Advice Needed Before Booking Car

Before I book my first car I need some advice:

  1. What is ‘reduced insurance excess’ and do I get the chance to choose it at the time of booking?

  2. And can someone explain to me in easy to understand detail how the ‘excess cover insurance’ works?

  3. Can I add mileage bolt-on during the month if my mileage increases, or do I have to anticipate an increase in mileage and do it before the next month starts?

I’m sure there’s probably loads of other information and advice I need, but these are what’s currently confusing me.

Thanks in advance.

  1. don’t bother with the excess insurance, you can get it through a third party such as “insurance 4 car hire” much cheaper (around £45 for a year).

  2. if you go with the above company (as many do here) you will only need to use it if you damage the car. You’ll pay the excess to onto up front, which will be the cost of repair OR the full excess (£1000 I think) whichever is cheapest. You’d then ring the company above and submit a claim, they’ll send you your money back fairly quickly. So your total outlay for damaging the electric car will be £xyz up front (maximum £1k) and after claiming will be £0 lost. So you have a free crash basically.

  1. You can add it mid-month but be very careful. Onto will play it to their advantage and pretend you never added the mileage (even if you screenshot the transaction) if they can gain out of it. I had it three times where I had proof of purchase of the mileage bolt-on but they still came for over mileage charges that shouldn’t have been applied. Each time took an hour talking to everyone or days of emails to get corrected, normally with Onto blaming me and saying it is my issue. For this reason I jacked onto in and am now awaiting delivery of an electric car which will be cheaper to own than Onto’s offering - and no lying or inexperienced customer service to go with it!
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Be aware though that you have to be prepared to possibly part with £1000 for a few months until everything gets sorted on onto’s side before you can reclaim the excess from the insurance.

If you go for the reduced excess option it’s only going to be £350 you have to part with.

Put it on a credit card, forget about it and then get the money back; it’ll be like it never happened.

Regardless, my claim with i4ch was settled in 3 days from excess payment. Their reviews would suggest similar, as would their recommendations on this forum. You can claim the moment you pay the excess, so Onto’s processing time isn’t really relevant.

I’d rather pay £50/year for a £0 excess than £30/40/month for a £350 excess - I don’t really know why they offer it, it’s ridiculously uncompetitive.

Funnily enough I didn’t even need it with onto in the end, the cover I got out for onto saved me on car hire abroad when someone damaged the car. So there is another benefit of third party cover.

The only damaged car I had with onto had a 60cm key mark down the side, the collection driver photographed it and onto never charged me :man_shrugging:

The two times I claimed for damages from insurance4carhire they wanted detailed documents about the damage. A quick search here on the forum brought up this post where the same thing happened with I4CH: Insurance4carhire - Need advice please

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Why would you pay the excess before you have detailed documents about the damage?

The detailed documents show the damage cost, and thus the amount due from you - so the documents exists before you pay the excess, it’s a case of asking for them.

If you report an accident to the insurance Onto will take the £1000 excess immediately (usually payable within 7 days). There will be no documents showing the damage at that point and it can take a long time to get a detailed damage report in this case.

The only way you would have a damage report before paying the excess would be in cases where you returned the car and damage on the car was then subsequently reported.

My last hire agreement states “you must pay our excess” but no time limit on it.

I therefore would ensure onto cannot take automatic payment before telling them, and then reasonably request documentation be prepared for me before I happily pay the excess due. The onus is then on them to prepare the documentation before I pay, if they want to take a long time then that is up to them.

You can easily play these companies at their own game, and from experience onto is more vulnerable to this than the large hire firms.

You can of course try that, but I remember a couple of users here in the past that didn’t pay the excess in time, not because they didn’t want to, but they didn’t have it at the time and Onto was very quick to recover the cars.

With the new checks in place that Adam mentioned in another thread, actually paying on time and not having a case of Onto having to recover a car due to non-payment in your history is now a requirement to be able to hire a car from Onto so you wouldn’t be able to get another car in the future.

Thanks for all your replies.

I’ve had a look at insurance4carhire and the annual multi trip says it covers you for ‘multiple individual trips for up to 60 days at a time in the UK’.

I don’t understand how that works if you’re renting from Onto on a continuous basis. Am I being a bit thick?

Each hire period from Onto is only for up to 31 days, and you’ll receive a new agreement each month, so it won’t ever be more than the 60 days I4CH allows.

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Perfectly valid point Davey, was exactly my thought when I signed up. When I rang i4ch they confirmed that my hire agreements with onto were monthly so essentially a new hire car every month (on the contract, not the actual car) so they’d cover it no issue.

If you’re able to front £1000 on a credit card or even with your own cash it is a no brainer, as Ben states it’s a bit of an issue if you’d have to front it and didn’t have the funds. I’d personally work around that and take the risk of onto barring me, for the monthly saving and £0 excess rather than £350 it’s worth it to me!

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