Rental car insurance in New Zealand


Sep 9th, 2011, 12:49 AM
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Rental car insurance in New Zealand

I live in Auckland and have relatives coming to visit from the US. When we first rented a car here (shortly after arriving before we bought a car), we were shocked that the car rental insurance was so expensive ($25 a day at least), not covered by credit cards or auto insurance policies (as it is in the US), and necessary (otherwise your deductible is $3000). We were told that this insurance was free for tourists but since we lived in Auckland, we had to pay it.

So now with relatives coming to visit, I'm trying to find out if it is really the case the tourists get this insurance for free. However, I can't find any information on it. Any insights or experiences would be most welcome!
birder is offline  
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Sep 9th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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Hi Birder,

I don't know who told you that insurance for tourists was free, but they were wrong. I make reservations for clients car rentals all the time and it's not free, but it IS mandatory.

Hope this is helpful!

Certified Kiwi Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
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Sep 9th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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Thanks very much for your help - I appreciate it. Do you know of any ways for tourists to avoid it? I've heard that if they have American Express, they will cover it.
birder is offline  
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Sep 9th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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There is no way to avoid it - it's a law that all rental vehicles MUST have insurance and no car company is going to risk renting a vehicle, having it be in an accident, and being found negligent for not having the insurance on the rental.

It's the same way in Australia and Italy (and probably other places I'm not familiar with) - mandatory.

Depending on the credit card plan, some cards will cover Cancellation insurance, but that's not the same thing as car rental.

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Sep 11th, 2011, 12:42 AM
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Hi birder -

I've been renting cars in NZ for years and not once have I purchased insurance from a car rental agency.

In New Zealand, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and theft protection are included in car rental rates. The CDW excess (deductible) is the responsibility of the renter, however some credit cards, such as my US issued Platinum Visa, will cover the excess.

Not all credit cards work this way. For instance, Mastercard requires that ALL insurance be waived for their coverage to apply, and you cannot waive the insurance already built into a NZ car rental, due to local laws.

Third party liability insurance is included in NZ car rentals too, up to the limit required by NZ law (I don't know the figure, but you can probably find out easily enough).

Your visitors would do well to contact their credit card company and ask, and then request a written copy of their rental car benefits. They might also have chat with their personal vehicle insurer in their home state. Then compare that coverage to the coverage outlined by their NZ car rental company of choice.

They could well save a bunch of money.
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Sep 11th, 2011, 12:59 AM
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If they have any Business Credit Cards like Chase and Amex

They will have rental cover there sometimes good homeowners

insurance in the US will have it mine does.

Wise to check for specifics with CC company.
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Sep 11th, 2011, 01:00 AM
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Melnq8 is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2013, 03:31 PM
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New Zealand & Australia IS Explicitly NOT covered By American Express premium car rental insurance.

For Australia I spoke with Visa today...and if the CDW is part of the rental and I have no option to decline, AND if I pay the entire rental wiht VISA, then they will be a secondary to the excess. THERE are lots of caveats like complying wiht the rental agreement terms and conditions. Vans over 8 passengers are not covered. "expensive cars" are not covered. It does NOT cover medical, personal property and personal liability.

I think my research showed mastercard is NOT covered...but check yourself. ALSO...the rental company MAY place a HOLD or whatever on your credit card for the cover like $4,000 US.
NOW be sure you have enough credit for that. Or take extra cards for other expenses.

Go over the insurance aka auto rental collision damage waiver" with your credit card company before you rent.
Get the collect number to call for a claim or question.
I print out the paperwork and take it with me.

If you have a sure to contest the payment wiht the credit card company and have them specifically ocde the dspute CDW waiver or whatever...

Take pictures..get a copy of the police report if there is one.

I take pictures of the car before and after renting too...and the underbelly. I keep these for six months.

Some campanies my not insure a vehicle over $50,000 USD.
Some exotic car brands are excluded like BMW and Mercedes...although some lower end models may be.

ALSO car rentals in OZ may not allow you to ride on ferries.

Be careful you must pay the entire rental with the credit card for the rental insurance to apply and the PRIMARY driver needs to be the one on the credit card. Some unconfirmed web reports say using a gift card or coupon invalidated this...but

I have not attempted to cover all the caveats.

Check your own auto policy to see if it covers out of country rentals..MINE does not. ALSO question as to whetever coverage is primary or secondary.

Rental coverage has a limit like 31 days max per rental.



Hope this helps.
I know nothing about alleged tourists getting free insurance.
It could be automaticialloy included in the queots with the cover of $4,000 which possibly excludes windows, tires, glass, underbelly etc etc etc etc etc.

NOW the visa credit card coverage, was different from Amex regular credit card, amex platinum card, and Amex separate insurance. We are talking at least 4 separate products coverages, and exclusions.

When we used the $24.95 Amex coverage I had to rent a car in Germany because Italy rental was not covered. I had to be careful not to get a Mercedes E classe which is not allowed to be driven to Italy...and or not covered.

We did have a minor scrape in Europe and AVIS BUDGET group charged five times the proper amount for the repair. four thousand dollars for a small ding on a car which had been previously damaged and not repaired.

AMEX will not pay admin fees (because that is unsubstantiated charge). AMEX dragged their feet and would not process claim until they felt any and all documentation was in...and they asked for an unreasonable amount of it..and never logged it in when I personally made sure they had it...THEY play the GAME they wont consider the claim until they get paperwork that will never ever ever ever happen. They were ridiculously slow. After I got real upfront..they paid off within an hour...but the paid the ridiculous overcharge rates. AVIS sent the claim in German...That was OK..I have friend who is fluent. BUT the $25 premium insurance...saved a couple hundred in rental car fees. I was a stickler to make sure the driver was the one who rented the vehicle with the credit card.
DrTravel is offline  
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Mar 17th, 2013, 06:19 PM
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That was a very long post considering the inquiry is from 2011!
mlgb is offline  
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Sep 4th, 2013, 04:51 PM
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Its worth checking with your credit card supplier. Some offer rental car insurance, but a lot don't. $25 per day does seem a little on the expensive end. Ace and highest level of insurance is around $16 per day.
patrick_broadbent is offline  
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Sep 8th, 2013, 01:30 AM
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Folks may be interested in topic. Thanks Patrick. I'll check out Ace and snaprentals.
DrTravel is offline  
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Oct 6th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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Thank u for the post, DrTravel... It does help
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