Two fifths (43%) of hire car drivers only skim read the rental company's terms and conditions saying they don’t feel they have the time to read them properly and only 15% read them in full.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, found that long queues may be a reason why travellers are keen to get away. One in five rental drivers (20%) said they were "unhappy" with long queues at the rental desk and 26% said they find renting a car stressful.

Not reading the T&Cs, however, could leave rental drivers open to additional costs. For instance, the survey found that over two thirds (71%) of car renters are not aware that some rental companies will charge for fuel if the renter cannot provide a receipt when they return the car (even if the gauge says full). This is often the rule particularly with airport drop-offs where the renter can be required to refuel within a 10 mile radius of the airport or to show the fuel receipt. Two fifths (42%) are not aware that some rental companies insist that drivers pay for a full tank of fuel before they pick up their hire car. One in ten (10%) have been caught out by unexpected charges when they returned their hire car.

Two thirds (66%) are also unaware that they may have to pay for breakdown assistance if they get a puncture or a broken windscreen as some rental companies see this as the driver's fault, and a third (34%) of car rental drivers are unaware that once the rental vehicle has been collected the driver has responsibility for ensuring the vehicle complies with all local and national driving laws including road worthiness.

Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com said: “It's essential to read through all the paperwork when picking up your hire car, even if you're in a rush. For instance there may be airport surcharges, fuel charges or additional fees for equipment rental such as roof racks and child car seats. And always carefully inspect the vehicle and its tyres before renting and when you return it. Also try to return the vehicle during regular business hours so you and the rental staff can look at the car together to verify that you didn't damage it."

He continues: “We can’t protect you from some of these extras fees, but we can protect you from having to pay for expensive excess insurance. Our policies are only £2.99 a day, or £35.99 a year.”

He continues: “Another essential they might want to consider bringing with them is car hire excess insurance. The cover offered at the rental desk costs on average £100 for a week, over £79 more than a policy from iCarhireinsurance.com.”

For more information please contact:

  • Cath Roan, Roan Media, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +44 7801 817 451
  • Frances Knox, Frankly PR This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. + 44 7850 470123
  • Ben Wooltorton, Sales and Marketing Director, Halo Insurance Services Ltd Tel: +44 7739 719 570 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,091 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th-7th May 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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.