Driving Off Road Could Void Your Car Hire Insurance
If you’ve hired a SUV or a 4×4, the temptation to take an off-road shortcut can be high.
Doing so however could be a very bad idea for a number of reasons.
Car hire companies generally have a clause stating driving off-road will void your car hire insurance and potentially leave you liable for an expensive bill.
Off-road driving could prove expensive
When you hire a car (it does not matter if it is a SUV or 4×4) it is your responsibility to ensure that you stay on paved roads (where possible) at all times. Driving on unpaved roads voids Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage.
Should these restrictions be ignored, all insurances if accepted shall be deemed null and void.
The driver will be held fully responsible in case of damage to, or loss of the vehicle and will bear all consequences, including the cost of repatriation of the damaged vehicle.
Basically, you should never drive off-road unless you’re prepared to accept the risk that you could end up with a hefty repair bill. If you void the collision damage waiver you will be liable for the entire cost of the repairs to the vehicle, not just the excess amount.
The best advice is to stay on main roads where possible and try to avoid taking smaller roads.
Check what’s covered
It is always important to check the level of insurance you have.
If you have opted to only have standard collision damage waiver (CDW) included, you should be particularly careful.
Damage to the wheels, tyres, glass parts, underside and roof isn’t usually covered by CDW.
If you purchase additional insurance (such as Top Up Insurance), check what the policy includes so you don’t get a nasty shock. As Top Up Insurance covers damage to the underbody, tyres, and wheels, and glass parts this isn’t as much of a problem.
Provided you stick to the roads and abide by the terms and conditions, any damage caused by a pot hole or obstruction being covered by snow WILL usually be covered by additional insurance.
It’s also worth noting that in some areas, driving off-road isn’t just prohibited in the T&C’s, it’s actually illegal.
Is the vehicle even suitable for off-road driving?
We know you’re not going to go off road but it never hurts to remember this.
A jeep or crossover isn’t necessarily 4 wheel drive.
You could end up stuck off-road in the middle of nowhere if you were to attempting to go off-road.
Some manufacturers offer 2 wheel drive with 4 wheel drive on demand, others require you to manually lock the wheels with a special bolt.
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