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Parliamentary questions
29 May 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Sir Graham Watson (ALDE)

 Subject: Car hire agreements

Many citizens, when hiring a car, are offered both a ‘collision damage waiver’ and a further ‘excess insurance policy’ to give them peace of mind whilst the vehicle is in their care. Broadly speaking, a collision damage waiver (CDW) is a policy that covers the hirer of a rental vehicle for incidents such as theft or damage by accident, vandalism or weather (such as hail), meaning that rather than the customer paying for this while the vehicle is in their care, the insurance will cover the cost to the rental company.

CDW may not, however, cover every eventuality — such as cracked windscreens — or may not cover damage beneath a specific threshold, such as EUR 500. An additional excess policy can be taken out to cover these eventualities.

Many consumers take out CDW when initially booking the rental, only to have their attention drawn to the need for a further excess policy by representatives when collecting the vehicle.

Although consumers are usually free to decide which policy to opt for, some may prefer the up-front peace of mind of the more comprehensive CDW and excess policy when making their reservation. Many consumers are either unaware of what CDW does and does not cover, or are unaware when making their initial booking that excess insurance is available.

1. Is the Commission aware of this business practice?

2. Will it consider investigating it further, to ensure consumers are able to make informed decisions about comprehensive insurance when making their rental booking?

3. Does the Commission see such practices as contradicting Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts?

 OJ C 173 E, 19/06/2013
Last updated: 14 June 2012Legal notice