Brits jetting off on holiday can still save money by following these top tips on car hire.
- Book your hire car before you travel, if you can, to get the best deal: If you haven't booked your car hire, do so ASAP as it will generally be more expensive at the destination. (We found that the best savings could be made by booking at least six months ahead).
- Be careful of low headline prices for car hire: A good deal may actually end up being more expensive once hidden extras are added in, e.g., paying for an over-priced tank of fuel on arrival.
- Always check the fuel policy of the rental company as some rental companies want you to return the car empty which can be hard on a small Spanish island! Picking up the car full and returning it full is probably the best option, although don't forget to keep your receipt from filling it up as you may need to show this!
- It doesn't matter how good a driver you are, a "little prang" could end up costing you £100s! Around a quarter of all iCarhireinsurance.com’s claims are for damage to stationary cars. If you're parked in a supermarket and the car gets scratched you are still liable. Make sure you’ve got an excess waiver policy to protect you against unwanted expenses – & preferably don’t buy this from the car hire company but from an independent specialist like iCarhireinsurance.com.
- Take a spare credit card with you – If you use a standalone insurance policy, or decide not to get insurance, you will be asked to pay for the damage deposit in advance which can be up to £2,000. Take a spare credit card with you to cover this, so you still have money to spend whilst on holiday. It will be reimbursed when you return the car undamaged. If money is taken from your card for damage, you will claim this back from your standalone insurance provider.
- Always check the hire car thoroughly, before you drive away, as a YouGov study found that a quarter of rental drivers have found damage on their hire car which was not marked down on the check-out sheet. Make sure any marks are highlighted on the check-out sheet, and take time and dated photos, to prove that any damage was on the car before you drove it away.
- Don't spend more money at the rental desk when you pick up your hire car. Taking your own child’s car seat (saving approx. £50 a week), a sat nav (saving around £65 a week), not putting an extra driver on the policy (a saving of around £40) and having a car hire excess insurance policy from an independent provider (paying £2.99 a day from iCarhireinsurance.com, compared with approx. £18 a day from the rental company) could save you £100s.
- Check the exchange rate – Changes in the value of the pound against the Euro can make a big difference in price so keep this in mind when making your booking. With the average cost of extras totalling £276i a 10% change in the value of the pound against the Euro can add or remove £30 from your bill
i Average total price of for ‘extras’ bought from the rental company using iCarhireinsurance.com’s 28 May to 4 June 2016 study, as detailed above, is: car hire excess insurance costs £87, an extra driver costs £44, a sat nav costs £63, a child’s car seat costs £50 and Tyre and Windscreen excess costs £32. Full research is available on request.