Hiring a motor vehicle puts you in the driver’s seat when exploring the tourist delights of NSW. But before driving off into the sunset, it makes sense to understand the terms of your hire contract. You should find out what is included under the contract - and perhaps more importantly - what’s not.
Before hiring a vehicle and signing the contract, ask yourself:
Take the time to run through this quick checklist before you drive away. It’s particularly important if you are hiring an older vehicle.
Distances between towns and cities in Australia may be greater than those you are accustomed to. Before you drive off, allow plenty of time to reach your destination and remember to include plenty of rest breaks (it is recommended that drivers take a break every two hours). Under Australian law, all passengers are required to wear seat belts and small children should be fitted with approved child restraints. Please note that speeding and drink driving are offences but more importantly, can be fatal.
Most disputes involving hire vehicles relate to accidents. Overseas drivers may be unfamiliar with Australian conditions, which can increase the risk of having an accident. Therefore, insurance is essential. Then if you do have an accident, once you have paid the agreed amount of excess, the insurance company will usually look after the rest.
If you have an accident, as a general rule you should:
Where the accident is your fault and you are not comprehensively insured, you may be liable for expenses incurred in rectifying damage caused by the accident and could be sued for compensation. If this happens, you should seek legal advice immediately.
If damage to a vehicle is minor and it costs less to repair the car than the insurance excess, it may be simpler to accept repair of the vehicle by the car rental company. You should still obtain your own quotes on the damage to ensure that the cost of repairs is reasonable. If this is not possible, photograph or video the damage in case there is dispute about the cost.
A written agreement should be drawn up between you and the rental company detailing the arrangements between the parties for settling the matter.
You are responsible if you are booked by the police for a parking or traffic infringement. If you get a parking infringement, you should notify the car rental firm and make arrangements for payment.
If you have a dispute with a car rental company, contact the owner or customer relations manager of the hire company. If you cannot settle the problem by mutual agreement, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20, or lodge an enquiry or complaint on our website.
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