CHALLENGING those rentals

Our travel expert staunchly follows two philosophies – always get-the-best-deal-possible, and retain your independence as you travel around. Both of these get threatened, she says, when you get into the car hire sector!

Most of the better known rental companies will do offer cars fitted with hand controls – but this is usually limited to the upper end of the market; so it makes the daily rates far too expensive for the average person. For disabled people this leaves you with the option of hiring a more affordable car, and then finding someone to drive you around in it; which isn’t ideal, because you give up your independence and prevents you from moving through society in your own way with as little as possible fuss and hassle to other people.

While compiling this column, I’ve been talking to the car hire people, and have yet to come across a believable reason as to why the controls can’t be offered on the smaller (and cheaper-to-hire) automatic transmission cars. In the process I’ve also become involved in trying to facilitate the fitment of driving aids and standard centres which do this sort of work throughout the country. I will be taking this matter further - so watch this space!

In the meantime - here some important facts:

  • The different car hire companies require different lead times to make the specific vehicle available for rental, so you need to make your arrangements as far in advance as possible
  • The hand control systems vary and may not be suited to everyone’s needs and therefore you should get detailed information about the specific system prior to committing yourself to the rental.
  • Current Daily rates for rental 1 – 7 days including Super Cover (98% insurance) and 200 km free daily range at present from R573.00 to R911.00 depending on the car hire company and car.

Please note that there are always fairly standard pre-requisites when hiring a car:

  • The designated driver must have a valid drivers licence.
  • You require a credit card which must have enough credit for the fuel deposit and insurance excess which will be placed onto the card at the start of the hire period, and removed once the car has been returned with a full tank and un-damaged.
  • Should anyone else be driving the car their name must be given and an extra driver fee will be levied.

Costs INCLUDED in the car hire quotes:

Daily rental; unlimited or limited mileage (depending on the rental); Insurance – Standard (90%) or Super Cover (98%) which includes Personal Accident Insurance (PAI); Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) & Theft Loss Waiver (TLW); Airport Surcharge; VAT & Tourism levies.

I recommend that Super Cover be requested as this means that the Insurance excess is less in the case of an accident, and the cost is not that much more overall.

Costs NOT included in your car hire quotes:

One way fees; Pick up and drop off costs; Extra driver levy; extra kilometres over the basic distances included in the various packages (rates are available at time of hire); Fuel deposit & Insurance Excess (refundable on return of the car should the fuel tank be full and the car be undamaged)

PLEASE check the car before you take it out of the car hire lot for any defects, otherwise you will be held liable!

My advice is, as always, to research all your options before you make a reservation. Keep on looking for that best-possible-deal.

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