I've booked a rental with Omega but in reviewing their convoluted sample contract on their website (www.omegarentalcars.com/assets/contract.pdf) it shows that if you are found to be:
1) at fault for any accident in the rental then you are responsible for the entire amount of the damage to the car *regardless of the excess amount* and *regardless of CDW purchase.* This is not at all how their insurance is marketed on the "client-facing" parts of their website.
2) in contravention of any road regulation or bylaw, then all insurance is null and void - which means if I am trying to pass a camper and move 4 inches to the wrong side of the centreline on a narrow road to try to get a sightline on the road ahead and a truck carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars of merchandise sideswipes me and runs off the road, I am now personally liable for those hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Similarly, what if I have a stroke and cross the centreline? I'm perhaps not "at-fault" in a medical emergency but I am in violation of a road bylaw, so presumably all insurance is void.
At home, my car insurance would cover me in these situations - there's a difference between gross negligence (driving drunk) and ordinary negligence (not using a turn signal, stopping ahead of a stop line, speeding by 4km/h). But in all cases of ordinary negligence where one breaks a road bylaw and causes any damage to your own rental car or the property of anyone else, according to Omega you're now on the hook personally for unlimited damages.
Really not "upfront and honest" as they proclaim to be. But this is how all car rental companies in New Zealand do business apparently.
To try to mitigate this risk, I've looked into my credit card insurance (no third-party liability there) and my own personal car insurance (not valid outside of North America). I've been trying to find a New Zealand company that sells rental car insurance separately, but I can't find anything so far.
I've seen so much talk on these forums about this but the advice amounts to the supremely unhelpful "drive according to the laws and you won't have any problems" or "know what you're signing before you sign it!" Does anyone saying this substitute their knowledge of road rules and liability laws for an appropriate insurance policy when it comes to their personal vehicle?
In lieu of cancelling my rental and taking the bus... I wanted to ask: are there third parties I can buy car rental insurance from in New Zealand that covers me regardless of fault or (ordinary) negligence?