Collecting a hire car is unnecessarily complicated and stressful say travellers .

  • Only 16% of car hirers feel in control

  • A half have felt concerned that they don’t understand the terms and conditions of the rental agreement

  • A quarter of hire car drivers wait longer than half an hour to collect their car

  • 10% told car they booked and paid for was not available

Travellers are stressed, frustrated and feel out of control when picking up a hire car according to a new Opinium survey of over 2000 UK car hirers.

At a time when car hire company practises are in the spotlight, it’s no surprise that over half of travellers (58%) said that collecting a hire car is unnecessarily complicated and stressful.

The survey, which was commissioned by, the leading specialist provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, found that only 16% felt in control at the rental desk. Instead car hirers reported experiencing emotions from impatience (23%), to frustration (22%) and stress (25%).

It is not surprising when many have to face a long wait to get to the front of the queue, with over a quarter (28%) waiting over thirty minutes. Two in five (43%) feel they experience a hard sell from sales agents and over half (52%) are shocked at the price of the extras sold at the rental desk. 17% had unexpected charges added when they picked up the hire car, even though they thought they had paid for everything in advance.

Even more worryingly, one in ten (10%) arrived to collect a pre-booked and paid-for car, only to be told that none were available.

Nearly half (49%) say they felt concerned after signing an agreement as they did not understand all the terms and conditions and almost three quarters (72%) think you need to be an expert in contracts to understand each clause. A third (36%) admit to not reading all the terms and conditions.

Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO,, said, Hiring a car on holiday is the perfect way to explore, but it’s a shame that it’s being tainted with the poor experience many seem to suffer at the rental desk. Whilst nothing can be done about the length of the queue, what can speed things up is bringing your extras with you, such as a sat nav, a child’s car seat, and a standalone car hire excess insurance policy, and not only will this save time, but these three items alone could save you a small fortune on your holiday money.

A car hire excess insurance policy from a specialist insurance provider like starts from £2.99 a day or £39.99 for an annual policy, compared to approximately £21* a day from a rental company according to a 16 country study into the costs of car hire this summer, and includes vulnerable parts of the car which are frequently excluded from rental company policies. This is on average 75% cheaper than the cover sold at the rental desk, and sometimes a saving of 90%**.

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.