We took a road trip through Tasmania. Since Zac drove all throughout Australia, I thought I would give him a break and drive here. This was my first time driving on the left side of the road. We got into the airport at Launceston and headed to the car rental counter. After listening to the woman explain to me that unless we spent an extra $35AUD per day any damage to the car would be $4000. Any damage - could be a scratch or could be totaling the car. It doesn't matter. It's $4000. Feeling secure in the coverage from our credit card, we decline the additional expense and set out on our adventure.
Our B&B was 13 minutes from the airport. I tell you this because the first 12 of those minutes was great. I was cruising along really getting used to this driving business. I should also tell you it was super late at night and pitch black. We were heading into Launceston, which is quite a hilly town. We spotted our B&B and found the driveway - so excited! "Wow, this is steep, and really dark. And wow, really narrow". Pop! Scrape! "WTF?!!" I was able to pull into the parking space ahead (that was illuminated) and saw that I had punctured the tire and scraped and dented the hubcap. Apparently someone thought it was a great idea to put large rocks on the left side of the drive that neither Zac nor I saw as we were pulling in.
My heart sank. I started crying and totally freaking out. All I could hear was the woman saying "$4000". This was devastating when we have such a narrow financial margin. A $4000 charge is our entire budget for a month of travel. I couldn't believe this was happening.
After a sleepless night, I called the car company to ask for some clarification on the $4000 charge. The guy on the phone confirmed that yep, I had indeed understood properly. Then I called American Express. I was certain the coverage could help us get out of this. Nope. it seems their car coverage does not apply to New Zealand or Australia. More feelings of vomit.
So, while Zac was outside trying to put the spare on the car that was on a sharp hill, I started calling tire companies. The place we chose was super friendly but they had to have the tire shipped from their location in Hobart! They expected to have it there around 2pm. So, we changed our plans and waited for the tire to arrive. They didn't have any hubcaps for our car so we had to go to the dealer to try to buy one.
In the meantime, I was still crying and freaking out about the money. I wouldn't drive the car. I couldn't drive the car. In the end everything turned out ok. We paid about $250 total for the tire and hubcap and went on our way to our next destination.
We took tons of photos when we returned the car (something you should ALWAYS do BTW) to ensure we were covered with evidence should the need arise. Happily, that need never did arise and we never heard from the car company again.