The hit list is based on the hire of a compact family car for a week.
- Book early – iCarhireinsurance.com research found that holidaymakers saved on average £100i if they booked their summer hire car in February instead of waiting until June. Last minute deals do exist but to guarantee a good price, and the car you want, book as soon as you can - Saving approximately £100.
- Use price comparison sites – The price charged by car hire companies varies significantly so always shop around to make sure you get the best deal. E.g., Hiring a car for a week in 2016 (30 July – 6 Aug) in Nice cost £563 with Europcar and £313 with Sixt. Hiring in Malaga for the same week Sixt charged £272, and Europcar charged £472. Use a price comparison site to shop around as the price between companies can vary by hundreds of pounds – Saving approximately £225ii
- Get the right sized hire car for you - Being unable to fit in that pushchair or extra bag could cost over £100 to upgrade to a bigger car. E.g., booking a compact car to pick up from Alicante Airport for a week in Aug 2016 costs £233 if booked in advance, but if you need a Ford C-Max, which can carry three large suitcases and two small cases, on arrival, you would pay £456 at the location, compared with £314 if you’d booked it online in the first place - Saving approximately £140.
- Shop around for car hire excess insurance – If a hire car is stolen or damaged even if it isn’t the hirer’s fault means they are liable for the excess which can be as much as £2,000. Hire car companies charge on average £26 a day for combined super excess insurance/waiver to protect drivers from this. They also sell individual policies such as super damage waiver and super theft waiver for those who don’t want full cover. Buy a standalone policy from £2.99 a day or £37.99 for an annual policy from iCahireinsurance.com which covers damage and theft. – Saving approximately £160iii on a week’s holiday.
If you travel more than once a year, an annual policy could save even more.
- Take a spare credit card – If you don’t buy the car hire company’s excess / waiver policy they will often insist that the excess is held on a credit card until the car is returned undamaged. Take a spare credit card with you, as having £2,000 held on your one credit card could seriously limit your holiday spending - Saving approximately £182iv>.
- Protect your tyres and windscreen – Often rental desks’ excess policies exclude damage to windows, tyres and undercarriage, and sell a separate Tyres and Windscreen excess policy for around £40v a week. All iCarhireinsurance.com policies include, as standard, cover for vulnerable parts of the vehicle including windscreens, tyres, roof and undercarriage - Saving approximately £38.
- Do you need a SatNav? - It can cost over £70vi to hire one for a week, and often this cost is not disclosed to you when you book. If you have a detachable SatNav at home, it is normally cheaper to upgrade to European mapping and take it with you, or consider getting a SatNav app for your smart phone - Savings approx. £71 if you take one with you.
- Hiring a car seat for your child can cost £52vii on average for the week – Many airlines will take car seats in their hold for free, so consider taking yours with you. For older children why not purchase an inflatable booster child seat? Saving approximately £50.
- Sharing the driving increases the costs - Adding a named driver to your rental agreement could cost around £7 per day and if the driver is under 25 this adds on an average £14a day. If one of you is going to do 90% of the driving is it really worth the extra cost? Different companies charge different amounts, so if this is important to you, factor it in when making the booking. – Saving approximately £46viii.
- Check the exchange rate – Some companies let you pay for your extras when you book your hire car, but others cannot be paid for until you arrive at your destination. Changes in the value of the pound against the Euro can make a big difference in price so keep this in mind when making your booking. With the average cost of extras totalling £333ix a 10% change in the value of the pound against the Euro can add or remove £30 from your bill. Saving approximately £30.
Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO, iCarhireinsurance.com said, “When hiring a car, the headline price is often not the price you actually end up paying, and often the prices for extras are not available until drivers reach the rental desk. We created this ‘Hire Car Hit List’ to help drivers get the best deal and avoid the pitfalls this summer.”.
*The £832 saving is obtained by adding the booking early saving of £100; shopping around for car hire £225, booking the right sized car in advance of travelling saving £140; buying excess insurance from a specialist provider like iCarhireinsurance.com saving £160; and in addition, not buying a Tyre and Windscreen excess policy from the rental desk costing £38; not putting extra drivers on the policy saving £46; and not hiring a SatNav, saving £71, or a child’s car seat, saving £52.
i) iCarhireinsurance.com analysed the price data from its 2015 quarterly car hire benchmarking surveys to find the difference in price for a week’s car hire mid-summer (1 – 8 August 2015) depending on when the car was booked. The survey includes data on four rental companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz and Sixt) for two popular destinations (Barcelona and Nice) and found that customers who booked in February 2015 got a much better deal on their summer car hire than those who waited until June.
ii) iCarhireinsurance’s benchmark for worldwide holiday destinations, from 30 July – 6 August 2016, found that hiring a car for a week in Nice cost £563 with Europcar and £313 with Sixt. However, hiring in Malaga for the same week Sixt charged £272, and Europcar charged £472. A difference of £250 and £200 respectively, averaging £225.
iii) In March 2017 iCarhireinsurance.com’s quarterly benchmark looked at the average car hire costs in five European destinations, Barcelona, Larnaca, Faro, Nice and Tenerife, for a week from 27 May – 3 June 2017. Car hire companies of Sixt, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise and Hertz were researched. It found that the average combined excess waiver price was £26 a day (£184 a week). £184 minus £23.92 (£2.99 x 8) = £160.
iv) If drivers don’t have space on their credit card, they have to buy the rental desk excess cover at an average of £184 for the week / £26 a day. (Source in footnote iii).
v) £38 is the average price for a week’s tyre and windscreen excess policy sold by the rental companies. This figure is from iCarhireinsurance.com’s study of the hire car costs in five destinations as outlined above in footnote iii.
vi) A SatNav costs on average £70 a week as outlined in footnote iii.
vii) A child’s car seat costs £52 as outlined in footnote iii.
viii) An extra driver costs £7 a day on average in the research outlined above in footnote iii, but can be up to £14 a day for a young driver on average.
ix) Average total price of for ‘extras’ bought from the rental company using iCarhireinsurance.com’s research as outlined above. This includes £91 for super damage waiver, £34 for super theft waiver, tyre and windscreen excess for £38, £47 for an extra driver, £71 for a SatNav and £53 for a child’s car seat.