Credit Hire: The history of free car hire, the insurance industry’s efforts to stop it and what the future holds for the credit hire industry
Stephen Evans PhD
Published by 96 SAE Ltd
It all used to be simple – if you had a car accident you could hire a car while yours was being repaired. You could successfully claim the charges, provided you did not hire a Bentley while your Morris Minor was being repaired, and did not hire it for a month if your car was in the garage for a day. There was a duty to mitigate your loss, which might mean getting a lift, the bus, or buying a pair of roller skates if that was possible.
Over the last 40 years, it all has got complicated and credit hire has become an industry itself, leading to much litigation and attempts at regulation. It all got very complicated indeed with many pitfalls for the unwary.
The author is well placed to write on this subject as he has 40 years’ experience in the business as a consultant and expert. I learned from this book that there is a significant difference between a ‘courtesy car’ and credit hire. If you have an accident and are offered a ‘free’ hire car, does ‘free’ really mean ‘free’? Who pays the costs, and when and will they get the whole charge paid back, are all considerations.
The book is not so much about the law relating to the subject but about the wider picture and economic and management issues. Dr Evans analyses the beginning of the industry and its growth over 40 years, as well as the impact of referral fees. He refers to ‘battle lines being drawn’ between insurers and claimants and tells us that credit-hire claims are ‘despised’.
The book also has appendices, listing credit hire companies, advocates which includes one solicitor, and solicitors’ firms with experience of acting in this field.
This comprehensive book will be of interest to anyone specialising in this field and also to the general reader.
David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury
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