Nearly three quarters (74%) of car hire drivers book directly with car hire companies, and 71% book only with a well-known brand that they ‘trust’, but they could be missing out on savings of around £170* on average, for a week’s car hire this summer, by not shopping around.

Opinium research into the booking habits of 2000 UK car hirers this summer, commissioned by, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, found that whilst 41% know they should shop around, they often do not have time.

However, there are significant price differences between even the leading six car hire providers. iCarhireinsurance researched the price of a medium, compact car from 28 July – 4 August 2018 in five holiday destinations and found that in Barcelona, Avis charge £460, but Sixt only £294, a saving of £166. In Crete, Europcar charge £588, but Hertz £377, a saving of £211. The average saving across the five locations is £169.

The research also found that three in five (59%) pick the cheapest hire car on offer for the size they need and a third (35%) of drivers only look at the basic price when booking, not the price of all the extras, i.e., paying for an extra driver or the hire of child’s car seat or seat nav.

The most expensive ‘extra’ is excess waiver insurance which protects a hirer against the first part of any claim if the hire car is damaged or stolen, which can be up to £2,000. If you wait until you arrive to pick up the car, you will have no choice but to buy the rental company’s insurance, which costs around £15 to £20 per day. A separate excess policy might also be required for tyre and windscreen damage – taking both policies will add around £150 to a week’s rental. Buying this from a specialist insurance company, like, before you travel costs from only £2.99 a day or £39.99 for an annual policy.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of, said: “Booking with a well-known brand you can trust does make sense, but this research proves that there are significant price differences even between the leading brands, so it’s worth shopping around. However, if you do need any extras such as car seats, sat navs and extra drivers, it’s a good idea to check these before booking, as the headline price may not be as good as it first seems.”

*A week’s car hire, 28 July to 4 August 2018, for a medium compact car e.g., a Ford Focus or VW Golf.

Location Company Lowest Quote Company Highest Quote Difference
Barcelona Sixt £294 Avis £460 £166
Crete Hertz £377 Europcar £588 £211
Faro Enterprise £314 Avis £434 £120
Milan Europcar £297 Enterprise £450 £153
Nice Budget £276 Enterprise £469 £193
Average £169
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.