My wife and I intend to spend 2 weeks in Australia and to rent a car for most of that period. We will be travelling in the country between Sydney - Canberra - blue mountains - Sydney. We do not expect to be travelling anywhere expected to be overly rugged (and rental car agreements prohibit any unsealed road travel apart from short sections) but Australia being Australia 'anything can happen'.
On reading the fine print of the hire agreements of even the top comprehensive insurance cover along with all available waivers, offered by companies we have looked into, I find that you are not covered at all for underbody damage or immersion. Some don't cover roll over, windscreen breakage and tyres. Apparently 'comprehensive' has a different meaning in Oz?
[Relevantish aside: Last year we hired a Britz camper in Melbourne via a 3rd party re-renter. (Most Britz vans get rented that way - cheaper than Britz - you actually deal with Britz and never meet the "renter'. We drove it to Alice Springs via various interesting places. They offered comprehensive no-surprises insurance, no excess etc. I read the fine print. Single vehicle roll-over damage was excluded. I asked. Oh yes, you can have that for xxx extra. NO mention on their site or anywhere. We asked how many single vehicle roll overs they had. "Oh - maybe 4 to 6 a month - the vans tend to get caught in crosswinds." We took the extra cover.]
At least one independent company offers "comprehensive excess cover" but in the list of extras that they do offer they do not mention immersion and when we contact them for clarification they seem to lose the ability to understand English.
We do not intend to immerse the car, damage the underbody, roll it, damage its tyres or break its windscreen. Except for the last we've not managed anything on that list in a rental car in many decades of occasional hire. [Descending blue mountains, full seal, left (curbside) lane - bang - no windscreen]. But if any of those things happens while we are behaving lawfully and sensibly, and in Oz they are not absolutely unlikely, we don't want an unexpected bill for $5,000 to $30,000, as is potentially possible.
Question: What we'd like is a straight forward, no hidden now-you-pay-for-a-whole-new-car surprises comprehensive insurance policy at a rate that is sensible given our record and experience. Any suggestions or comments.
One only company whose fine print I read had a clause that required you to pay full daily rental at full rate including surcharges which would be irrelevant (eg 2nd driver, GPS if hired etc) for all days a car was off the road being repaired. Not covered by excess. Bye.