Planning a road trip in a rental car and making decisions on your New Zealand itinerary is incredibly exciting. However, we know how daunting researching rental car fine print and insurance inclusions can be. It is a necessary step for any car hire road trip and so we have simplified this stage for you. Read our full rental car insurance guide so you can get GOing on a Kiwi trip of a lifetime with the peace of mind that you are covered.
In this article, we will cover:
- What rental car insurance is in New Zealand
- The options you have
- The rental excess amount
- The security bond
- What is usually covered
- Your personal insurance cover
What is car rental insurance in New Zealand?
In New Zealand, car rental companies have a legal requirement to offer basic insurance as part of their base rental fees. Typically, a standard insurance will include:
- Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver – This cover reduces the amount you, as a renter, will need to pay for collision damage. However, each rental company will have a different limit and conditions for this cover so always check the fine print.
- Theft Protection – The purpose of theft cover is to reduce the amount you, the hirer, will pay if the rental car is stolen during the hire period.
A basic insurance will fully cover the cost of a rental car. However, you will have a liability to pay an excess amount in the event of an accident.
New Zealand Car Rental Insurance Options
As the basic insurance package is included in the hire price, car rental companies will usually include two upgrade options. Typically, the upgrade options are not to include more policy coverage, but to reduce the excess amount you are liable to pay. However, some may add on extras for their premium cover, such as windscreen or tyre protection, to encourage upgrades.
For example, a basic insurance may have an excess amount of $4,000 NZD. The next option may provide an excess reduction to $1,000 for a cost of $35/day.
What are GO Rentals Insurance Options?
GO Rentals have three insurance options for every car rental:
- GO Basic – starting from $3,000 excess and $3,000 bond amount. Cost varies depending on vehicle class. Included as standard.
- GO Assured – starting from $500 excess and $0 bond amount. Upgrade from $25/day for the full duration of your hire period. The upgrade fee is an insurance premium and non-refundable. Cost varies depending on vehicle class.
- GO Peace of Mind – starting from $0 excess and $0 bond amount. Upgrade is from $32/day for the duration of your hire period. The upgrade fee is an insurance premium and non-refundable. Cost varies depending on vehicle class.
Unlike standard car rental insurance, GO Rentals provides cover on top of those required by law. Our aim is to ensure your New Zealand road trip experience is stress-free and that our car hire becomes a part of your happy travel memories. All options set out in our terms include:
- 24-hour mechanical breakdown – We work hard to ensure all of our cars are reliable and well-serviced. However, be prepared for any unforeseen outcome on the road. Every car hire includes an AA mechanical breakdown cover in the standard rental price.
- Non-mechanical breakdowns will incur a fee, including: flat batteries, wheels and tyres, lost keys, locked out, out of fuel, and won’t start.
- All callouts diagnosed as non-mechanical breakdowns at the time of the initial call, will incur a call out fee depending on geographical location (GST inclusive).
- No matter where you are in New Zealand or what time it is, you can rely on help being provided.
- Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver – Damage to the car, the hirer will only be liable for the excess amount if the conditions under the agreement are met.
- Theft Protection – Theft to the vehicle rental only, the hirer will only be liable to pay the excess amount.
- Third Party – The hirer liability cover is up to a maximum of $10,000,000 NZD for damage to other vehicles, properties and injuries.
What is the rental car excess amount?
The rental car excess (sometimes referred to as the deductible), is the amount of money you have to pay the rental company for any damage or loss during your hire. In New Zealand, the excess amount is usually around $3,000 to $5,000 for a standard vehicle rental under the basic option.
How do you pay the excess amount if you damage your rental car?
In the unfortunate event of damaging your rental car, you will be liable to pay the excess amount for the insurance option you selected. Usually, a rental company will ask for the excess upfront as a “security bond” payment.
What is a security bond?
A security bond is similar to a deposit and usually covers the full excess amount. Upon pick up, the security bond is frozen on your credit card and only released once the rental car company assures your returned vehicle is damage free. If there are any claims for damage or loss, your excess amount is taken from the security bond.
How to pay for a security bond?
Most car rental companies will need a credit card upon pick-up. This is so they can be assured the excess amount can be taken from your security bond.
GO Rentals require a credit card which matches the first and last name of the main hirer for the security bond on the GO Basic option. For the GO Assured and GO Peace of Mind options, we can accept a debit card for most cars, as we do not require a security bond from you. Some vehicles on GO Assured e.g., Tesla requires a bond therefore, we would still require a credit card with the main hirer’s full name.
Can I get car rental excess insurance?
Rather than upgrading with a car rental company, you are able to buy separate rental vehicle excess insurance. Often referred to as an excess waiver, the insurance company will cover you for the amount you are liable to pay in the event of damage or loss. However, this does not mean you will have zero excess to pay. The process would be as follows:
- After booking your car rental, you can buy rental excess insurance.
- Upon rental car pick-up, you will pay a security bond if required.
- In the unfortunate event of damage to the car, the standard excess is taken from your security bond.
- Once you have the full claim details, you can open a new claim with your excess insurance company to reclaim the excess money. The rental car company is not involved in this claim, it would be your responsibility to reap your money back.
Therefore, even if you have rental excess waiver insurance, you will still be liable to upfront the cost of the standard excess. Depending on the excess insurance company, you may have to wait up to 10 business days to hear about the outcome of your claim before you are paid the amount.
Can I get excess cover under my travel insurance policy?
Some comprehensive travel insurance policies may offer an option to add a rental car excess waiver. This would specifically cover you for the amount of excess you need to pay in the event of loss or damage. Similarly with rental excess insurance, you will be liable to pay the excess amount and then reclaim this back through your travel insurance. The process would be as follows:
- Once you have your car hire booking details, you can add rental excess cover to your travel insurance policy.
- When you pick up your rental car, pay for the security bond.
- If you damage the car, the standard excess is taken from your security bond.
- Obtain the claim details and lodge a new claim with your travel insurance policy to reclaim the excess paid. The rental car company would not be responsible for this claim, it would be up to you to reap your money back.
Are rental cars covered under personal car insurance?
Standard car insurance usually only covers the car specifically listed on the policy. Some policies will include cover for you to drive other cars but it may be limited to personal cars only and not to drive overseas. Always check the fine print of your standard insurance policy to investigate if you are covered.
What is not usually included in New Zealand car rental insurance?
Each car rental company will have different terms for their insurance policy, so it is always best to check the full terms and conditions ahead of purchase. However, usually car rental insurance will not cover:
- Administration fees as a result or loss or damage
- Loss or damage to add-on extras and accessories
- Loss or damage to personal effects
- Windscreen damage (GO Rentals covers this)
- Tyre damage (GO Rentals covers this)
- Roof damage caused by neglect
- Undercarriage damage
- Loss in the event of a fire (GO Rentals covers this)
- Unauthorised drivers not included in the policy
- Loss or damage caused by using the incorrect fluids or fuel
- Loss or damage caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Damage caused under circumstances which are illegal in New Zealand
- Third-Party damage to other cars or properties (GO Rentals covers this)
- Third-Party liability for injuries (GO Rentals covers this)
Third-party insurance will cover your liability for any loss or damage caused to a third party that is deemed your fault (usually caused by accidents that are not under illegal circumstances). This is not a mandatory inclusion in New Zealand rental car insurance and so it is always important to check the fine print. If you are not covered for third-party damage and you are deemed responsible for a collision, you may be liable to pay for the other car’s costs.
The good news is, GO Rentals includes third-party insurance up to a maximum of $10,000,000 NZD for damage to other vehicles, properties and injuries.
GO Rentals VS Other Car Rental Insurance
GO Rentals goes above and beyond to ensure your rental car experience is stress free and enjoyable. Our rental car insurance includes covers beyond what is mandatory in New Zealand:
How can GO Rentals help your epic road trip?
At GO Rentals, we believe road safety and fun go hand in hand. Our helpful trip planner and explore blog is designed to ensure you get to explore all of New Zealand’s natural beauty from the comfort of a modern rental vehicle.
Submit a photo from your travels to our snap happy competition and you could win up to $500 back off your rental costs. We’re not just about getting you from A to B; we’re all about creating unforgettable memories you can reminisce about. Whether it’s picturesque landscapes or hilarious family escapades, share your travel stories and excitement with our team!
With 8 car hire locations all over New Zealand, you can jump into a rental car and be confident you will safely be covered. Whichever car you choose, GO Rentals is the perfect companion.
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