Brits hire an estimated two million cars abroad every year, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and many get ripped off with hidden or unnecessary charges.
In order to help Brits save money on their rental car and avoid possible extra costs, Hitachi Personal Finance has gathered some top tips on getting the best price when renting a car abroad.
Research is key to saving a penny or two, and using comparison sites can help you find the best deal on the market. Once you’ve found a competitive quote, approach some companies directly to see if they can beat it. Be sure to note down your quote reference and all of the terms so you’re comparing like for like.
Booking your car hire in advance could save hundreds of pounds, especially if booking off-peak, when demand is low. If you have booked your holiday nice and early, or know for sure when you’ll be going, then start roaming those comparison sites sooner rather than later to bag a great deal. Leaving it until the last minute is risky as it could inflate the cost!
A lot of car hire companies will offer basic insurance as standard, but will also try and talk prospective customers into buying a pricey excess policy to cover the car if it is scratched or dented. It’s much cheaper to get an excess policy from an independent provider as this additional insurance can often add a large amount onto the daily car hire cost.
Paying by credit card can provide extra protection in case anything goes wrong. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit card companies must provide extra protection for transactions over £100, so this is a good payment option should there be any issues with your booking or actual hire of the car.
When hiring a car abroad, there can be some hidden charges, so it’s important to take a few simple precautions to prevent any problems occurring. Common charges that you might miss are:
- Refuel charges – Some car hire companies state that you need to return the car back full of petrol, and if not, they charge a small fortune for ‘refuel charges’. Check in advance and fill up if required.
- The age of the named driver can affect other price too, as under 25s often have to pay a lot more. Don’t be tempted to lie, but if you are a young driver, be prepared for this extra cost.
- Unnecessary extras – Don’t forget to double check for charges relating to any extras that you might not need such as a sat nav, child seats, cashback offers, cleaning charges etc, as these can all affect the overall value of the deal
- Charges for damage (that wasn’t your fault) can be enormous. Inspect the condition of the car inside and out, taking pictures of any damage or wear and tear before agreeing to hire the car. That means that if the hire company try and charge you for damage that was there when you got the car, you have the evidence to prove it wasn’t your fault.