Rental car companies are continuing to mislead their customers over the total cost of hiring a car.

We asked over 2000 UK car hirers about the car hire process and over half of them (55%) told us they have been shocked at the price of car hire extras when they arrive to pick up their car, adding potentially £400 extra onto the bill. On top of this, 38% of those we surveyed said they felt misled about how much they would be paying once everything was included.

The extras we refer to are often only available when you arrive to pick up a hire car (the website will say ‘price quoted at rental desk’), and can take a significant chunk out of your holiday budget before you’ve even arrived at the hotel. For example, if a family chooses to add an additional driver to the policy (£68), a sat nav (£102), a child’s car seat (£82), excess insurance waiver (£83), super theft waiver (£75) and tyre and windscreen excess waiver (£18) for a week’s holiday in Barcelona this August they’re looking at an additional cost of £428; the original hire quote is £301.

From our research, 37% of people said they buy excess insurance from the rental company, 15% add an extra driver to the policy, 13% take a sat nav and 11% a child’s car seat. But when making the initial booking, less than half (39%) said they found it easy to find the cost of these extras making it difficult to budget for these costs in advance.

In addition to this, only 47% of car hirers were made aware of the fuel policy when booking, meaning some could face a high petrol bill if they have selected a ‘fuel to empty’ policy. This requires paying for a full tank of petrol upon collecting the car and returning it empty. If you’re not planning on doing long distance drives you could face a charge for having petrol left at the end of the rental period. The better option is a ‘full to full’ policy, so you’re only paying for what you use.

Our CEO, Ernesto Suarez, gives this advice: Plan ahead to ensure a hole is not blown in the family’s holiday money at the rental desk. Take your own child’s car seat and sat nav, don’t just pick them up from the rental company. Buy your excess waiver insurance in advance from a specialist provider and think twice about adding an extra driver on the policy. Finally, always make sure you know the fuel policy when you book.

Disclaimer: All prices contained in this article were correct on the original date of publication. Prices may change over time, so for current prices, please get a quote.