hours but you pay for 7 days.
And they charge a $75 admin fee if you get a speeding ticket.
The Insurance Shocker
A $5,000 excess.
Or for $28 per day reduces it to $2,500.
Or for $44 per day to nil.
But then for another $4 per day they will cover windscreen and tyres.
Add another $5 per day, to cover call out breakdown, lost keys etc.
For $20 they will hire you a folding chairs that cost $7 at Bunnings.
Or take the VIP pack which includes all the above for $65 per day x 7 days = another $455.
But wait there’s more
There is no cover for rollover single vehicle accidents as that is considered to be negligent!!!!
Now I know some companies do, but this big name company didn’t.
And no cover for overhead and underbody damage to the vehicle.
Imagine the cost if you smash the big over cab roof by forgetting it is there, and hitting a tree or low bridge or shop overhang.
It could easily cost you $10,000 to $50,000 or more if you it wrong.
Clever but Cynical
The TV doesn’t work – “oh, it hasn’t since freeview came out, but you can play videos in it”.
Last but not least the poor tourists arriving from overseas, no doubt jet lagged, often wait for an hour or more to check in. Imagine being hit with this when you are tired, there is a language barrier, and you just want to get going.
I guess they just say yes, yes, yes and pay, pay, pay. Yes, I overheard an Aussie couple complaining bitterly about all this.
What an awful way to treat our overseas tourists who are so valuable to NZ.
No left hand side of the road warnings
I saw absolutely no effort to warn or help people used to driving on the right hand side of the road.
Very few staff speak other languages (I asked). Only a video showing how to clean the camper toilet in English.
The Insurance Solution for Kiwis
If you are hiring in NZ or Australia or elsewhere, take travel insurance as most include a rental vehicle excess of $5,000, only cost around $10 per day, and they cover other things as well.
It only takes 10 minutes on line, and you might get a discount if you use your medical insurer.
Or got to a specialist website like www.rentalcover.com or www.vroomvroomvroom.co.nz
$10 per day beats $44 per day anytime!!
Your credit card
Check the free travel insurance fine print, mine does not cover me in NZ. It does overseas but only if I buy $500+ of travel expenses on the card, buy a return ticket before I go, and return within 35 days.
Did we have fun?
Sure did – NZ scenery, the Classic Wings airshow, talked to lots of people, hot pools at Hanmer, cooked free roadside apples, an 8 year old telling delightful crayfishing stories, swam in Lake Taupo, visited friends along the way, and much more.
But don’t take the big risk of losing $50,000 or more if you are unlucky enough to have an accident. Choose the rental company carefully and only use them if they have single vehicle rollover cover.
And do they cover overhead and underbody damage?
Then cover the $5,000 excess with travel insurance beforehand, and then enjoy saying no, no, no to the rental rogues and their expensive add ons.
Supplied by Alan Clarke, financial & retirement adviser, & author. He also writes regular articles for the media and on line.
His second book “The Great NZ Work, Money & Retirement Puzzle” is now available.
You can buy it on line at www.acfs.co.nz