A 16 country study of car hire costs worldwide reveals that the USA and Turkey are the cheapest places to hire a car this summer, and Portugal and Italy are the most expensive.
Travellers will be paying on average £317 to rent a compact family car (e.g. a VW Golf) for a week this summer (27 July - 3 August 2019), across all destinations, although once 'extras' are added at the rental desk, including super damage waiver (£112), super theft waiver (£18), tyre and windscreen cover (£31), an extra driver (£50), a sat nav (£75) and a child's seat (£54) and 40 litres of petrol (£49) the price doubles to £706.
In Italy, the most expensive country in the study, drivers pay on average £906 to hire a compact family car with the extras outlined above. This is £364 for the week’s rental, as well as £132 super damage waiver, £61 super theft waiver, £36 tyre and windscreen cover, £56 an extra driver, £108 for a sat nav and £91 for a child’s car seat and £58 for 40 litres of petrol, taking the final price to £906.
To find the best value 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 six extras payable on arrival (i.e., super damage waiver, super theft waiver, tyre and windscreen excess waiver, 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 16 countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, The Netherlands, UK and the USA). Six rental companies' costs were compared, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar. (Please see the results in the table below).
Petrol costs* vary widely across the nations. The cheapest place to fill up is in the USA where a full tank of petrol costs only £26, half the price of European petrol prices, which range from £48 in Spain, to £58 in the UK, Greece and Italy, to around £65 in the Netherlands. Other reasonable petrol destinations include Australia where a full tank costs around £33, Canada £35, and Turkey £37.
The USA is the most reasonable destination overall, closely followed by Turkey. The average cost of a week’s rental in the USA is £231 and the cost of extras including a tank of petrol is only £215. In Turkey, the average cost of a week’s rental is £292 and the cost of extras including a tank of petrol is £229.
The basic car rental rate varies from an average £183 in London (rising to £229 with Avis), to £289 in Croatia (rising to £367 with Avis) and £318 in New Zealand (rising to £630 with Avis) and over £400 in the four destinations of Greece, (£459), Portugal (£428), Canada (£419) and France (£417).
The average cost of the extras, across the survey, is £54 for a child's car seat (most expensive is £151 with Budget in Milan), £50 for an extra driver (most expensive is £112 in Barcelona with Hertz) and £75 for a sat nav (most expensive is £154 with Budget in Geneva).
Excess waiver insurance is the most expensive extra cost at the rental desk. These policies protect drivers from the excess cost if their hire car is stolen or damaged which in this study average over a £1,000 if a car is damaged. However, in Australia it can be as much as £2,768 with Europcar in Sydney.
Rental companies often sell three excess policies: super damage waiver, super theft waiver and tyre and windscreen excess. These cost on average £112 for super damage waiver, £18 for super theft waiver and £31 for tyre and windscreen excess, a combined average total of £161. This is almost six times the cost of a car hire excess policy from a specialist provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, which sells a week’s policy for £27.92, i.e., from £3.49 a day for European cover (£4.49 a day for worldwide excess cover, or USA and Canada cover from £7.99 a day), and this can be bought before leaving home. Annual policies are available from £47.99.
The most expensive price for excess waiver in the study was Sydney with Hertz charging £322 for super damage waiver alone and in Italy, Hertz in Milan was found to charge £257 for this waiver.
From the cheapest to the most expensive including the week’s basic hire, a tank of petrol (40 litres) and the six extras payable on arrival at the rental desk (i.e., super damage waiver, super theft waiver, tyre and windscreen excess waiver, an additional driver, a child's car seat and a sat nav), the 16 countries stack up as below:
- USA (picking up from Orlando Airport, Florida) - total cost is £446
- Turkey (pick up from Dalaman Airport) - total cost is £523
- New Zealand (picking up from Queenstown Airport) – total cost is £563
- Australia (pick up from Sydney Airport) – total cost is £572
- Canada (pick up from Vancouver Airport) – total cost is £604
- Germany (pick up from Munich Airport) - total cost is £620
- The Netherlands (pick up from Amsterdam Airport) - total cost is £632
- UK (pick up from London Heathrow) - total cost is £702
- Croatia (pick up from Dubrovnik Airport) – total cost is £721
- Greece (pick up in Crete) - total cost is £729
- Spain (pick up from Barcelona Airport) - total cost is £729
- Ireland (pick up from Dublin Airport) - total cost is £757
- Switzerland (pick up from Geneva Airport) – total cost is £840
- France (pick up from Nice Airport) – total cost is £841
- Portugal (pick up from Faro Airport) - total cost is £902
- Italy (pick up from Milan Airport) - total cost is £906
Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO, iCarhireinsurance.com said:
Our annual study highlights the importance of shopping around when booking your hire car, as the cost of the basic rental, let alone any extras, such as child car seats and sat navs, can vary by hundreds of pounds. It might even affect the choice of country you decide to visit!
With excess liability now more than £2,500 in some countries, it is important that drivers have excess insurance. However, the policies bought from the rental desk are often very expensive, and can be confusing, with damage waiver, theft waiver, and tyre and windscreen cover. Drivers should do their research in advance and buy a car hire excess insurance policy from a specialist insurance company, like iCarhireinsurance.com, before they leave, and if possible, take their sat nav, and child car seats with them.
Table of costs to hire a medium, compact car from 27 July - 3 August 2019 in cost order from low to high.
|Car Rental Rate||Super Damage Waiver||Super Theft Waiver||T&W Excess||Starting Excess Damage||Petrol||Extra Driver||Sat Nav||Young Driver||Car Seat||Total incl upgrades*|
Total (incl upgrades*) Car rental, super damage waiver, super theft waiver, tyre & windscreen excess waiver, extra driver, satnav, child’s car seat and 40 litres of petrol (young driver is excluded as not an extra often chosen).
* Petrol costs sourced on 13 May 2019 from https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/ and https://autotraveler.ru/en/spravka/fuel-price-in-europe.html
Prices converted at £1 to 1.13 Euros, £1 to $1,26 USD, £1 to $1.71 CAD, £1 to $1,94 NZD, and £1 to $1.83 AUD
For 40L of petrol – in order from cheapest to most expensive: