17 June 2012
We were on holiday in the Caribbean, visiting the island of St Martin/St. Maarten and renting a car from one of the big names in car hire. We asked for all the insurance available, to make sure we were not left to pay for damage, as the roads are not that good. Despite taking all the insurance we were still liable for the first $500 dollars of any damage.
If you don’t take the extended insurance, and they don’t tell you about it, then you can be held responsible for the full value of the car if it gets stolen. It’s a small island and you wonder where they would go with a stolen car, but they do get stolen, especially the rented cars, as the number plate indicates it’s arental. We left nothing in the car but went for a walk along the beach on the Sunday around 12.00, the beach was getting busy and the car park was filling up. When we got back we found the car door open, and the rear quarterlight completely missing (Japanese car).
They had just levered out the whole window, it must have taken seconds. There was nothing to steal, but we searched and searched and couldn’t find the window. Back at the car hire company, 40 minutes drive away they just gave us another car but charged us $100 for the window glass. We had insurance through Globelink, but this kind of theft (theft of a window??) was not covered. The learning is, be careful about car insurance on these small islands, check what’s covered and buy as much insurance as possible, and even then you could lose out.