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Minor accident with rental car in Ireland

We just returned from Europe a few weeks ago. We got into a minor accident in Ireland with the rental car. I side swiped a parked car. There was a medium size dent in the front left panel, we got a flat tire and there were a few scratches on the left door. Unfortunately, we did not get the full insurance on the car. It was so expensive and we thought we would be okay. Looking back on it, we would have gotten the full insurance. The rental car company we went through was Avis. Because we did not get full insurance we are responsible for the damages. They said the MOST we would be liable for regardless of how severe the damage was was 1300 Euro. When I filed the accident report at Avis the customer service rep mentioned she didn't think it would be that hefty of a cost. We were shocked when they charged us 1,000 Euro for these somewhat minor damages. Yes, they just went ahead and charged my credit card $1800. SURPRISE!!!! We got the detailed bill and they paid around 250 euro for parts and then charged us 700 euro for labor. I find that to be absolutely ridiculous for what they fixed. I feel completely taken advantage of. I already filed a dispute with my credit card company. Has anyone else had a similar situation? What did you do? They seem pretty set in stone in terms of what they are charging me. I don't know how else to go about saying "it isn't fair you charged me 700 for labor" without having some sort of reason why. What else can I do in conjunction with filing a credit card dispute? I already checked and my collision insurance through my insurance company in the states only covers collision damage to vehicles in the states and mexico. Bummmer! HELP!

Posted by
21671 posts

Lisa, I hate to say we told you so but if you had follow this site at all you would have read a number of postings with just the problem you had. And the constant advise is full coverage insurance. You cannot scratch a bumper on a car in the US without costing you a $1000. Go to a local body shop with your detailed bill and see what they believe is reasonable hour wise to install those parts, paint, etc. Then see what the hour rate is for the European labor. Some body shops in our area charge over $75/hour. If you had enough damage to flatten a tire, you could easily have damage to the wheel, brakes, CV joint with other hidden damages and that area gets expensive in a hurry. I assume you have picture and documentation of all of the damages. If they charged your credit card $1800 that is less than 1300 Euro cap that they mentioned earlier. If they charge 700 E for labor and 250 for parts, that doesn't add to 1800 US. Your numbers are off somewhere. Probably need to get those straight before arguing with the credit card company. And you don't have an argument with the credit card. It is legit charge and you agreed to it.

Posted by
21671 posts

PS. Meant to add. In the US my son's car was raked by a bumper that put a good dent in the rear passenger door, continued through the left rear quarter panel and nicked the bumper on the side. They replace to two panels - door and quarter panel, no bumper work, repaint, - it was $3300. Came within $500 of totaling the car. Body work on cars is damn expensive and more so in Europe so you may have gotten off easy.

Posted by
9363 posts

Steve, there is no Visa that covers rentals in Ireland for car insurance. World Mastercard may SAY they do, but they don't (been down that road). From what has been reported here, Amex might. But the bottom line for all credit card insurance is that you must refuse ALL rental counter insurance to get the credit card insurance. For me, that meant (when Mastercard refused to pay for my damage) a $500 charge for which I had NO insurance. If the OP had any rental counter insurance, credit card insurance will not apply.

Posted by
31437 posts

Lisa, Unfortunately, I suspect that you're responsible to pay for the damages, as that was likely in the contract that you signed when you rented the car. As the others have mentioned, the amount charged is NOT unusual for collision repair. The largest part of the bill is always labour, and that's no different in this area. I've read that Ireland is one of the most high risk areas to drive in Europe, which is probably why some credit card insurance won't cover rental cars there. I always opt for the full CDW when I rent cars in Europe these days, as I don't want to risk situations like the one you've described. I'm not quite sure why they charged you $1800? The current exchange for €1000 works out to about US$1300. Unfortunately, I think this is going to be an expensive "travel lesson" and I doubt that your credit card firm will be able to offer any help, as you signed the rental contract.

Posted by
813 posts

I've had body work done on my car in the last year here in Germany. The labor was 3/4 of the bill. Besides getting out the enormous dent, they have to prime, paint, etc etc. I don't know what the heck they did, but it was expensive and yet now you can't tell my car was smacked (and now my door closes, which it didn't after it was hit). Knowing what I paid to get my car fixed and seeing your totals, it's not at all unusual.

Posted by
5514 posts

$1800 was the estimate I got from a reputable shop when my neighbor sideswiped my parked F-150 - left a tiny, tiny ding in the driver's side front panel and a noticeable crease in the door. My tire was just fine, and that was right here in the USA. If this cost you only 1,000 Euro, you probably got a good deal. But that's not $1800 - it's closer to $1300. It's possible they added a "diminished value" charge - in other words, the car is no longer original and is worth less now because of the repairs that had to be done as a result of your accident. Or maybe you or someone else has just miscalculated the $ amount. They told you it could be 1300 Euro, they fixed it for 1000 Euro. I don't understand what grounds you think you have for a CC claim against them now unless you are challenging the $ - Euro discrepancy. I've rented a few times in Europe but was lucky not to have banged up my car, or to have run into disreputable agents who make $ by charging new customers for the dents made by old ones. Surprises like these are why I always use public transport in Europe now.

Posted by
1357 posts

I'd check the conversion rates with your credit card. We sideswiped a wall when in Ireland 2 years ago and put a big scratch down the side of the car. We had an 1100 euro deductible, covered by a separate plan. Well, surprise, surprise, the bill for the repair came to exactly 1100 euro. In the future, if you want to avoid this, you need to either get the super CDW from the rental company, or get a plan that covers the deductible that the CDW has. For the latter choice, you pay for the deductible and get reimbursed through the plan.

Posted by
27507 posts

Only €250 for a tyre and associated gubbinses? And only €750 for all that body work? It sounds like you got off easy. Sorry to say. It doesn't sound like any of that went to repairing the other car? And what about claims from that owner? It sounds like they weren't moving at the time. If I had all that and walked away only owing €1,000 I'd consider myself well lucky.

Posted by
10344 posts

Lisa: Sorry to hear about your $1,800 problem damaging the rental car in Ireland. Your credit card company probably won't be persuaded by just a general argument that "it's too high." More persuasive would be a breakdown from the rental car company of how many hours of labor and what rate, then maybe you can argue that the labor rate was unreasonable. For others here: This topic has been frequently discussed here in the past. This thread proves you really do roll the dice when you make the choice to save money by not getting CDW coverage when driving in Europe. Usually people get lucky. But sometimes not. There's anecdotal evidence that damaging a rental car is somewhat more likely when driving over there, than here: driving on the other side, or driving on narrower roads than here, smaller parking spaces, etc. It's different over there. This shows what can happen.

Posted by
165 posts

Lisa, I read your tale of woe and haven't laughed so hard since the pig ate my little brother. So much for cheeping out. For your information, labor charges are more than just wages it's really the hourly shop rate. Labour, rent, tools, electricity , property and business taxes, paint, sand paper, water, rags, accounting, not to mention profit. On top of that there is a value added tax on everything. Where I live $90 per hour plus 15% tax is about $800+ a day. Your not being taken advantage of, that bill seems fair. Just be thankful you didn't get sued by the owners of the parked car you trashed. Pay the bill, learn the lesson and move on.

Posted by
11450 posts

Lisa,, sorry that happend,, but franky you gambled and lost. Here , where I live a lady bumped my rear tail light and bumper when she backed out her driveway. I needed a new tail light cover, and they had to repaint my bumper. Bill was 975 dollars. Thank goodness we both had great insurance. Labour is going to be the main cost,, the paint isn't expensive, its the painting that is,, sorry you didn't realize that.

Posted by
2297 posts

Unfortunately, I have plenty of experience to share regarding the cost of "minor" body repairs. Had 4 fender-benders over the course of the past 12 months - and none was as cheap to repair as yours :-( We never take out extra insurance when we rent a car in Europe. Our own insurance would not cover any collision damages in Europe (haven't heard of any Northamerican insurance that does) BUT our visa does cover this. We double checked the fine print on this BEFORE leaving on vacation and had to use the coverage after a minor accident in Italy.

Posted by
9363 posts

But as has been mentioned here many times, credit card insurance does not cover Ireland. It's always wise to get the full Super CDW.

Posted by
21671 posts

I think we all, self included, have been a little harsh on Lisa BUT it illustrates very well the point that is often discussed about extra insurance in Europe. (Kent, figure out someway to bookmark this discussion) Right now, that expensive full insurance doesn't look that bad. The other question I have is who covered the damage on the other car if "she side swiped a parked car?" I have a feeling that Lisa will not be back but it would be nice if she would continue to update the situation as a good learning experience for others.

Posted by
10344 posts

"Kent, figure out someway to bookmark this discussion."
Done, Frank.

Posted by
2297 posts

Nancy, you need to read the fine print of the credit card to figure out whether you're covered in the country you're traveling or not. Every card has its own rules and exemptions. Italy, Ireland and some Eastern European countries are often - but not always - exempted. I don't know how often I've read on this board that Italy would not be covered by any cc - we have had an accident in Italy and were covered 100% with no deductible. Ireland is included as well but we haven't had to use it.

Posted by
9363 posts

I'm aware that you have to read the fine print of the credit card insurance, but I also know that, with the possible exception of World Mastercard (which is who screwed me over), there are no credit card insurances that cover Ireland.

Posted by
27507 posts

Anybody heard from Lisa since she posted the OP?

Posted by
188 posts

Please note to all, that Capital One cards now excludes from reimbursement the VAT portion of any damage claim, this can be more than 20% of the claim. Does anyone know if AMex excludes the VAT