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News Room

Are Rental Cars Insured For A Safari?

Melissa Cohen
2017-09-12
Are you planning on taking a rental vehicle on safari? Have you read the fine print of car hire companies? We investigate the ins and outs!
Have you ever taken a game drive in one of South Africa's National Parks? Perhaps you have taken a rental car into a game reserve and been faced with an incident similar to the video below? We find out what happens if you rent a car, take it for a game drive, and found yourself in a similar, unlikely incident. Who would pay for the damages? Car rental companies do not insure their vehicles, they use the waiver to 'self insure'. This means that when you, as a holiday maker, rent a car, you are essentially insuring it too. This clause basically ensures that customers know that they are liable for all risks when they use a rental vehicle.

Standard Vs. Super Waiver

The renter is allowed to choose which waiver option they would prefer to take out when they rent the vehicle. The standard waiver means that the customer would pay a lot more in the event that the car is in an accident or is damaged. If the customer takes out a super waiver however, this will mean that they will pay a smaller portion of the excess of the damage. The aim of the waiver is to make the customer liable for some of the damage, and the rental company liable for the rest. According to Imperial's Brand Manager, Amy Davis, the waiver clause is there to ensure that the customer is protected.
"Each case will be assessed based on circumstances of the incident and the appropriate processes will be followed according to the standard terms and conditions," explains Davis.

What Does A Waiver Not Cover? 

When arriving at the airport and fetching a car from the rental agency, most people probably don't read the T's and C's. Many of these companies never alert you to the fine print of the scenarios that don't fall under the waiver. Here is a list of instances that aren't covered by the waiver:
  • Gravel road;
  • Hitting a pot hole;
  • Water damage;
  • Damage to the under carriage;
  • Not reporting an accident in time.
Read more about getting car insurance in another country

So What About A Safari? 

According to Davis, rental companies don't stipulate that you can't take the vehicle into a game reserve. Although this is all good and well, you need to be aware that driving on bad roads could be a huge problem. In this instance, you may want to consider possibly renting an SUV as you may find yourself travelling on uneven ground. However, it is best to speak to the rental company and ask them for some advice.
"Our waivers are standard regardless of where the incident takes place. We recommend that travellers review the car rental companies Terms and Conditions regarding situations of negligence or driving on unsuitable roads when considering their risk," adds Davis.
There is nothing stopping you from taking your rented vehicle on a road trip, however just be aware that you would have a better chance of being charged by an elephant!
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