• Three quarters (75%) always check hire cars for pre-existing damage
  • Only half (47%) check hire car wheels and tyres
  • 6% believe they have been wrongly accused of damaging a hire car

Over one in four people who have hired a car (28%) said they had found damage on the car which was not highlighted on the check-out sheet, according to a new YouGov survey, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance.

The survey found that whilst three quarters (75%) of hire car drivers always check their car for damage before they drive it, only 47% check the condition of the wheels and tyres, despite the fact that these items can account for approximately one in five charges for minor damage made at the rental desk.

Any damage to a hire car, even if it isn’t your fault, can lead to the hirer having to pay the first part of the cost of repair, up to the excess amount, which can be as much as £1700*. Claims for damage to wheels and tyres, for instance, can cost from €120 to €400 (source: Dickmann's) so they are just as important as the rest of the car to check before driving the car away.

It isn’t just on pick-up that drivers need to be vigilant. A third (33%) have had to return their hire car without seeing a hire car representative, because no-one was available. With more than 1 out of every 20 car renters (6%) believing they have been wrongly accused of damaging a rental car, not getting it signed off by a company representative is a risky move that could end up costing a small fortune.

The survey found that 10% of drivers have returned a rental car with damage which wasn’t their fault, and 8% have returned a rental car with damage which was their fault.

Excess insurance can be bought to protect drivers from paying for damage, but the rental company policies cost up to £24 a day**, over nine times more expensive than a policy from iCarhireinsurance.com (from £2.99 a day). Rental desk policies also often exclude damage to windows, tyres and undercarriages, areas that are most likely to be damaged, but iCarhireinsurance.com policies automatically include these vulnerable areas as standard.

“When you pick up a hire car it’s essential to check it over thoroughly and note every mark, no matter how insignificant on the checkout sheet, including any damage and scuffs to the wheels. We see plenty of people getting charged for minor wheel damage or scratches on the bumper, which were on the car when they picked it up but unfortunately were not noted in the paperwork. Sadly in the modern world of vehicle rental this can be tantamount to writing a blank check to the rental desk,” said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com.

He continued: “One way to protect yourself is to buy a stand-alone excess insurance policy in advance. These policies are usually much better value than those offered by the rental companies and in addition to the bodywork they also cover tyres, wheels, roofs and windscreens where pre-existing damage is easy to miss. Holiday makers should be concentrating on having a good time, not worrying about additional costs being levied on them at the end of their holiday, particularly if they are charged for damage they didn’t even cause. ”

For more information please contact:

  • Frances Knox, Frankly PR This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. + 44 7850 470123
  • Or 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.

*Hiring a standard family car from Budget in Milan from the 4 – 11 April 2015, a car hirer would be looking at an excess cost of £1715.

** Hiring a compact car with Hertz in Milan from 1 - 8 August 2015

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

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.