Sunning it off in Tenerife, or looking to dust off the skis and head down the slopes for an adrenaline rush? We know how important car hire is for your holidays, so the team at iCarhireinsurance.com compiled this checklist to ensure car hirers are prepared when picking up their hire car in 2023.
Excess Waiver Insurance - When picking up a hire car, rental companies will try and sell a range of extra products and services on top of the actual rental cost. The most expensive of these is excess waiver insurance, which protects a hirer from paying the excess should a hire car become damaged or stolen. This charge can be as much as £2,000!
According to iCarhireinsurance.com’s quarterly study on car hire costs, excess fees have been steadily rising across Europe.
You can save yourself some pounds by purchasing this from a specialist insurance company, like iCarhireinsurance.com, before you travel, as it’s likely to be significantly cheaper than the rental desks. If you wait until picking up your hire car, you risk being exposed to significantly higher charges, with some desks charging around £27 per day, according to our study of car hire costs in 12 countries in 2022. This adds around £189 to a week’s rental.
Check the Vehicle and Take Photos of Damage – A 2022 Opinium survey, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, found that nearly one in five (18%) of hire car drivers found damage on a hire car that was not highlighted on the checkout sheet. So it’s important to protect yourself and avoid unfair damage charges. You can do this by checking vehicles thoroughly at pick-up and take photos of any existing damage on the vehicle.
Our free travel app for all travellers, called ‘iCarhire’, takes date and time-stamped photographs, which can then be used to record vehicle damage in the event of a claim. These can all be filed under a specific journey name, and then broken down into before and after the rental period, making it simple to reference at a later date if necessary.
Fourteen Day Rule - It’s important to know that if you want to contest a damage claim made by a rental company, the hirer should query it within fourteen days with the rental company. If a satisfactory outcome is not reached, complaints can be directed to the BVRLA in the UK, whose members are expected to adhere to its mandatory Codes of Conduct, or the European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS), which also offers a free service to help with unresolved complaints. The ECRCS’ member companies are bound by the decision reached by the conciliation service and include Avis, Alamo, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National Car Rental, Sixt, Firefly and Enterprise.
Unfortunately, there is no equivalent body in the US. The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) also provides free advice for consumers who encounter problems when buying goods and services from outside of the UK. The UKICC also works with the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net).
Pay by Credit Card – If you use a credit card for the booking, it is possible to make a claim against the card provider under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
A majority of the time, hiring a car is a great experience, however, there are times when it doesn’t go to plan, so it’s a good idea to save this checklist. Before you pick up your hire car, ensure you understand all the charges and consider buying car hire insurance from an independent insurance company. Additionally, take photos at pick up and when returning the car, and get any damage signed off by a member of staff. If you think you’ve been wrongly charged for damage, make sure you complain within 14 days.