Travellers are warned not be misled by low headline prices for their car hire this autumn only to have to pay almost £300 on average when they arrive to pick up their car, according to research in seven popular European destinations., the leading supplier of car hire excess insurance, looked at the cost of car hire for a week during half term, from 25 October to 1 November 2014, and the extra costs that families might be asked to pay at the rental desk including paying for an extra driver, purchasing a car hire excess policy (excess waiver) and hiring a child's car seat and sat nav.

Across the seven destinations of Tenerife, Faro, Cyprus, Ibiza, Milan, Barcelona and Nice, the average costs from the five rental companies (i.e. Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar) researched were:

- Average cost of Car Hire* for the week (paid in advance)£194.57
- Average cost of excess waiver£119.31
- Average cost to put an extra driver on the policy£49.56
- Average cost to hire a child's car seat£55.74
- Average cost to hire a sat nav£72.29

The total cost of the 'extras' at the rental desk comes to £297, a significant additional expense on top of the original car hire price of £195.

Travellers can avoid paying £119 for a car hire excess insurance policy by buying one in advance from a specialist insurer, including, which supplies comprehensive policies from £2.99 a day in Europe or £23.92 for the week - this is five times cheaper than buying this from the rental desk and it also covers vulnerable parts of the car, including the windscreen and tyres, that are frequently excluded from rental desk policies.

Without an excess policy, travellers are responsible for the first part of any insurance claim, even if the damage was not their fault including if the car is stolen, and in this study the starting excess was £1003 on average.

Don't be bullied into spending a single penny when you pick your car up. Buy your excess car hire insurance in advance, don't add an extra driver to the policy (unless you really have to) and bring your child's car seat and sat nav from home, said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of

*for the hire of a medium car e.g., an Astra, Golf, Peugeot 308.

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.