• This topic has 19 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Aidy.
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  • Car hire and a €9000 charge
  • Premier Icon tomzo
    Free Member

    Hi all,

    Hoping to get a bit of advice / direction.

    Hired a car from Sixt (Merc A class) in Italy in September, but was involved in a car collision. Long story short, collided with a car going across a crossroads.

    At the time, the Italian police gave me an on the spot fine for failing to stop at a stop sign (note – i had stopped, and this is recorded as my statement on the police paperwork, accident paperwork, damage report). On advice of the local driver who’d we got to come and pick us up, he recommended paying the police fine to get my passport and driving licence back…

    Anyway, fast forward to today and i’ve been asked for €9000 from Sixt to repair the hire car.

    I’d taken out the basic Sixt insurance package (€1000 excess Collison damage waiver) and 3rd party Excess insurance. Sixt are saying that as I failed to stop at the stop sign, that the excess is invalid as per their T&C’s and I’m liable for all the charges…

    Seems crazy they can do this and that the insurance they offer… doesn’t cover an incident like this?! (Surely that’s the point of insurance?)

    Has anyone had any experience of this or similar? Not really sure what route to go down as Sixt are the ‘insurer’…

    Any advice really appreciated.

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    What do the T&C’s that you signed say?

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Free Member

    Probably not very helpful but we’ve had issues with hire car firms in Italy. Not as bad, but only resolved with a bit of faff. From googling at the time Italian hire companies do seem to make their own rules. First thing I’d do is cancel the credit card used for the deposit so they can’t take any money without authorisation.

    Premier Icon andylc
    Free Member

    Sounds like you need some legal advice regarding having effectively owned up to doing something you didn’t do.
    I certainly wasn’t aware that insurance became invalid the moment you make a mistake. Surely most accidents are the result of a mistake on the part of at least one party.
    You didn’t mention the exact circumstances of the accident though, was there clear fault? Not that this should invalidate the insurance.

    Premier Icon yourguitarhero
    Free Member

    Bide your time til Brexit and tell them suck your spaghetti.

    Premier Icon falkirk-mark
    Full Member

    On what basis did the police decide that you had ran the stop sign? I think this is the crux of the issue

    Premier Icon Jerome
    Full Member

    Seems to be a few horror stories of car hire in Italy.
    Is this an6 use ?


    Premier Icon funkrodent
    Free Member

    If you haven’t already done so, declare the card that you paid on lost or stolen. I believe that this is more effective than cancelling it. This should protect you from them garnishing your dosh.

    Then it’s all about your legal position. If you’ve admitted fault (i guess by paying the fine) and the insurance you took out was only 3rd party or somesuch, then you may be on a sticky wicket.

    Can you share the relevant Ts and Cs?

    Of course, as mentioned above Brexit gives you the opportunity to say arrivederci to Sixt, though you’d probably want to strike Italy from your list of future holiday destinations..

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    Payment of the fine closes the case and no appeal is possible afterwards, so that avenue is closed to you. Given that you are 3rd party only, as above, it could be a bit tricky.

    God knows what would happen post-Brexit to the enforceability of foreign judgements here. Could continue, might not or just not be worth it to them. Asking for details of repair costs etc could slow things down a bit.

    Premier Icon batfink
    Full Member

    Given that you are 3rd party only, as above

    Don’t think that’s the case. OP said:

    I’d taken out the basic Sixt insurance package (€1000 excess Collison damage waiver) and 3rd party Excess insurance.

    I read that as having the Sixt insurance, and a 3rd party policy covering the 1,000 eur excess. Maybe the “sixt basic insurance” is 3rd party only – dunno.

    As above, assuming that there is something in the T&Cs that says “if you run a stop sign your insurance is invalid” – it’s the police charge that’s the issue, so I’d be looking a way to address that. You must have some sort of recourse.

    Premier Icon 5lab
    Free Member

    The tnc seem to state that the damage waivers aren’t valid if you are grossly negligent (which you may have been) but also the most you can pay os documented somewhere (not knowing where but I imagine its in your paperwork).

    Doesn’t your 3rd party insurance cover this?

    Premier Icon FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    I’d be getting some legal advice, not asking a bunch of people who answer is to suggest you commit fraud.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    +1 on legal advice.

    Having run he gauntlet of hire care companies trying it on, don’t take a word they say as anything other than fairy tales as they try to reduce thier losses. A proper legal view is vital here.

    Premier Icon nuke
    Full Member

    I’d taken out the basic Sixt insurance package (€1000 excess Collison damage waiver) and 3rd party Excess insurance.

    I read that as having the Sixt insurance, and a 3rd party policy covering the 1,000 eur excess. Maybe the “sixt basic insurance” is 3rd party only – dunno.

    Yeah, as batfink says, sounds like what you had was 3rd party. You said they’re asking for €9k for the hire car damage but what about the cost of the damage to the car you collided with?

    Premier Icon tomd
    Full Member

    Have you got legal cover on your home insurance? May be an avenue to get some advice quickly.

    It does sound very harsh. Used to travel a lot to Italy for work and we used to pick up fines for Christ knows what through the hire company. Only country where it routinely happened. Also the most expensive country to hire a car in because of the roads / driving / parking.

    I’ve seen some pretty scary exclusions in UK hire policies not just foreign ones – it’s a minefield. One car I had off AC excluded paying out if you crashed on the roof or damaged the underside as if these could only be through gross negligence.

    Premier Icon tomzo
    Free Member

    Thanks all for the above responses, much appreciated. Just trying to get my head around it and work out what’s the best way to proceed. 9000 euro is obviously a lot of money!

    To clarify, the insurance I took out with Sixt included ‘Loss damage waiver with excess of 1000euro’ as well as third party insurance. I then took a separate policy with another insurance company, to cover the excess. (In essence, i thought Sixt would charge me 1000euro, which i would pay then claim back through my other insurance).


    In terms of on what basis did the police say I ran the stop sign… hard to know, as they didn’t speak english and I didn’t speak italian… but essentially it would have been the word of the other driver against mine + the position of the cars. I do have three people in the car with me who can testify I did stop at the junction and didn’t just head straight through without stopping.

    Here are the Italian Sixt t&c’s that have the following caveat in them…


    Anyway, I will look to legal advice. Thought worth asking on here though as feel I can’t be alone in this situation!

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    Try Moneysavingexpert Martyn Lewis is always going on about hire car insurance issues

    Premier Icon Twodogs
    Full Member

    the way I read that is that you’re liable for traffic fines, that’s all, which is fair enough.

    as for the first para, unless they can prove you deliberately drove through a stop sign, they’ve not got a leg to stand on. I’d be writing back saying, essentially “it was an accident, not deliberate or gross negligence”. I doubt you’d hear from them again.

    Premier Icon bsims
    Free Member

    You need proper legal advice from a fim that deals with foreign law.

    How do the police know you didnt stop? did they see it or another witness.

    You may not have stopped long enough – My FIL stopped in France at a stop sign and then pulled out. A police car accross the road pulled him over. He got a fine and was told in future count to 3 when you are stationary and only go after three. There may be a similar ‘unwritten’ rule in Italy for the length of stopping that alows you to say I stopped long enough to check.

    I think that SIXT’s insurance is using the fact you payed the fine as proof that your were at fault therefore the insurnace doesnt cover the incident.

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    the way I read that is that you’re liable for traffic fines, that’s all, which is fair enough.

    Me too. It says “liable without limitation for any infringement of traffic regulations” not “liable without limitation in the case of any infringement”.

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