A 15 country study of car hire costs worldwide reveals that the Brazil and the United States are the cheapest places to hire a car this summer, whilst Portugal and Italy are the most expensive.

Travellers will be paying on average £316 to rent a compact family car (e.g. a VW Golf) for a week this summer (30 July - 6 August 2016), across all destinations, although once 'extras' are added at the rental desk, including excess waiver insurance (EWI), an extra driver, a sat nav and a child's seat, the price almost doubles to £612. Adding a tank of petrol (40 litres) takes the final price to £651.

In Portugal, the most expensive country in the study, it’s possible to pay almost £800 to hire a compact family car with the extras outlined above. (NB. Hiring with Europcar costs £526 for the week, as well as excess insurance (£118), an extra driver cost (£38), a sat nav (£56) and a child’s car seat (£59) takes the final price to £797.)

To find the best value holiday car rental destinations, iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looked at the cost of a week’s basic hire with four extras payable on arrival (i.e., excess waiver insurance, an additional driver, a child's car seat and a sat nav) as well as the price of a tank of petrol (40 litres) in 15 countries (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, UK, and the USA).  Five rental companies' costs were compared, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar. (Please see full table in Notes to Editors).

Petrol costs* vary widely across the nations. The cheapest place to fill up is Florida where a full tank of petrol costs only £15, half the price of European petrol prices, which range from £37 in Spain to around £56 in the UK.

With the Olympics in Rio this summer, Brazil has been included in the study for the first time, and is the cheapest place to hire a car. It costs £185 on average to hire a car for the week, with 'extras' costing £72 in total (a sat nav is £21, a child's car seat is £20 and a full tank of petrol is £31), compared with an overall average, at all the destinations, of £335.

The USA (Florida) is the next most reasonable destination. The average cost of a week’s rental is £222, however the cost of extras is only £168. One of the reasons Florida is so reasonable is because the car hire rate in the USA often includes full Collision Damage Waiver with zero excess for overseas travellers, meaning a customer does not need to purchase excess insurance cover (EWI), which is usually the biggest single outlay when a traveller picks up their hire car. However insurance in the USA is complicated and depends on the state you are hiring in, and the company you are hiring with, so it is important to check the cover included in your booking.

Portugal (Faro) is the most expensive place to hire a car, costing on average £490 to hire a car for a week, with extras costing on average £403 (excess insurance £154, tyre and windscreen excess £30, sat nav £67, child’s car seat £59, extra driver £46 and petrol £47), leaving drivers with an average bill of £893.

From the cheapest to the most expensive (for the car hire cost, plus four 'extras' at the rental desk and petrol) the 15 countries (and 17 destinations) stacked up as below:

  1. Brazil (pick up from Rio de Janerio Airport) - total cost £257
  2. USA (picking up from Orlando Airport, Florida) - total cost is £390
  3. Turkey (pick up from Dalaman Airport) - total cost is £515
  4. Germany (pick up from Munich Airport) - total cost is £528
  5. Holland (pick up from Amsterdam Airport) - total cost is £580
  6. Australia (pick up from Sydney Airport) – total cost is £608
  7. Belgium (pick up from Brussels Airport) - total cost is £615
  8. Ireland (pick up from Dublin Airport) - total cost is £686
  9. Greece (pick up in Crete) - total cost is £698
  10. Spain (pick up from Barcelona Airport) - total cost is £742
  11. Croatia (pick up from Dubrovnik Airport) – total cost is £743
  12. France (pick up from Nice Airport) – total cost is £780
  13. UK (pick up from London Heathrow) - total cost is £811
  14. Italy (pick up from Milan Airport) - total cost is £835
  15. Portugal (pick up from Faro Airport) - total cost is £893

When it comes to the ‘extras’, excess waiver insurance is still the most expensive cost at the rental desk costing on average £136 across the survey - this is almost six times more expensive than a car hire excess insurance policy from a specialist provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, which costs £23.93 for the week (from £2.99 a day for European cover and £37.99 for annual cover) and can be bought before leaving home.  The most expensive price for excess waiver for the week was £280 in London with Avis.

The average cost of the other extras, across the survey, is £47 for a child's car seat (most expensive is £138 with Budget in Milan), £45 for an extra driver (most expensive is £96 in London with Sixt) and £63 for a sat nav (most expensive is £133 with Hertz in Brussels).

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com said: “Our annual international study shows that the cost of hiring a car varies by over £300 depending on the country you are visiting, but this variation rises to over £600 when the cost of the extras is included. There are some truly shocking additional costs that holiday makers face, when picking up their hire car, making the original low headline price almost irrelevant when the final bill is settled at the desk.

He continues, “People do a lot of research and careful planning for their holiday, but it’s easy to forget to apply the same level of diligence to booking the right rental car. This can lead to a lot of surprise costs when picking up your car. It’s always worth looking at what you’ll be charged at the pick-up location, and if necessary bring your own child seat and sat-nav, limit the amount of additional drivers and buy an excess insurance policy in advance by a specialist provider. When it comes to car hire this summer, make sure you’re in the driving seat and aren’t being taken for a ride”.

Location Car Rental Excess Insurance Starting Excess Value Extra Driver Sat Nav Car Seat T&W Excess Petrol Total Extras Total
Rio £185 £0 £760 £0 £21 £20 £0 £31 £72 £257
Florida £222 £0 £0 £50 £65 £38 £0 £15 £168 £390
Dalaman £284 £112 £358 £18 £34 £26 £27 £13 £231 £515
Munich £202 £112 £757 £45 £52 £51 £24 £42 £326 £528
Amsterdam £194 £108 £988 £90 £74 £40 £23 £51 £386 £580
Brussels £220 £124 £751 £36 £94 £70 £27 £44 £395 £615
Dublin £303 £149 £1,312 £55 £69 £38 £30 £42 £384 £686
Crete £406 £125 £818 £28 £46 £26 £22 £44 £292 £698
Sydney £458 £111 £1,450 £17 £38 £31 £17 £27 £241 £699
Barcelona £343 £138 £897 £57 £75 £56 £35 £37 £399 £742
Dubrovnik £370 £146 £646 £41 £68 £46 £34 £38 £374 £743
Nice £419 £126 £783 £44 £78 £46 £25 £43 £361 £780
London £290 £182 £1,000 £86 £86 £76 £35 £56 £521 £811
Milan £359 £185 £1,372 £56 £81 £83 £22 £49 £476 £835
Faro £490 £154 £1,286 £46 £67 £59 £30 £47 £403 £893
AVERAGE £316 £136 £878 £45 £63 £47 £27 £39 £335 £651

Notes to Editors

Halo Insurance Services Ltd is a ground-breaking online insurance broker which was founded in 2009 by Ernesto Suarez, a leading insurance expert specialising in non-standard motor insurance. Its products include car hire insurance, van hire insurance and car club excess insurance all of which have been designed to offer more cover for a better price than the excess waivers offered at the rental desk.

Halo operates the retail brands iCarhireinsurance.com in the UK, leihwagenversicherung.de in Germany, Aseguramicochedealquiler.es in Spain and Huurautoverzekering.com in the Netherlands. It also provides insurance solutions to a number of commercial partners involved who provide software and booking services to car hire operators.

Awards won:

FINALIST – 2014 British Insurance Awards – Personal Lines Broker of the Year Award
WINNER - 2013 British Insurance Awards – Insurance Start-Up Award
FINALIST - 2012 British Insurance Awards – The E-Business Award
WINNER - 2011 Insurance Times Awards – Broker Innovation of the Year

Halo Insurance Services Limited is registered in England number 6929208. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Register No. 504629 for the sale and administration of general insurance products in the United Kingdom and throughout the European Economic Area (EEA).

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.