There are many advantages to home exchange, including the possibility of concluding a car exchange. But how does this work in practice? What are the things to know and the points to discuss with the exchange partner?
If home exchange is an increasingly successful mode of travel worldwide, it is partly due to the savings it brings: not only do exchangers enjoy free accommodation, much more comfortable than a hotel room, but they also have access to a whole series of other benefits. For example, they will be able to use their exchange partners’ bicycles, children’s games and toys, surfboards or ski equipment, and sometimes even the car.
If you are also considering exchanging your vehicles, here are some tips. Because no matter how much you are on the same page and how much you trust your trading partners, no one is immune to an incident or misunderstanding.
Contact your insurance company
First of all, check with your insurance company or broker to find out the exact terms and conditions of your insurance contract and adapt it, if necessary, to ensure that you are well covered.
Write down the details that seem obvious to you
Arrival date, departure date, names and contact details of exchange partners, numbers, driver’s license number, etc. All these details may seem obvious, but they can be useful in the case of unforeseen circumstances. Do not hesitate to ask your exchange partners for a **copy of their driving licence: **In the case of a ticket, this will allow you to complete the form to designate the driver at the time of the offence, to avoid having to pay the fine yourself and especially to lose points on your licence, if you have a point licence.
Share information about your car insurance
These details may seem obvious, but in the case of an incident, you will be happy to have the necessary information. On your car exchange contract, make a note of everything related to your car insurance (name and contact information of your insurance company or broker, policy number, etc.) and the characteristics of your car (registration, make, model, year of construction, etc.). You will also ensure that you provide your exchange partner with a copy of the insurance documents.
Also, do not forget to specify, if applicable, who, your hosts or you, will have to cover the insurance costs (a provision that applies mainly to long-term exchanges).
Define the costs of use
In the operating costs, there are on the one hand the costs of normal use: tyre wear, water, oil, etc. These are generally the responsibility of the vehicle owner. As for other operating costs, try to write down what you have decided: fuel (e. g. the tank will be full at the beginning and end of the exchange), cleaning (inside/outside) the car, etc.
Define a mileage and distance limit
This option is particularly interesting if your exchange partners come from far away and may intend to “make the most of” their trip by visiting as many things in the region or even the country as possible.
Don’t forget to take into account any cultural differences: 500 km for an American or an Australian and 500 km for a Belgian, it’s not exactly the same thing. It is better to agree from the outset by indicating a limit mileage in the car exchange contract, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises on the way back.
The same applies to the distance limit: you can, for example, agree together that your hosts will not be able to drive more than x km from your house with your vehicle.
The breakdown blow
Because no one is immune to mechanical failure, remember to clearly indicate in your car exchange contract that is responsible for the cost of repairing the vehicle in the case of a breakdown: is the failure due to normal wear and tear on the car? In this case, it is logical that the owner of the vehicle should bear the repair costs. In the case of a breakdown or damage caused by the driver’s negligence, however, it is the driver who will logically have to bear the repair costs.
Also be sure to indicate the procedure to follow in case of necessary repairs: will your host have to ask you for your agreement before starting the repairs? As the other would say, prevention is better than cure…
In the case of an accident
It is important to clearly indicate in writing in your car exchange contract who will cover the costs not covered by the insurance company in the case of an accident.
Finally, it may be useful to indicate in your contract the contact details of certain services that your exchange partner may need to use: roadside assistance service, garage, contact person, etc.