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Hire car help for intrepid over 50s travellers

4th April 2016 Print

Eight out of ten over 50s are planning to go on holiday this year and one in six of these people will hire a car so they can explore foreign cities on their own, according to research by Saga Travel Insurance.

The poll of more than 9,000 over 50s shows that eight out of ten people are going to Europe this year, while one in seven will head to North America and one in 13 say they are visiting Asia. However, a quarter of over 50s are keen travellers as they are planning to visit more than one continent in 2016.

Over 50s are intrepid travellers and are keen to explore independently when they travel further afield. More than a third say they plan to rent a vehicle to explore the Australian outback and four out of ten plan to hire a car in North America. Perhaps this is because they want to do the famous drive along route 66. One in six over 50s are planning to explore Europe by car for some, if not all, of their trip this year.

It is men who are most likely to be in the driving seat abroad, as one in five men say they will hire a car compared to just one in eight women.

Driving abroad is not without its risks and if a rental car is stolen or damaged then people can be left facing a big bill, typically hire car companies charge an excess of anything up to £900 if you prang the car. This is why rental companies often advise people to buy a hire car excess waiver policy when they rent a car. However, these policies can be expensive if you buy them direct from a hire car company when you pick up the rental vehicle. In fact, some may charge as much as £25 per day.

Saga recognises that some customers rent a car on holiday so is now offering them the option to add hire car excess waiver insurance (HCEW) to their travel insurance policy from as little as £2.70 a day. The policy also covers people if they lose their hire car keys or if they put the wrong fuel in the vehicle, which are not covered as standard by some car rental companies.

Kevin McMullan, Head of Travel Insurance at Saga, commented: “Many of our customers like the freedom of being able to hop in a car and explore foreign countries on their own. People are wise to take out a hire car excess waiver policy when they hire a car, but it’s important they buy this policy before they head abroad as rental companies may charge a lot more for this cover.”