Travel Lessons Learnt #1 : Why you should always get insurance for your car rental excess

Planning for holidays involves a lot of research and hard work. You hope everything goes to plan, but sometimes, sh*t happens. Here’s the first of our Travel Lessons Learnt series.

 

To book our rental car in Sicily, and as recommended from one of the blogs, we did that through RentalCars.com. It’s like a Skyscanner.com equivalent for car rentals, where you get to compare prices from various providers. We chose Sicily By Car as it had the best price for the car that we wanted ( A Fiat Tipo estate, which is fabulous, by the way )Β 

There was an option to get insurance for your Car Rental excess, which would have been around 300 AED. This would not only cover your excess, but also damage to windows, mirrors, wheels and tyres should anything happen to it. See snapshow below what for ‘Full Protection’ entails.

 

We did choose full protection, but when it came to payment, for some odd reason we couldn’t actually pay for it. Tried a few times and everytime we got to the payment page, the full protection option was unchecked.

Was it a glitch on the website? Was it just bad luck?

We don’t know.

We didn’t have a lot of time to figure it out and had to book it quite quickly so we just paid for the car rental anyways without the full protection.

Fast forward to our holiday in Sicily. Fabulous. Beautiful country and all. Then sh*t happened.

We had parked our car at the large parking lot at the base of the cable car at Mazzaro here. Went for lunch and spent the afternoon at one of the prettiest pebble beaches we’ve ever been. Just to give an idea, here’s a snapshot of the 100 photos we took.

Mazzaro Bay

The afternoon turned out to be a very expensive one, as when we returned to our car couple hours later, we had found our windscreen to be cracked.

There was no impact point, no stone or branch in sight that would have possibly caused the crack. It was absolutely bizarre.

How did it happen?

Even if someone came with a hammer and knocked on it, that wouldn’t have been possible as there was impact point.

First photo taken when crack happened
Stuck a plaster so we could see far it had propagated by end of day

Over the next few days, we watched as the crack propagated further and further. We kept debating on how it would have happened and what we could possibly do about it. Absolutely nothing. We just prayed that it wouldn’t completely smash open…

When we returned the car to Sicily by Car, at Catania Airport, we tried explaining to them what had happened. Of course, we had to pay for the damage. What could we have done?

How much did it cost?

520 Euros.

Almost half the price of our flight tickets return from Dubai to Sicily, for 3 adults, a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Even more than the cost of our amazing accommodation at the top of Taormina for 5 nights.

So, in conclusion.

Get that full insurance for your car rental.Β 

Pay that little bit of extra. And if there was something wrong with the website, give them a call. Sort it out. Don’t just let it pass and hope for the best. A very painful lesson for us to learn, and I hope if you read this, get that full insurance for your car rental!

 

Afternote : After this post went live, a lot of friends and family got in touch to suggest that we should get in touch with our Travel Insurance or Credit Card Travel Insurance and see if they could compensate for the lost. The answer is : No. The Travel Insurance we bought with Fly Dubai said no, the Travel Insurance that came with our HSBC Credit Card said no as well. How unfortunate….Β 

Posted by

Dubai resident. Stays most of the time in the marina as she can't be bothered going anywhere else after work and in the weekends. Originally from the land of the orang utans, spent the latter half of her life in the land down under. Always on the look out for deals, loves organising get-togethers, and occasionally steals some time for a sip of wine or four at ladies nights.

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