How insurance works on a Robertsons rental vehicle


Rental Vehicle Insurance and Claims

Given that there has been some adverse publicity about customers being overcharged on insurance and damage repair particularly by rental companies with a European connection we thought our customers would like to know exactly how we handle the whole issue.

We have a damage report for every vehicle, detailing its general state of repair. When a customer comes in to rent a vehicle we give them a copy of that report and ask them to also walk around the vehicle themselves and tell us if they spot anything not already listed in the report.

Vehicles are often returned out of hours at the end of rental periods, and the keys posted through our letterbox, so if we find additional damage on a returned vehicle our first action is to speak to the customer about it.

We insure all our vehicles but customers can choose the level of excess they are willing to pay.  The minimum level is £200 and the highest is £750. Customers can pay a little extra on the rental if they wish to reduce the level of excess payment.

Obviously if there has been a collision, we would expect our customer to exchange insurer details in the same way as if they owned the car, and to get the contact details of any other party involved in the collision.

If the car has been in a collision, or sustained other damage, during the rental period customers are asked to fill in an accident form, which we then send to our insurers.

 If the customer is considered not to have been at fault for the damage the excess payment deposit is returned to them by our insurers.

We take care of any damage repairs.  We don’t have “preferred suppliers” who have to pay for the privilege.  We prefer to get estimates from local companies that we know and trust and we then supply them to our fleet insurers.

Our system is therefore as cost-effective as possible for our customers and we have confidence that repairs are carried out by trusted, local suppliers who we know will do a good job at a reasonable price.

Book ahead for rentals


When you need to book ahead for a rental

While vehicle rental for our business account customers is fairly consistent throughout the year, we do experience peak time in demand for vehicle hire from the general public.

The months from March to September see the heaviest demand and there are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, people are most likely to move house from March onwards, generally hoping to complete the process before September and the start of the new school year.  Very few people want to move home just before Christmas if they can avoid it!

This means that the demand for van hire is at its peak during the summer months as more people are choosing to organise their own moves.  Usually, when people are buying a home completion day, when the moneys are released, is also the moving day, and often people have little leeway.

It’s therefore a good idea, if your move is tied to a specific date, or is at the peak time of year to book at least a week, or better, two weeks ahead.

Secondly, summer is the time for school and club trips, whether they are for a day or longer, and this means higher demand for mini-buses.

Then, of course, once the school term has ended, there are the family days out, which means higher demand for rental cars or people carriers.

Again, it helps us to meet your requirements if you can give us a week or two’s notice for booking a vehicle during the peak times of year.

Over time, we have noticed the demand for different types of vehicles has been changing.  For example, with changes to the standard driving licence, which no longer includes mini buses, we have seen a decline in demand from the general public for these, but at the same time an increase in demand for people carriers.

This means that as a company, we have to keep an eye on the trends and adjust our fleet accordingly.  But we have never let a customer down. We have branches throughout Suffolk and Essex so we can move a vehicle from one branch to another where it is needed.

Failing that, if we are completely fully booked, our MD will go to an auction and buy another vehicle!

Renting a vehicle – What are the formalities?


What are the formalities when you are renting a vehicle?

Depending on whether you are renting as a private individual or as a business, there are several formalities to complete before you collect your vehicle.

Unless the vehicle is going to be used outside the UK, there are no restrictions on mileage.  If you do want to take a vehicle abroad you will need our permission.


For general day to day use business people are always on our insurance, although local authorities and businesses can also use their own insurance.

If a business is using its own cover, we would need to see a copy of the insurance certificate. Once a vehicle is assigned to the company, they would need to inform their insurer of its registration number.

While there are no specific restrictions on use, we do ask the purpose for which the hirer will be using the vehicle. This is particularly the case for vans and trucks.  We would not supply a brand new vehicle if a business was going to use it to transport builders’ rubble for example.

We expect our business customers to check their drivers’ licence details with the DVLA.

Personal rent

Before we agree to rent a vehicle to a private user we do a licence check with the DVLA on the customer’s behalf.  It is important because it can affect the insurance cover.

Often people don’t know how to do it or do not have the time, so we do it in-house as it can be a frustrating and lengthy process. It can be difficult to get onto the DVLA website, which can be down for several days for maintenance from time to time. Occasionally using the website for no obvious reason there is no trace of a particular licence.

If that happens we will ask the customer to bring their licence into the office and then try the alternative checking method of telephoning the DVLA.  This has its own problems when we have to wait in a queue – an expensive option at 95p per minute! – but not a cost we pass on to our customers.

We need to check people’s licences because our rental vehicles are covered by our own insurance and licences bearing endorsements with more than 2 speeding or parking offences may need clearance from our insurance company.

There are other conditions attached to renting vehicles and you can check them in the terms section of our website.