Car rental in NZ

Old Feb 25th, 2008, 07:47 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Car rental in NZ

Hello again, and thanks so much for all of the fabulous advice posted on this site! I decided to start a new thread here, because I wanted specific advice/experiences on car rental agencies in NZ. We may rent a car for a few days on NI, but we're definitely going to be renting a car for 11-12 days on SI. Jed, you previously mentioned your rental thru National...did you book directly thru the NZ web site?

We intend to use the insurance coverage offerred thru our credit card company, but there were 1-2 postings that mentioned problems with that (Surprise fees at time of check-in, VISA Platinum providing better coverage, etc...?). If anyone has advice or tales to tell--good or bad, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks again!
amorx2 is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2008, 10:42 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,855
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Hi amorx2 -

Because the excess (deductible) can be ridiculously high in OZ and NZ (as high as $2,700), I used to shop around for the lowest excess, instead of the lowest car rental price.

I did quite a bit of research on this topic not long ago and learned that my US issued Mastercard will NOT cover rentals in OZ and NZ, because they require that you decline ALL offered insurance. Some insurance is included (in the quoted price) with all rentals in OZ and NZ so it's impossible to decline it all.

A helpful Fodorite recently pointed out that US issued Visa WILL cover the excess on rentals in OZ and NZ. I've verified this with my Visa and they DO.

So now I use my Visa card for OZ and NZ car rentals and I don't stress about the excess.

I'm one of those cycnics who feels car rental insurance is merely a way for the car rental company to make more money and I won't purchase it.

If you haven't done so already, I strongly suggest you check with your Visa card provider to make sure you understand the coverage they offer.

As far as rental car companies, I've used National a few times(booked via Nova). On my past two trips I used Budget as they were cheaper. I'm heading back to NZ next month and I've booked with APEX this time. They routinely get high marks here on Fodor's.

In my seven trips to NZ, I've not once had any surprise fees when picking up a rental car. I decline the offered insurance and the quoted price remains the same.

I've had no issues with NZ rental car companies either.

Have a great trip.

Melnq8 is online now  
Old Feb 26th, 2008, 12:02 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 786
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My experience with car rental companies has taught me to only use the big names, Avis, Hertz, Budget and Thrifty are my first picks so check out all deals on their own websites. I have rented with smaller companies both here and in Australia and a couple of times had cars that were not up to scratch. It's the old 'live and learn' motto.
KathyNZ is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2008, 07:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We used Maui Rentals in 2004 and were pleased with the car and their service.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2008, 07:30 AM
  #5  
Jed
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi amorx-

I booked National because of our specific needs. We needed to pick up the car in Greymouth and return it in DUD. And it had to be the biggest car that I could get, since we were 2 couples with at least 4 bags. So I rented a Holden Commodore which had the biggest trunk I could find.

I checked out the price online, and it seemed to be very good as compared to others. But just to make sure, I emailed the National office in CHC, and asked if they had an AAA or AARP discounts. They said they did not, but lo and behold, I was offered a price that was lower than on the site. I took it and we were very satisfied.

We did not take any extra insurance. Fortunately, we did not need it.
Jed is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2008, 04:43 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amorx2...do you purchase Travel Insurance for the duration of your trip? We always take out Travel Insurance for each trip, and the excess Car Rental is built into the policy, so we decline the offer, and no problem with car rental people in NZ. We use Europcar or Budget, both good companies. On our last trip we were given a brand new car with only 200 kms mileage. We usually go for a economy type vehicle for 2 people, as we travel pretty light with clothing etc. (How often do you come back from a holiday realising that half the clothing you didn't get to wear)
As for National...I think they are an off shoot of one of the major car rentals. There are companies that are tied to the major rental companies, and once a vehicle has aged to 2-3 years, they move it over to their subsiduary company, and honestly, I've met so many people driving these slightly older vehicles, and they had no problems, and saved dollars.
tropo is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 04:21 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dunno about the surprise fees but car rentals in NI are cheaper I think
jenny_203 is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:07 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,106
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was mortified when I got my first rate quote. $446.75 (NZ) per week -- from Budget. (Last week I rented a car in Los Angeles for $99 a week at Alamo.) I'm going to be gone a month and the cost of car rentals would be more money than my plane tickets!

But the more I checked, the lower the rates got ...

APEX has an automatic (sub compact) at $245 (NZ) per week -- on both islands -- with no additional charge for dropping off at a different location from the pick-up.

Ace's rate is $203 (NZ) per week for a sub compact (automatic or manual) -- also with no additional charge for dropping off at a different location from the pick-up.

I'm sure these cars are not as new as those available from Budget or the other "name" companies -- but for that big a savings I'm willing to take a chance on an older car.

The next step will be checking re: the insurance coverage provided by my credit cards -- and which companies will be best when I take that into consideration.

I'm glad to know APEX gets good reviews. I didn't know TripAdvisor did car rental reviews -- and I'll have to check re: Ace.

Thanks so much.
Songdoc is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:30 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,855
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
I hear you songdoc, NZ car rental quotes tend to cause a sharp intake of breath at my house.

We're using APEX for the first time later this week. We've been quoted NZ$870 for a 15 day rental, plus $25 airport fee which allows us to leave the car at the airport upon departure.

This is for a 2006/2007 Toyota Corolla.

Quotes from other rental companies for the same dates and type of car were in the NZ $1,200 range.

APEX has even lower rates for older cars.

I looked into ACE last time, but decided to go with Budget instead. I'd be interested to hear your experience with ACE if you decide to rent through them.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:08 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,106
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The lowest rate I've found so far is at www.jucy.co.nz (formerly "ezy&quot at $15/day for the smallest car -- and the reviews on tripadvisor seem fine. That's QUITE a difference from $456/wk at Budget!
Songdoc is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:24 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,855
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
I just checked Juicy and the lowest rate (El Cheapo) for my dates is $37.80 per day.

When are you traveling songdoc?
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Mar 4th, 2008, 08:36 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,106
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
just checked Juicy and the lowest rate (El Cheapo) for my dates is $37.80 per day.
When are you traveling songdoc?


Wow, that's quite a difference. Here are the price quotes from Jucy:

Quote 1
Auckland Airport 19th May - Auckland Airport 26th May
El Cheapo (Toyota Echo or similar) at a daily rate of $15.00 x 7 days = $105.00

Quote 2
Queenstown 26th may - Christchurch 2nd June
El Cheapo (Toyota Echo or similar) at a daily rate of $23.00 x 7 days = $161.00

*********************************
My note: El Cheapo -- means older cars with higher mileage. Maybe I'm naive, but I'm guessing they're in good shape -- or they wouldn't be renting them.
Songdoc is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:09 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 24,633
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My most recent rental car experience is over a year old. National is sort of a minor major. They have more offices than companies like Apex, so for eg, if you are picking up/dropping off in Dunedin that is one of their locations. They do rent new cars, but I did notice their models are a notch down from what you might get in the same class from, say, Avis. Eg, you might get a smaller trunk, or no cruise control. They also freely substituted brands. So the class example might be a Toyota and you might get, say, a Mitsubishi. One thing I did like about National is that they didn't care that I scratched up a wheelcover on a curb (believe me, this is going to happen to you). Also Avis was not concerned with minor scratches or paint chips.

I got a better rate by going thru an airline website (United I think) than directly with National. I believe if you rent with Europcar, National is going to be your provider.

I think there are some advantages with going with Apex if they've got offices where you need them. I'd rather drive a slightly used car, for one thing (less worries about scratches).

I heard some complaints about Ezy when I was there, although I didn't use them. Things like not allowing any changes in your reservation. I also didn't like the fact that their cars are plastered with decals.
mlgb is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:11 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 24,633
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I should add that one item you might want to buy is the extra windshield coverage (not very expensive). If you have a Visa card, call their benefits section and you can see if their coverage policies are still the same.
mlgb is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2008, 01:12 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,106
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have quite a collection of credit cards -- Visa, MC, and AMEX -- and I spent about an hour calling all of them to confirm coverage. The ONLY one out of all of mine that provides coverage in NZ and Australia is Capital One.
Songdoc is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2008, 06:55 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Juicy rental vehicles - you can't miss them, all painted in lime green. Lots of them driven around NZ, and yes they are a bit older, but they seem to be okay.
My personal car is 5 years old, and still drives like a new car, I can't understand why people don't rent a car which is 2-3 years old, provided its been serviced.
tropo is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2008, 04:47 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,106
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just heard back from Jucy -- and they are fine with my declining their CDW/loss famage waiver -- so that the coverage provided by Capital One will be primary.

It'll be Jucy for me ... and I'll let you know how it goes when I do my trip report. Of course, I'll have to do my trip first -- and it's still almost ten weeks away
Songdoc is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2008, 06:25 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 24,633
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Since you'll be driving a car that will be easily identified as a rental, I wouldn't leave anything valuable inside if you're parked at a remote trailhead. It isn't common, but there are a lot more thefts from cars than there used to be.
mlgb is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2008, 01:04 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you're going to be renting a car in NZ, I definitely recommend rent a gps for your trip as well. We rented a gps from http://lowergear.com/product.php/cat/27 for our trip last summer, and that little gps was a lifesaver. I hope I could be of some help. Enjoy your trip!
azcobaltblue is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2008, 07:05 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,106
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What a coincidence that azcobaltblue joined the forum today -- and made three posts -- all recommending this website that rents GPS units. Hmmm....

I do like the idea of having a GPS in NZ and Australia. But ... the website mentioned is MORE expensive than renting the GPS system from the car rental agency.

So ... I got the brilliant idea to buy my own GPS system and purchase the software necessary for NZ and Australia ... until I saw the cost! In addition to the cost of the unit, it's close to $200 for EACH country. AGGHHH!
Songdoc is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -