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Red sign that says 'reduce speed' on a bend overlooking valley.

Our Tips on Car Hire

Hiring a car when travelling abroad, can be a real godsend providing, freedom, flexibility and the opportunity to go off the beaten track.

But as an industry car hire companies suffer low levels of confidence. In research published by Which Travel at the end of 2019, it found that 63% of car hire customers worry about being ripped off by their rental company.

What are the most common pitfalls, and how can you avoid them:

  1. Always shop around – sounds obvious but you’ll get a better deal by booking through brokers/ third party websites. Book well in advance – more choice, online and early bird discounts will deliver a much better deal. Also factor in the number of additional drivers when comparing prices. Check age restrictions – car rental companies charge a premium for renting to under 21’s.
  2. All flexibility comes at a price: Flexibility always carries supplementary costs. Always and I mean always read the small print before booking.
    1. Always check their mileage policy before paying a deposit. Avoid getting stiffed by opting for “unlimited mileage” – without unlimited you’ll pay an excess on every mile above the stated mileage limit
    2. The Which Report recommends opting for full – to -full fuel deal which means you pick up the car fully fuelled, and you return it fully fuelled. Keep your receipt after refuelling. Some companies charge a refuelling fee if you can’t produce proof that you visited a petrol station within 10km of the drop off point!
    3. And finally, if your plan is to pick up in one location and drop back the car in another (or another country), remember you’ll be charged extra so factor that into your budget when booking.
  3. Buy your excess insurance before you travel: Although insurance is included in the basic cost of hiring a car, you are still potentially liable for a large excess if you’re involved in a crash. Car hire companies routinely offer a pricey product known as a super collision damage waiver. Buying cover before you leave/buying it independently is usually cheaper than buying it from the car hire firm - you’ll often get a better deal and more comprehensive cover too.
  4. Always check the car for damage before heading off: Don’t rely on the hire staff when they say there is no damage, the onus is on you to inspect the vehicle to make sure any damages are already noted. Examine every panel, remembering to look under the bumpers. Check the windscreen for small cracks, and the wheel hubs for scratches. Make sure the spare wheel is where it should be and is fully pumped up. Take pictures and if you miss something do get in touch with the rental staff and have it noted on your file.
  5. Don’t dump and run: Before dropping back your hired car, clean it thoroughly, inside and out to avoid being stiffed for cleaning charges. Give yourself enough time to wait and have the car inspected before leaving. If this isn’t possible take pictures on your phone as back up in case at a later stage you, you’re hit with penalties.

Full article from Which Travel available here: