Europcar reveals car hirers under estimating risks of damage
Europcar has revealed that many car hirers are underestimating the risks of damage to their hire vehicles and ignoring insurance options.
Europcar, the leader in car hire services in Europe, has recently analysed UK consumer attitudes towards car hire insurance, revealing what it believes are some worrying patterns in behaviour that see drivers facing high costs they could easily avoid.
Analysis from Europcar has revealed that nearly 90% of its UK fleet suffered some form of damage - from major bodywork damage to flat tyres and windscreen chips and cracks - during 2010. Yet only just over 30% of customers opted for Risk Reduction Cover in order to ensure they didn’t face any additional costs at the end of the rental. It appears that consumers think that car hire insurance is an unnecessary cost, without realising the financial implications if their hire car suffers damage during their rental.
Anecdotal feedback from consumers who have used car hire in the last year reveal that buying additional car hire insurance was considered most important if driving in an unfamiliar country but consumers didn’t believe it was important if driving in the UK.
Ken McCall, Managing Director at Europcar, believes this betrays a considerable lack of understanding about the financial risks if a hire car is damaged or involved in an accident: "If a motorist is driving their own car and has a windscreen chip or a small dink or dent in the car’s bodywork, they can choose to ignore it. Car hire companies simply cannot do that. The next customer will expect a pristine car, so we must ensure damage is repaired as quickly as possible and that means we must recover the cost. That’s why it makes so much sense for consumers to take out insurance for damage they may incur, including cover to reduce the excess to zero.
“We know that car hire insurance is an area that customers are often unsure about. That’s why we are leading the market in providing customers with all the options available to them when booking online or through our call centre. That includes the availability of Risk Reduction Cover, to reduce the cost of the excess to zero, so that whatever happens to the vehicle, the customer will not face any additional costs.”
For customers renting in the UK they can reduce their excess to zero for as little as £9 per day for a hire of 7 days or more. This means that if they have an accident or incur any damage, Europcar will not pass on any charges to them. Alternatively, drivers can simply cover the cost of the excess for damage to high wear and tear items, such as windscreens and tyres, with Europcar Value Cover.
For UK customers renting cars overseas, Risk Reduction Cover is available to purchase upfront, reducing the cost of the excess to zero, along with all the other options for car hire such as SatNav and child seats. This is offered at the point of making a reservation online for all the countries in Europcar operates and is also offered by the company’s call centre.
“Our aim at Europcar is to take away any uncertainty about the charges a car hire customer may face by providing clear, easy to understand options,” concluded Ken McCall.
Europcar is the leader in car hire services in Europe. Present in 150 countries, the company provides customers with access to the world’s largest vehicle hire network through franchise operations and partnerships. Through Europcar’s portfolio of brands, the company and its franchisees generated more than €3 billion in revenue in 2010, including nearly €2 billion in consolidated revenue. Winner of the first World Travel Award recognising the World’s Leading Green Transport Solutions Company, Europcar also was honoured with the Award in 2010, the second time it was presented. Europcar is owned by French investment company, Eurazeo.
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