on the road

How to avoid car hire scams

What is a car hire scam?

If your car needs repairs after a not-at-fault accident, the insurer of the at-fault driver may offer you a hire car to keep you on the road.

But sometimes, scammers attempt to get involved in the claims process1. They may approach you directly, or use paid ads in online search results to appear as if they’re affiliated with an insurer.

Avoid hire cars offered by an unverified source – accepting one could lead to your car being sent to an unauthorised repairer or held in storage, incurring further delays and additional costs.

What to do after a collision

  • Stay calm and carefully assess the situation.
  • Check if anyone is injured – if they are, call 000.
  • If you can do it safely, move your car out of the way and turn on your hazard lights.
  • If the road is blocked, call the police.

When exchanging details with other parties, keep the conversation focused on the relevant information. Avoid assigning blame, as this can add stress.

Once you have the information, contact your insurance company. If you’re insured with GIO, you can make a claim online in moments.

Make a claim

Not-at-fault car hire

If you’re insured with GIO and your car cannot be safely driven or is in for repairs following a covered incident, and it’s clear you weren’t at fault, we’ll arrange and pay for reasonable car hire costs using our trusted hire car providers. We’ll do this until your car is repaired and returned, or your claim is settled. All you need to do is provide the at-fault driver’s:

  • name
  • address, and
  • vehicle's registration number.

This is part of GIO’s Comprehensive or Fire, Theft & Third Party Property Damage and Third Party Property Damage cover (where the claim is covered by the uninsured drivers additional feature).

There’s also the option to purchase optional Hire Car cover that can help out after an event that isn’t a not-at-fault incident when you have a GIO Comprehensive cover. This optional cover entitles you to cover for reasonable costs for a ‘similar make or model’ hire car for up to 21 days, paying up to $75 a day until your car is returned undamaged, we repair your car and return it to you, or we settle your claim. Read the PDS for details.

Car hire scams to look out for

Opportunistic third parties may pose as representatives from the insurer of the at-fault driver, and offer to take care of repairs and provide a replacement vehicle at ‘no cost’.

However, they’re often part of a network involving tow truck drivers, repairers, claims management companies, vehicle hire companies, and lawyers. They may ask motorists to sign an ‘Authority to Act’ or Car Hire Rental Agreement on a tablet, then take their damaged vehicle away, leaving the motorist unaware of its location or the expected duration of repairs.

You may end up being responsible for additional costs at inflated rates. Be careful, and only work with trusted and verified sources.

Search engine ad spoofing

Online scams can involve buying ads that rank at the top of search pages. Stressed accident victims may search for terms like “GIO claims”, and click on an ad thinking it will provide details of the insurer. Instead, it may actually be a separate claims management company without any connection to the insurer.

These operators may use deceptive language to gain the trust of the caller – people who were previously scammed report they thought they were talking to their insurer, or the insurer of the at-fault driver.

The scam may lead to:

  • vehicles being taken and impounded
  • substandard car repairs with no choice of repairer
  • claims delayed or declined
  • personal details shared with unrelated organisations
  • charges for activities that would be managed at no or reduced cost by an insurer, and
  • involvement in legal proceedings to recover costs.

How to avoid being scammed

  • Take care when dealing with insurers and other service providers.
  • Make sure you are dealing with the insurer by verifying their name in the web address, and check your policy documents for contact details.
  • Confirm who you are speaking to when contacted after an accident. Before signing any documents, read them carefully and ask for copies.
  • If you find out you have been misled into believing that an insurer had organised your repair or hire car services, contact the actual insurer immediately.

In short: know who you are dealing with and read all documents thoroughly before signing.

Read more:

1 Third Party Claims Managers | 9news.com

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available

This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.