Seven in ten (70%) car hirers book directly with car hire companies, 75% book only with a brand they recognise and trust, and a third (35%) always use the same rental company for convenience, but by not shopping around these consumers could be missing out on savings of around £275* for a week’s car hire this summer.

Opinium research looked into the booking habits of 2,000 UK car hirers this summer, commissioned by, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, found that whilst 45% know they should shop around, they often do not have time or choose not to.

However, there are significant price differences between car hire companies, even in the same destination. researched the cost of a medium, compact car for a week’s hire from 27 July to 3 August 2019 in five European holiday destinations and found that in Nice, Hertz charge £603, but Budget only £328, a saving of £275. In Crete, Europcar charge £579, but Avis £380, a saving of £199.

The research also found that more than half (55%) say they pick the cheapest hire car available yet more than half (56%) pick up from the local airport or train station knowing that it can be more expensive.

More than half (56%), if possible, also prefer to select all extras when first booking, which is important, as the price of extras makes shopping around for deals even more important. Despite this, two-fifths (41%) 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 sat nav.

More than two-thirds (70%) think having to budget for hidden extras makes booking a hire car like booking a flight.

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, 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 waiver policies, which cost on average £17** per day. A separate excess policy might also be required if the car is stolen, or for tyre and windscreen damage. Taking all three policies adds around £160*** to a week’s rental. Buying this from a specialist insurance company, like, costs from only £2.99 a day or £42.99 for an annual policy.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of, said: It makes sense to book with a brand you know and trust, but there are significant savings to be made even amongst the well-known brands, so it’s worth shopping around. If you do need extras, make sure you try to take child car seats and sat navs with you, or for excess insurance, buy before you fly from a standalone insurance provider, to make sure that the price you have been quoted, is the price you really pay.

*A week’s car hire, 27 July to 3 August 2019, for a medium compact car e.g., a Ford Focus or VW

Location Company Lowest Quote Company Highest Quote Difference
Barcelona Avis £226.32 Budget £318.76 £92.44
Crete Avis £379.93 Europcar £578.59 £198.66
Faro Budget £366.05 Europcar £545.48 £179.43
Milan Budget £275.87 Avis £483.33 £207.46
Nice Budget £327.90 Hertz £603.10 £275.20
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.