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Over 70s hiring cars abroad being exploited

Over 70s hiring cars abroad being exploited


In the financial pages of the newspaper Mail on Sunday (August 2015) there was a report about some hire car companies imposing a surcharge on drivers over the age of 70. This could result in your paying double the hire charge than your younger fellow motorists, according to correspondent Toby Walne.

Even when some over-70s have reserved their hire car in advance, they have been told at the rental company’s check-out desk that their age disqualifies them from driving. You might then be left stranded without any transport.

The same warning is given by Senior Living’s website, which goes into further details about the reasons for older drivers not only being made to pay a surcharge but even banned from hiring a car in the first place.

According to Senior Living, the explanation lies with policies exercised by the car rental company’s insurers. It is the insurance company which imposes an upper age limit of 70 – or in some cases 75. Claims from customers above that age restriction may have a knock-on effect on insurance premiums for all drivers. The rental company is therefore prevented with the choice either of imposing a surcharge on older drivers or banning them from hiring a car altogether.

Further exploitation

This is not the only scam or evidence of exploitation of companies providing cover for car hire customers. These are many and varied, but some idea of the scale of the problem may be given with reference to just one feature.

Probably the most notorious and widely reported is the very high excess imposed by the majority of such insurers. It may range from nearly £1,000 up to £1,500 or more.

In the face of such a liability, many customers are going to be attracted to excess insurance – and the rental company is only too pleased to provide it, in view of the handsome commissions they receive on the sale of additional insurance.

In order to avoid such a scam, the prudent car rental customer may choose car hire excess insurance provided by an entirely independent specialist – such as Bettersafe.

Standalone excess insurance protection

Arranging standalone excess cover from an independent specialist may prove a wise move simply because of the money you are likely to save. Hire car companies are renowned for charging a high daily rate for such protection, in some instances, doubling the cost of car rental.

On payment of a single premium, however, you may secure independently provided insurance at a more competitive price for cover that lasts for the duration of any hire period and for protection in any part of the world.

A further benefit of this kind of standalone insurance is that it is typically more comprehensive than any offered by a car rental company. The latter’s product, for instance, commonly excludes certain areas of damage to the vehicle, such as the underside, roof, windows, wheels and tyres – leaving you still with a hefty bill to settle if any of these happen to be damaged.