For many people, organising a car hire can come with that feeling in the back of your mind that makes you think ‘what if?’
What if we break down? What if the car gets stolen? What do we do if we damage it?
Along with this article and the FAQ page, you should find all of the answers to your questions, and anything else can be directed to your car hire company – so stop worrying!
These ‘what ifs’ are usually small and will likely never eventuate, but in case they do, here’s what you’ll need to know.
When you’re not driving it
It might not be at the top of your list, but looking after the car when you’re not driving it can be just as important as when you’re not.
One of the ways to do this is make sure you’re choosing the best parking options available.
During the day this is usually a case of wherever is free is best, but if you’re in a parking building, try to get a spot next to a pole. This halves the amount of cars that will be pulling in next to you, each with their own potential to ding your car!
At night, you’re best to park the car in a secure garage. This isn’t always available however so you can instead simply try for an area off the street and out of view, such as in a driveway.
Remember that wherever you park, nothing inside the car should be in view (either take it with you or put it in the trunk), the windows should all be fully up and you should have double-checked that it is locked.
What to do if you damage it
When it comes to damaging your car rental, there’s damage and there’s damage.
A small scrape, ding or dent is easy enough to deal with. If another car is involved, be sure to exchange contact and insurance details before driving away. You can later pass all of this information on to your car hire company who will talk you through the rest of the steps.
If you are involved in a larger accident, your first priority should be your safety and that of anyone else involved. If anyone is seriously hurt then the emergency number in Australia to call is 000 and in New Zealand 111, and you will need to inform the police of the incident within 24 hours. Importantly retain all paperwork generated as a result of the accident as this will be required by the car rental company for insurance processing.
After you have dealt with the immediate issues of safety then you should get in touch with your car hire company, who will again be able to work with you to organise insurance payments.
All of this is why it’s so important to organise and understand your insurance policy before you even get into the car.
You can read more about New Zealand car rental company insurance policies here, as each group has different offerings, depending on your specific situation and he car or campervan you’re hiring.
In any case, if another car is involved you’ll need to take note of their registration number, name and contact details, and you’ll need to write down the events as you remember them.
What to do in case of breakdown
In case of the very unlikely event that your car breaks down for no apparent reason, all you’ll need is a phone and a bit of patience.
Do what you can to get the car to stop in a safe place as far off the road as possible, then simply give your rental company a call and they will be the ones to sort you out.
The biggest problem you might face is if you break down out of range or if your phone is out of battery power.
In this case, the friendly Aussie or Kiwi locals will need to give you a hand. Raise the bonnet of your car to indicate you need help which will eventually bring someone to a stop to offer a hand. Whether you borrow their phone or ask for a ride to the nearest store to make the call, a smile, a please and a thank you will get you what you need.