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QLD Rental Car Damage - Can They Make Me Pay?

Discussion in 'Insurance Law Forum' started by Michele Masters, 1 December 2017.

  1. Michele Masters

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    In September, I hired a car from Budget rental cars. Excess was $4000. I was rammed from behind on a motorway in peak traffic and the other driver immediately admitted responsibility. Damage was minor and I got the other drivers name and phone number and car insurance company details. I returned the car to rental company as it was making a noise and gave them the details of the other driver and insurance.

    They immediately took $4000 off my credit card. One month later after several letters of demand they sent me details of repairs$2398 +GST which they have charged me and repaid me the remainder. They keep telling me that the other driver has not made a claim so they can't open a file with the drivers insurance (Suncorp).

    Isn't this a matter between insurance companies? Can they make me pay?
     
  2. Zerojay

    Zerojay Active Member

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    Hi Michelle,

    I am assuming that the hire agreement makes you responsible for any damage to the vehicle, whilst in your posession, up to $4000. (Whether caused by you or someone else.) It seems Budget would have been happy to instead recover the cost from Suncorp if a claim had been lodged by the other driver and there were no complications, but that has not happened. Therefore Budget may be within their contractual rights to recover the cost from you.
    If so, recovery of the repair costs from the other driver has become your problem and you should issue your own letter of demand on the other driver. This may spur him/her to lodge a claim with Suncorp or reimburse you. If not, you may have to sue.
    I have no qualifications and do not give legal advice. Rather an opinion from someone who worked for an insurance company for many years.
     
  3. Michele Masters

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    Oh dear. Thankyou for that... I will try to track down the other driver.
     
  4. DMQC

    DMQC Well-Known Member

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    Hi Michele, what you have been advised by budget is incorrect. I had a quick look at Budget Car Rental's standard hire agreement which relevantly provides in Clause 8.3 -

    In the event of an unintended collision between the Vehicle and any other object, including another vehicle, during the Rental Period that results in damage to the Vehicle or to the property of any third party, Budget waives Your liability under clause 8.1 and will ensure that You are entitled to be indemnified under the Budget Insurance Policy, and We will refund You any Excess Amount You paid Budget, provided that, acting reasonably, Budget agrees that You or an Authorised Driver were not at fault and:
    (a) You and any Authorised Driver hold a current drivers licence;

    (b) You have provided Budget with any details of the incident that Budget reasonably requests including:

    (1) the name, residential address, contact phone and licence number of any person involved;
    (2) the registration numbers of all vehicles involved;
    (3) an accurate description of the incident and location; and
    (4) the names of any attending police officers and the stations at which they are based; and

    (c) You have supplied or Budget has established the name of the insurer of any third party You believe was at fault and Budget reasonably believes that the insurer will pay Budget for the loss or damage.

    Were you able to provide Budget with all of the information in clause 8.3(b)?

    Clause 8.3(c) does not require that a claim be lodged, just that the name of the insurance company be provided.

    Perhaps it would be worthwhile raising that with Budget and they may decide to refund your excess.

    Regards

    DM

     
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  5. Michele Masters

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    wow, t
    Wow, thankyou so much....I have just managed to track the other driver down and she tells me she had no idea this was going on. I did give Budget all the relevant info so now I will go back to them....Again, thankyou very much.
     
  6. DMQC

    DMQC Well-Known Member

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    My pleasure Michele, good luck, hope all goes well.
     
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  7. Zerojay

    Zerojay Active Member

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    Thanks DM,
    A copy of the relevant clauses does add clarity. I feel 8.3 (c) does require more than just the name of the other driver’s insurer. Budget wants to be reasonably satisfied that Suncorp will pay. So 2 more things are required before that can occur - the other driver needs to lodge a claim and Suncorp has to advise they accept their insured is at fault. Then you should have a happy ending, either reimbursed by Suncorp or Budget. This is not legal advice, just my opinion.
     
  8. DMQC

    DMQC Well-Known Member

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    Hi Zerojay,

    Thanks for your message.

    You make a good point, I did think about it before posting, however I came to the conclusion that if Budget "act reasonably" they should believe that the insurer will pay the claim, given all relevant details have been provided. At least I think it would be unreasonable of Suncorp to decline the claim for the damage to the rental car.

    But it is a fair point and something the OP should consider when contacting Budget.
     
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  9. Michele Masters

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    Thankyou.
     
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