If you’re involved in an accident and are not the driver at fault, ‘accident car hire’ companies may offer you a replacement vehicle for free. A few examples of these service providers are Right2Drive, Not My Fault, I’m In The Right and Carbiz.
The accident hire car companies seek to pursue the cost of their hire cars with the at fault driver, which may involve legal action. Cat Newtown from Consumer Action Law Centre had this to say:
“Litigation always involves risks and consequences,” says Cat Newtown of the Consumer Action Law Centre in Melbourne. “So any decision to commence litigation should be made after careful consideration and independent legal advice – and not by a hire car company.”
In addition, should the legal action fail, you may be responsible for covering the costs. In one case study, a customer of an accident car hire service was held liable for $20,000.
In addition, car insurance holders may already have existing cover for a hire car in the event of an accident.
Your article on right 2 Drive claimed they were not upfront with their customers based on an ex employees experience. I can only talk about my own experience which was very positive. I have no affiliation with Right2Drive.
After my accident they offered a hire car at no cost to me. This seemed too good to be true so I asked how they could do it. They clearly explained that they would approach the at fault insurer to cover the cost. I had to be prepared to go to court if they refused but this was very unlikely as there is precedent where the at fault party are responsible for providing a hire car.
As expected the at fault party insurer fully covered the cost. If it wasn’t for Right2Drive I never would have known this and forked out the money myself for a hire car as I hadn’t ticked the hire car option.
Since then we have had 2 more not at fault accidents. Rather than using Right2Drive I simply asked the insurer of the at fault party to provide a hire car and they obliged immediately. However this is never offered unless you pay the hire car option which is not necessary if you are not at fault.
Three not at fault accidents. Lucky the other drivers were insured. Right2Drive excludes cover when,
What if the at fault driver doesn’t have an insurance policy? Unfortunately, if you’re aware the at fault driver does not have insurance, in this instance, we won’t be able to help you with an accident replacement vehicle. Please get in touch with your own insurer for assistance .
Given the experience of getting a replacement vehicle twice without using Right2Drive, are they really offering anything more than what one is able to claim anyway?
Take care when making this presumption. If you need a hire car in the event you are in an accident, you should pay for that option. Why? Well even if you are ‘not at fault’:
The person at fault may be uninsured
The person at fault may be in breach of their insurance policy at the time of the accident (for example, lapsed due to non-payment, or driving in breach of their license conditions). In this case their insurer is not liable.
The person at fault may not have been driving (such as a bicycle runs a red light causing you to swerve into a pole).
Their insurer disputes your insurer’s claim they are at fault, and refuses to pay.
The accident doesn’t meet an insurance definition of ‘not at fault.’ (You didn’t cause your car to be damaged in a storm, but this is NOT an insurance ‘not at fault’ incident)
In any of those instances, if you wanted your hire car costs covered you would have to take the other person to court and win (and this would take a long time). If you can’t live without your car, I strongly recommend you consider selecting a hire car after accident option.
Lastly, you can never be sure it wont be you who is at fault! No one goes out thinking ‘today I will have an accident.’ It just happens.
You are quite right. You don’t need Right2Drive other than maybe the convenience of having the car dropped off and picked up.
The only reason why these companies thrive is because the insurance companies are not upfront about the fact that there is court precedence that states that the at fault party’s insurance should pay for a hire car.
Call the at fault party’s insurance directly, ask for a hire car and they will oblige. You don’t need the hire car option on your policy.
If you have paid extra for a hire car in the event of an accident check it covers you when you are at fault. Otherwise there is no point.
I agree that you may choose to pay extra for a hire car so you are covering all situations. However it is important to read the fine print.
A friend of mine hit a Kangaroo on a country road and wrote the car off. She had paid extra for the hire car option but they did not honour it because it only covered you if you were not at fault! Kangaroo came out of no where yet they still considered it her fault. No doubt because the Kangaroo did not have an insurer that could pay the bill!
It appears that the option of a car hire in these circumstances is if there is no question of who is at fault and 100% of the outcome is the other party’s (extremely rare occurrence), then the at fault driver’s insurance is required to pay (if the insurance is in place to cover property damage). Almost every accident that I have had the displeasure of being in (passenger or driver), has apportioned blame (i.e. not a 100% either way but rather a split apportionment). This apportionment may mean that at the conclusion of the hire period there is some cost to the driver of the hired car.
If the Insurance has the hire car option added this often means that the hired car is “free” of additional costs after the hire ceases (beyond fuel and damage caused by the hirer). Our policy provides a hire car (a small surety is taken at the beginning and refunded on a return of a full fuel tank and no damage), this car is covered by our insurer while being driven by us for the same coverage as our damaged vehicle. Sometimes the other vehicle was only insured for compulsory third party damage and included no property damage coverage, in these cases what would be the hope of getting a hire car at the other driver’s expense? It would seem little to no hope in the time it would take to repair our own vehicle. Sure a case could be mounted later for reimbursement, but out of pocket until settled or the other declares bankruptcy or has no ability to pay.
If someone has a policy that includes a hire car coverage, then I agree the details are important to ensure that coverage is for things like single vehicle accidents and animal collisions. If the policy doesn’t include these at fault situations, then the money would seem to be wasted unless an insured party was certain they would never ever have an accident where blame could be apportioned to them or was a single vehicle accident.
I am glad that your experience has been a good one, sadly not everyone enjoys a similar outcome. I am not saying others can’t enjoy the same type of benefit, risk still needs to be considered as to what having no coverage through insurance of the affected driver may mean.