Rental Car on Car Ferry Problem

Aug 1st, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Rental Car on Car Ferry Problem

We're planning a 2-week road trip in Washington and then over into Canada. I was all set to pre-book a rental car through a broker and then noticed the small print, that taking the rental car onto a car ferry (e.g. over to Vancouver Island) requires special permission. I just phoned to check what this involves and was told that they will not cover any liability for loss/damage while the vehicle is on the ferry. I'm now not sure what to do, as some island hopping was one of the main attractions of the trip. Does anyone have experience of particular rental companies that don't have this restriction, or is it just a common issue?
Gordon_R is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 10:25 AM
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I can't answer your question, but I'm wonderin if it is that the ferry's insurance would cover loss or damage while in transit?
lcuy is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 11:08 AM
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I was thinking the same thing - that if the car is damaged during transit, the ferry's insurance would cover it. I'd check with the ferry operator to be sure. The info is probably somewhere on their web site.
november_moon is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 11:57 AM
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There are also issues taking a rental car across the border. Perhaps you need to avoid that broker? Have a look at and see what they say.
mclaurie is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Check with your own car insurance company. We have State Farm and they have always told us we are covered when renting a car. We rented a car when we were in Seattle and we drove to Vancouver-no problems.
nlg is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 12:13 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Mclaurie: I already checked about taking the car into Canada, and that's not a problem. It's just going on a ferry that's the issue.

nlg: we are from the UK. Maybe it's diferent where you live, but here in the UK, personal car insurance policies definitely don't cover car rental IME. Likewise, our credit cards don't cover rental car insurance as I believe they do in some other countries.

Maybe I'm being unnecesarily cautious here, but even a small bump or scrape getting the car on/off the ferry could end up being expensive. If the ferry hit something and caused the car to bump into the one in front, or they dropped the car off the side, I'd expect them to pay. But I don't see why the ferry operator's insurance would pay if the accident was not of his causing.
Gordon_R is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 01:56 PM
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Gordon, do you really even need an automobile on Vancouver Island? Can you suffice with the public transportation there?
exiledprincess is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Gordon_R, are you taking a Washington State ferry?
321go is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 07:28 PM
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Have you checked that you can take the car into Canada - many rental companies don;t allow it.

I think you would have to contact them to see who allows what.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 08:36 PM
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I have never heard of rental companies not allowing their cars on ferries. You said you were working through "a broker." I would recommend just hiring a car through the rental company itself rather than using a middleman. If the insurance is a big concern, just get the fully comprehensive coverage. Plus, I have never experienced a problem on ferry crossings, and I certainly wouldn't worry about it if I were you.

As for taking rental cars into Canada, no problems at all except for Canadian residents taking US-registered cars into Canada. In that case Canadian federal tax law effectively prohibits it - some weird legal interpretation regards it as importing a vehicle, hence Canadian taxes are due on the value of the car. For UK residents, no problem - we have bunches of British pals that do it all the time.
Gardyloo is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 03:47 AM
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The restriction I mentioned was with AutoEurope (who people keep recommending on this forum). I just spent some time trawling through the majors and found the same rate with National. They don't mention anything about ferries, so I will book with them. Thanks for your help - your local knowledge is much appreciated.
Gordon_R is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 06:40 AM
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Gordon--FWIW, my DH commuted daily via the WA ferries for over 3 years and we never had any problems with dings, etc on our vehicles.
mms is offline  
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