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BE CAREFUL SELF DRIVING IN AUSTRALIA

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Car rental on holiday is a great way to have freedom to explore a destination, at your own pace!  But as with all travel you need to plan carefully and abide by the rules of the country you’re travelling in.

Each rental agreement will have inclusions/exclusions, and your documentation will detail this.  These details were specifically important for me…

Make sure your travel insurance covers the excess on your rental vehicle, or failing this, you pay the fee direct to the rental company to reduce the excess

You have a credit card in the name of the person renting the vehicle

You have sufficient funds on your credit card for any bonds required by the car rental company

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My quick story is when I travelled to Western Australia for a honeymoon road trip.  Firstly, all the termite mounds were an awesome sight, but I was surprised by the number of dead animals (mainly goats) on the side of the road – we were way out in the outback and everyone was really sticking to the speed limit and most people were in larger SUV size cars. I just thought people would drive really fast because there is nothing around for miles..this was not the case at all! We were in a Toyota Corolla and while I knew we were not allowed to travel on unsealed roads, and was aware of the dangers of driving at dust/dawn/night…when the animals might just find their way to the only piece of road for hundreds of miles…so planned carefully around this.

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We had just arrived at Monkey Mia, where you can see and feed wild bottlenose dolphins  - something we got to do the following morning. But firstly, that afternoon we were going to the Blue Lagoon about 20 minutes away.   It was starting to get a little late, but was still very light when out of the bushes bounded a large kangaroo, I knew I couldn’t stop safely (really at all) so braced and it smashed completely into the side of the car and it was killed by the impact.   The front of the car and the drivers door were dented up and upon double-checking my car rental agreement confirmed the excess was AUD$4000!  Thank goodness I had travel insurance to cover this!

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I needed to contact the car rental company within 24 hours of the accident which I was able to do on their 0800 number, and was also able to pop into the Avis office at Carnavon to file a damage report, something slightly vital as we were dropping the car off after hours so would not have been able to do this at the end of our rental. The car was still drivable so kept it for the rest of our trip.

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I needed to get the damage report and cost for repairs for my insurance claim and everything was quickly sorted out once I returned to New Zealand – all very easy if you read your documentation and follow the rules of your rental. Happy driving!

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