The dog days of summer have arrived. It’s vacation time, and for tens of thousands of Irish-born and Irish Americans, that means a trip to the Auld Sod.
For many visitors, an essential part of the trip is renting a car. Unfortunately, that simple transaction is often leaving U.S. visitors to Ireland upset and angry. The problem: a number of credit card companies no longer automatically provide collision damage insurance for rented cars. That means renters are being asked to make a payment, about £10 a day, to obtain the coverage. That’s in addition to the actual cost of renting the car. So, if one visits Ireland for two weeks, it may mean an extra £140. It’s not small change.
Last February, in the run-up to the holiday season, the Irish Echo published a story on this issue. A number of credit card companies said, in essence, that because of damage claims on cars rented in Ireland, they were no longer providing the coverage.
But now there’s a new twist. Patrick Croghan, a Roscommon man living in Peekskill, N.Y., told the Echo last week that his credit card company, Visa, informed him that it did not cover the insurance costs due, according to Croghan, to the non-cooperation of the Irish fleet owners with the credit card companies.
So the question is: Are the credit card companies making a business decision to refuse the insurance coverage because of the losses they say they incur, or is someone, somewhere, making a killing pocketing the money visitors must pay for collision damage insurance? In other words, where’s the money going?
Croghan has written to Ireland’s tourism minister, James McDaid. We await the minister’s reply. In the meantime, those who promote Irish tourism would do well to remember that their success in selling Ireland to the Americans can quickly become undone by upsetting the very visitors they are now so successfully enticing across the Atlantic.