Holidaymakers with school age kids planning to hire a car in Europe this half term need to beware. In Faro it is 85% more expensive to hire a car during half term, compared with two weeks later (i.e. not half term).

iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looked at the cost of hiring an average family car for a week in six popular European destinations, Tenerife, Faro, Larnaca, Milan, Barcelona and Nice, during half term, from 24 to 31 October 2015, compared to hiring two weeks later from 7 to 14 November 2015. Five rental companies (i.e. Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar) costs were looked at.

The increase is most significant in Faro, where the average cost to hire a family car for a week this half term (24-30 October) is £152, but only £82 two weeks later. It is a similar story in Nice, where the price at half term is £219, compared with £160 in November, and Larnaca where the price goes up £51 during half term week to £142, from £91.

Prices in Barcelona only change from £140 to £145, in Tenerife average prices are up from £71 to £84 and in Milan prices actually are less during the half term week from £256 to £240.

The cost of extras, including sat navs, child car seats, car hire excess insurance and extra drivers, remain the same at half term, but can still add an average £267 to the hire car bill. The most expensive extra is normally excess insurance which this October costs on average £104 for a week from the rental desks. The next most expensive extra is the sat nav with an average price of £64, followed by £51 for a car seat and £40 for an extra driver.

Travellers can avoid paying the high costs at the rental desk for car hire excess insurance if they buy a policy in advance from a specialist insurer, including iCarhireinsurance.com, which supplies comprehensive policies from £2.99 a day in Europe or £23.92 for the week - this is four 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. The average excess for the destinations in this study was £909 on average, but £1594 in Milan.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com said: Hiring a car at half term is often more expensive than hiring when kids are at school, but there are still some good deals to be had, and serious savings can be made by not buying the extras at the rental desk. Buying your car hire excess insurance in advance, not adding an extra driver to the policy and bringing your own child's car seat and sat nav can save a small fortune. 

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

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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.