Monday 9 September 2019

A ding, a dunt, a pock, a worry

Last week I was over in England, at short notice, for 48 hours. I was amazed and delighted to be able to secure a seat with RyanAir DUB - BOH (Bournemouth) for €12.99 and €12.99 BOH - DUB. This was 2 coffees less than what I paid for 3 days of car parking at the airport. It's also cheaper than the return fare on the bus to get to that far on a journey. Go Ryanair! I was not bothered by their somewhat aggressive baggage policy and extra bag charges because I can travel super light by leaving behind laptop, high-heeled shoes and a spare pair of chinos. If I have a accident I reckon I can buy a new pair of trousers abroad which will probably better fit my much diminished waist. But then the expenses, the addditional features, the add-ons started to accumulate.
  • RyanAixtras
    • €4 to book a seat for early check-in and boarding card. 
    • €29 to park the car
    • €52.40 to rent another car at BOH
    • €47.80 for the Excess collision damage waiver insurance.
    • £24.30 for petrol
    • £18 for miscellaneous parking
There's not a lot of change from €200 to deal with propelling by body about the county between places which are all connected by train. But I'm [fairly] happy to pay that on such irregular and infrequent trips if it gives me flexibility and efficient use of time while shuttling about. If I'd read my own Blobs, I would have realised that buying Excess damage insurance (to mitigate against a potential 'excess' bill for £1,000) from RyanAir is a pain in the tits. Because, if the damage occurs, you have to pay out Hertz or Green Motion and then claim it back from RyanAir's wholly owned insurance subsidiary. If you pay for the same peace-of-mind direct to Hertz a) it's £5 cheaper b) it's all in the bundle: you just walk away from any gravel pinnng chips and tire-scuffs.

The morning after I took delivery of this delicate vehicle, I noticed a bit dunt just right-of-centre on the bonnet / hood / Haube / tapa. Dang! but I didn't do that! The feckers will make a claim against me . . . and I'll probably find that dunts are excluded from the policy I've just bought at eye-watering expense.  It cranked up my travel-anxiety a couple of notches - which I didn't need at all. But when I turned the car in at the airport, the vigilant Hertzman didn't seem to notice it and asked me to sign off the all-clear chit. Phew! Then I was in a tizz lest the next punter to rent that car would get caught for the bonnet-ding, so I started to think how I could tell Hertz about the defect without the bill coming back at me.
I'd calmed down by the time I eventually got home that evening and started to riffle through the fat sheaf of paper-work associated with my trip. There was a VCR = vehicle condition report, the relevant part of which I have abstracted [R]. That form acknowledges the prior existence of "1 damages" with a splat to indicate a dead spider where that 1 damages was. If the people at the Hertz check-out desk hadn't been so mortal busy trying not to delay a line of anxious-to-be-gone customers they would have had the courtesy to tell me about the pock before I drove off. They might also have told me how to switch on the headlights! It wasn't until day 2 and some dicey dusk driving that I was able to twig that the on-off light-switch was about 40cm away from the dip & full-beam switch on the steering column. I never did learn how to open the bonnet . . . which was just as well because I might have been tempted to try knocking out the dent from the inside.

Now here's the thing. The insurance options operated by Hertz and other car rental companies are a stitch up. And the insurance options operated by second-parties like Ryanair is a stitch-up in spades,  Would you rather pay €25 now or risk as bill for €1,000 at the end of the holiday? At the start of the holiday - on top of the flights, the hotel, the anticipated bill for booze, the tapas, the all-you-can-eat buffet - €25 seems like a pimple. Somehow the fact that is €25 per day slips past you and you end up paying an extra €200+ for peace of mind. Companies like have seen a gap in the market and ask How likely is it that Joe Average will clock up €1,000 worth of damage on a given trip? and gamble against that eventuality.  They will shoulder that risk for €3 per day or €50 a year. So their actuaries have worked out that that less than 1 person in 50 [€1,000 / €3*7] has a misfortune. They know exactly what the risks are - there is a cap of €1,000 to their liability because the Excess is all they cover. The regular base-line car insurance has no cap: you rent a car and sail it by accident and inattention into petrol station then someone might be liable for €1,000,000 for the damage. Regardless of the actuarial math, offsetting the Excess in advance with CarHireExcess or similar is waaaay cheaper than being hit for it as you stand stressed at the Hertz desk.

1 comment:

  1. Surely all the extras except for seat are not Ryan extra's but extras to do with the flight? I checked the cost of the ferry - 375E against total cost of flight etc (excluding seat, parking, petrol) which came out at 126.18. So flight was cheaper by 249.82. I used a spreadsheet.

    When I come home and hire a car, I pay more in full insurance than I do on the car hire. Usually excess is stupid at about 700 euro, which means the paying of the full insurance still expensive but not excessive (if I ding the car). The ouch of the payment is not as bad as the consistent underlying dread in case I ding the car.