Broker clamps down on unwarranted rental van repair costs

Forward-thinking fleet insurance specialist, O1 Insurance, is stepping in to repair significant damage to the finances of self-employed delivery drivers, by shaking up the status quo when it comes to rental van claims handling.

O1 Insurance estimates that repairs to damaged rental vans and delivery vehicles have been inflated by the major vehicle rental companies by between 30% and 50% for many years, with this providing a major source of income for the big-name vehicle rental players.

It also says that the amount of unjustified overpayment on rental van damage for delivery agents alone simply cannot be estimated but is undoubtedly a colossal sum.

And, shockingly, rental companies have made no attempt to assess whether the delivery driver was even at fault for the accident or incident that caused the damage, charging them regardless of the facts.

Now, O1 Insurance is putting an end to the malpractice of rental hire companies hiring out vehicles to delivery drivers in the full knowledge that even a minor scratch or scrape could potentially cost that driver double the actual justified cost of repair.

This is a breath of fresh air for those working as self-employed delivery drivers in the gig economy. Through O1 Insurance’s service, they can indirectly have the repair invoices with which they are presented, having returned a damaged hire vehicle, challenged and validated.

O1 Insurance will manage the day-to-day cost of repairs for delivery service partners, who typically pass repairs’ costs straight on to their drivers.  In this way, O1 Insurance will reduce the financial burden handed on to the delivery drivers who are keeping much of Britain’s distribution network moving, on what are often tight budgets.

01 estimates its repairs validation service could reduce damage costs by 30-50% for more than four-in-ten clients hiring out delivery vehicles from big and medium-sized rental companies.  All repair cost invoices from rental companies are firstly reviewed to see if they are justified and for a sum expected for the type of damage incurred.  Whether or not the accident or incident is at at-fault one, with the delivery driver culpable, or a no-fault one, caused by a third-party from whom costs should be claimed, is also ascertained.

Any missing documentation from the rental company is flagged up and there are checks in place to see whether or not repair documents match the costs submitted.  Photographic and other evidence is also requested and analysed.

The service assesses whether the claim for damages is in line with the rental agreement and the contract signed by the driver.  The best settlement terms are then agreed with the rental company.

Having this third-party service in place is a real bonus for delivery service providers, typically too busy to check repair costs, and with too great a volume of vans being rented out or returned to notice how invoices are being inflated.  Some also lack the automotive knowledge to challenge the invoices with which they are presented.

Ian McCarron, speaking on behalf of O1 Insurance, says: “The rental companies have got away with inflating invoices for repairs to hired-out delivery vehicles for far too long and there is even an argument to say delivery drivers are entitled to a refund of money paid out, without justification, on past claims, just as we have seen with regard to other financial products that have penalised the consumer unjustly.

“Going forward, however, there is now our solution for those who want to be certain that what they are being asked to pay for damage is actually a fair amount.  According to past results, we estimate that taking up this service will save the delivery driver community a colossal sum collectively and significant sums individually.

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