What you need to know when hiring a campervan

If there is one certainty we can predict in these unpredictable COVID times, it is that the great Aussie road trip will undergo a major resurgence.

As borders slowly start to open up around the country, we are already starting to see interest in the idea of self-drive holidays taking off.

While many of Australia’s ‘grey nomads’ have long partaken in this form of travel, there will be many newcomers to this form of travel this year and next and many won’t be too keen to outlay the capital required to buy a campervan or motorhome outright.

Hiring one of these vehicles is a great way to start, but there are a number of things you should know, before you start your planning.

Book ahead
You might think there loads of options when it comes to hiring campervans and motorhomes, and there are, but as we have already stated, you are not going to be the only one who has this idea, so you will still have to book your trip well in advance.

If you are planning to travel during the popular Christmas period, the simple fact is you may already be too late.

Usually rental companies have about half of their fleet automatic and half manual. If you are only licensed to drive an automatic car, you have already cut out half of your options, which can mean that you need to lock in your vehicle even earlier.

What size?
If you are a couple going on a road trip, a two-berth vehicle will comfortably sleep you both. Most campervans only cater for up to four sleeping berths, so if you are travelling in a group larger than that you will need to start looking at motorhome options.

Check what is included
Different hire companies provide different inclusions with their motorhomes. You want to look for a package with as many inclusions as possible to cut down your hassle. At the very least you should make sure that linen and bedding, and all of your kitchen equipment is provided as part of the hire. Other inclusions less likely to be included that you should ask about are camp tables and chairs.

Age restrictions
If you or your partner are over 75 it is more than likely that you will need to provide a current medical certificate to confirm that you are fit to drive.

Check the product disclosure statement
Read the company’s product disclosure statement (PDS) or rental contract. This document outlines everything you need to know about the campervan, your responsibilities as the renter and the services the company will provide to you. It will also discuss what you need to do if you break something or your vehicle breaks down.

Be wary of insurance
Just like hiring a car, you will be presented with various excess options when you hire a motorhome. While there will be offers that provide you with the opportunity to reduce the excess that you pay in case of an accident, these can often be quite expensive, so it is worth settling on a figure that best suits your budget and risk profile.

You will already be covered by third-party insurance if you are hit by someone else, but you can be hit with a very high excess charge if you are the cause of the accident.

Basic insurance only covers you for any mechanical or electrical issues while on the road. However, if you choose to upgrade your insurance, any damage to your windscreen and tyres will be covered too.

Campervan rental companies do not offer insurance on the undercarriage or roof of the vehicle, and any damage to those will come directly out of your pocket.

Roadside assistance is also included in most hire agreements.

Have you ever hired a motorhome to tour Australia? What did you think of the experience? Did it encourage you to take more self-drive holidays?

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Written by Ben

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