Car Hire Tips
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Rental Safety - NEW TIP
When you pick up your car make sure you become familiar
with your vehicle and check for damage.
Outside the vehicle
Check front, back and side
paintwork and bumpers for scratches and dents.
Check the windows for chips
Check inside the boot for any
Check the wheels and hub caps
Inside the vehicle
About to drive
Adjust mirrors (including side
Adjust the seat.
Make sure you know how to turn
on/off the following before you drive away:
Make sure you know how to open
and close the fuel cap.
Make sure you know what fuel
to fill up with (diesel or petrol).
Make sure you have the emergency
phone number to call if the car breaks down.
Compare Pickup Locations -
When researching for the best deal online be sure
to check if your pickup location makes a difference
to your overall price. Picking up your hire car from
the airport maybe the most convenient but is it the
best value for money?
Even choosing a location slightly away
from the airport can make a big difference to the
On May 27, the price of a midsized car
booked 2 weeks in advance from a London airport location
was 22% more expensive than booking a non-airport
location less than 10 miles away from the airport.
Check the price difference between hiring
a car from the airport and hiring from your final
destination, that difference could have a big impact
on your holiday budget.
At the pickup desk, ask for a larger, roomier car.
The smaller, fuel efficient cars are often in high
demand so car rental companies will sometimes upgrade
for free. WARNING: Some car rental agents have autonomy
when it comes to the price of upgrades and they may
try and push expensive upgrades instead.
enough funds for the deposit and your holiday?
When you rent a car, the car rental company will 'authorise'
a deposit normally amounting to a few hundred pounds.
Make sure you have a card with enough capacity for
this deposit and your holiday spending money.
money and rent what you REALLY need
Chose the model that suits your needs and remember
you are not actually buying the car. Do you really
need a 4x4 or a convertible? Do you need a family
saloon when a medium sized hatchback will suffice?
A 4x4 can be more than double the price of a medium
sized family model.
Car rental firms are bound by law to rent out vehicles
that can legally be driven on the road. That means
you are insured. But don't expect the same level of
cover as you might have with your own car. That said;
READ THE SMALL PRINT as the standard insurance is:-
1. likely to have a large excess (which is the amount
you have to pay in the event of an accident before
the policy will pay for the damage)
2. unlikely to cover you if you accidentally kill
or injure yourself or a passenger
3. unlikely to cover any damage to the tyres, roof
or windscreen of the hire car
4. may not even cover theft of your vehicle
of additional insurance
Collision damage waiver (CDW) - The basic
cover that pays for damage or replacement of a vehicle
if you have an accident. This will cover you for a
considerable sum, but will only do so after you have
paid an initial, agreed amount yourself first.
Theft waiver (TW) - Added insurance
to cover the theft of the hire car. Also known as
Super collision damage waiver (SCDW)
- Covers tyres, roof and windscreen.
Personal insurance (PI) - Insures
against the cost if you accidentally kill yourself
or a passenger.
Personal effects cover (PEC)
- Covers property that has been stolen from a vehicle.
insurance in advance
If you do decide to take additional insurance then
plan ahead and get insurance before you pickup your
car. Otherwise, you have to accept the car rental
company's policies at inflated prices, or drive away
with no protection against a host of potential problems.
money on insurance
Check whether some of the insurance is already covered
by insurance agreements you may already have. E.g.
via credit card, travel insurance or your personal
Renting from the airport is almost always more
expensive than renting in town. Check if your hotel
transfer is included in your holiday package and renting
in town therefore becomes feasible.
using call centres unless absolutely necessary
1. Bookings made via a call centre can be more expensive
because the car rental company needs to cover the
cost of the call centre staff.
2. Some rental companies use premium rate phone lines.
3. Car rental staff are sales driven and often earn
additional commission by selling upgrades, insurance,
cancellation protection, a GPS, an additional driver,
'specialist' vehicles a long time in advance
It is essential that vehicles such as 6 or 8 seat
vans, minivans, or high-end cars like sports cars
are booked a long time in advance to avoid disappointment.
Miss that 8 seater and face the costs of having to
hire two vehicles.
rentals during 'peak times' a long time in advance
On popular times during the year such as Easter, Christmas
and Bank Holidays, car rental suppliers WILL run out
of cars in certain locations. Avoid disappointment
by booking a long time in advance.
Some car rental companies charge drivers under a certain
age (e.g. under 25) an additional daily surcharge.
This can add hundreds to the cost of the car hire
so where possible make sure the driver is over 25.
costs of fuel
Some car rental suppliers deliver the car with a full
tank of fuel and request it back either full or empty.
Whilst it is impossible to return it empty, returning
the car near empty means you get almost a full tank
of fuel free. Check the rules on fuel when choosing