Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.
More bad press for Record car hire in Malaga this weekend as their hard sell of their own car hire insurance caused problems for one Telegraph reader. Mr Lambert from Halifax booked the car for a week through Holiday Autos and also, sensibly bought car hire excess insurance from Insurance4carhire. However when collecting the car, the representative at the Record desk in Malaga refused to release the car until Mr Lambert, under duress, purchased their "Comfort Plus” insurance for €53.
On returning to the UK, Mr Lambert took up the issue of the insurance with Holiday Autos. Holiday Autos in turn, contacted Record, who then said that the insurance was necessary because the customer had not been in possession of the credit card of the lead driver. This was untrue, the next excuse was that Mr Lambert had not shown any evidence that he had his own insurance. Mr Lambert responded that he had not been asked for proof. At this point, Holiday Autos sent Mr Lambert a credit voucher for £15 and he passed the case on to the Telegraph's consumer experts.
With the Telegraph's Gill Charlton on the case, Holiday Autos promptly reimbursed Mr Lambert for the Comfort Plus insurance. Holiday Autos said that Record refuse to look into the circumstances of specific cases and simply send standard catch all responses to questions. However they are in talks with suppliers who engage in these practices to try to reach an acceptable solution.
According to their own terms and conditions of hire, Record's Comfort Plus Insurance is mandatory for customers aged 70 or over but NOT for all customers. Any customer who does not purchase their Comfort Plus Insurance will have a deposit of between €400 and €600 authorised on their credit card – the money will only be taken if damage occurs.
There is one point in favour of the Comfort Plus Insurance which should not be completely overlooked, and is often used as an additional sales feature by Record. Very unusually, their Comfort Plus Insurance provides cover for damage to clutch. Clutch damage is not normally offered on any waiver or insurance product since bad driving can completely destroy a clutch in a very few miles. However, you should not be held responsible for a clutch failing through normal wear and tear, you have after all paid to hire a fully working car. If you have any doubts about the clutch when collecting a car, we would always recommend rejecting the car or at least getting the fact noted in writing by the rental company.
If you have already booked your car hire with Record and are worried that they will refuse to accept your car hire excess insurance you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask the question. If they respond saying they will accept your insurance print it out and take it with you. If they don't respond, you may be feel more comfortable cancelling your hire (by email, free as long as you cancel 24 hours before your pick up date) and finding a different supplier on the MoneyMaxim car hire comparison service.