Hiring a car can afford flexibility and freedom. Here are some tips to help ensure it remains a stress free experience.
Compare like with like to ensure you get the best deal
(Although a headline cost may seem lower than the competition, added extras can quickly raise the price)
Check out your insurance options
When driving any vehicle, you are legally required to have adequate motor insurance in place.
When you hire a vehicle you can either insure this on your existing motor insurance policy, if the vehicle is hired in the UK, or you can utilise the hirer’s own motor insurance policy. If you hire a vehicle outside of the UK you will almost certainly have to use the hirer’s motor insurance policy.
These policies generally have a high excess (the amount you have to pay in event of a claim). The car hire firm will offer you an excess protection policy. Its purpose is to protect you from having to pay the excess in the event of a claim, in exchange for a premium. These policies, often referred to as daily excess insurance policies, represent a valuable income stream for car hire firms and you may be able to source a cheaper excess protection policy from a third party, often with enhanced cover. Buying from a different insurance provider is perfectly legitimate, albeit less profitable for the car hire company, so ignore being told it is not valid.
Check the fuel policy
Is the car provided with a full or half full tank? Are you required to return the car with a full tank? Are refunds provided for unused fuel? If you don’t return the car with a full tank, the car hire company’s policy may be to charge you to fill up the tank with their own fuel at prices above market rates,so, be prepared.
Check age restrictions
An additional charge may be applied for drivers under the age of 21 and sometimes 25 years old. There may also be restrictions for older drivers. Make sure you are clear who is covered to drive the car.
Check mileage limits and one way fees
Most car hire companies allow you to drop your car off at a different location from where you picked it up. But check if there is a one way fee or extra charges.
Check you’ve got what you asked for
It is the car hire company’s duty to provide you with the car you booked. If they don’t have the car you requested they are legally obliged to provide you with a replacement at no extra cost, even if the supplied car is superior to the one booked. If the car is inferior you are entitled to a partial refund.
Check for damage
Take digital photos before leaving. Take a note of any marks or damage and have this signed and dated by an employee. When returning the car check the vehicle with an employee and ask for a receipt that states there was no new damage and therefore no charges to pay.
Happy holiday and happy motoring!
Any advice or information in this blog is general advice only. It does not take into account your personal circumstances: please do not take action based solely on this information.