One in five (21%) hire car drivers have found damage on a hire car which was not highlighted on the checkout sheet. However, if damage isn’t noted on the checkout sheet, drivers could be held liable and have to pay up to £2,000* in excess across Europe this summer.

  • Only a third (37%) of hirers fully check the hire car before driving off

  • 12 % told by car hire company that it’s not necessary to note down small scratches on check out sheet

  • 75% think car hire companies should be forced to get two quotes for damage repair costs

A new Opinium survey, commissioned by, a leading provider of standalone car hire excess insurance, researched over 2,000 hire car drivers, and found that one in five (21%) have found pre-existing damage on a hire car which was not shown on the checkout sheet, but this figure could actually be much higher as only a third (37%) say they check a hire car fully at pick up for damage, including the wheels and tyres.

Over one in ten claims to iCarhireinsurance** are for damage to the tyres, windscreen or undercarriage of the vehicle, demonstrating the importance of checking a hire car, but only one in five (21%) take photographs of the hire car’s current state before driving off, and 12% have been told by a rental car representative that it was not necessary to note down minor damage on the check-out sheet, and 13% have returned a car without it being checked.

Many travellers have felt in danger of being ripped off by the rental companies with over half (51%) believing that rental companies will charge for damage already on a vehicle and 14% have worried the whole holiday about scratching or damaging the car.

Interestingly, three quarters (75%) think for damage charges to be fair, rental companies should be required to get two quotes for the repair, and three quarters (75%) agree that the repairs should be carried out.’s free travel app (called iCarhire) allows hire car drivers to use its 'SNAPS' feature to take date and time stamped photographs, which are stored in the cloud, and can be used as essential evidence in the event of a dispute or claim with the car rental company. The app is free to all travellers and not just customers of

Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO, of, the leading supplier of specialist car hire excess insurance, said: It really is worth taking the time to have a thorough check over of a hire car before driving it away to ensure that every mark and scuff is documented on the checkout sheet. Small scratches may seem insignificant but could actually cost hundreds to repair. It also doesn’t take long to take a few photos at the start and end of the hire to stop any potential disputes.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Opinium Research. Total sample size was 2047 UK adults that have hired a car. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd to 4th May 2018. The survey was carried out online.

* surveyed car hire costs for the week, 28 July to 4 August 2018 in its 16-country quarterly research of six car hire companies (Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, Budget and Avis). It found that Avis in Dubrovnik, Budget in Faro and Hertz in Milan all have excess of over £2,000.

** analysed a thousand claims made during 2016 and found that 24% of claimants said the damage was not their fault. It also found that Saturday 2 July was the day you were most likely to damage your hire car in 2016.

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.