Skiers hiring a car this February half term could end up paying double, triple or four times more than they paid for the week's hire on buying extras at the rental desk.
Hiring a medium-sized car in Turin, Italy, for a February half term trip will cost on average £160, but adding on ‘extras’ at the rental desk costs more than £519 on top meaning travellers could be paying out £679 overall - a quadrupling of their original hire cost.
These 'extras', including winterisation costs (snow chains/tyres), a ski rack, super damage waiver and super theft waiver (also known as car hire excess insurance), can often only be paid for when travellers arrive to pick up their hire car.
As well as Turin, extra costs at the rental desk will triple the original rental cost in Barcelona, Inverness and Sofia and double it in Geneva, Grenoble and Innsbruck.
iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, researched the costs of five rental companies (Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar and Sixt) in the seven European ski gateways of Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Turin, Sophia and Inverness for a week's hire from 11 – 18 February 2017.
The average cost of the 'extras' in all seven destinations were ski rack, £39; winterisation cost for snow tyres / chains, £34; extra driver, £49; car seat, £57; sat nav, £86; Super Damage Waiver, £105; Super Theft Waiver, £23 and Tyre and Windscreen Excess, £32; The total cost of the extras is £414, compared to an average rental cost of £217.
Barcelona: Extras at the rental desk cost an additional £502. The average cost for the week’s car rental is £181, giving a final total bill of £683 – tripling the original cost.
Geneva: Extras at the rental desk cost an additional £528. The average cost for the week’s car rental is £424, giving a final total of £952 – doubling the original cost.
Grenoble: Extras at the rental desk cost an additional £393. The average cost for the week’s car rental is £213, giving a final total of £606 – nearly tripling the original cost.
Innsbruck: Extras at the rental desk cost an additional £335. The average cost for the week’s car rental is £260, giving a final total of £595 – doubling the original cost.
Inverness: Extras at the rental desk cost an additional £323. The average cost for a week’s car rental is £158, giving a final total of £481 – tripling the original cost.
Sofia: Extras at the rental desk cost an additional £295. The average cost of car rental is £123, giving a final total of £418 – tripling the original cost.
When driving a hire car in Europe, if a claim is made for damage or theft, the driver is usually liable up to the excess amount. Many rental companies now sell three separate excess waiver policies; Super Damage Waiver, Super Theft Waiver and Tyre and Windscreen Protection. The excess for Super Damage Waiver is on average £917, but is £2322 with Europcar in Turin. The excess for Super Theft Waiver is on average £1056, but again £2322 with Europcar in Turin.
Super Damage policies often only cover drivers if the car is damaged, not if it's stolen, and exclude damage to tyres and windscreens, and costs on average £105 for a week’s cover, but Hertz in Turin charge £237. A Super Theft waiver policy only protects drivers if their car is stolen and costs on average £23, but Avis in Barcelona charge £74. Tyre & Windscreen Protection costs on average £32, but Hertz in Barcelona charge £74.
Rental desks charge on average £160 for these policies for a week (£23 a day), over six times the cost of a policy from iCarhireinsurance.com, which cost only £2.99 day, and £24 a week. This is a saving of £136, and the policies also include cover for theft and damage and tyres and windscreen, so there is no need to buy three separate policies. Its annual policies offer even greater savings for those that hire cars throughout the year.
Ski Racks: An essential piece of kit for many skiers. Budget for around £39 for a ski rack, although the average price in Barcelona is £59 with Avis and Budget.
Winterisation (Winter Tyres & Snow Chains): Rental companies often levy a ‘winterisation charge’ covering these during the winter period. The average 'winterisation' fee across the seven destinations is only £34, but is £88 with Avis in Barcelona.
Extra Drivers: Expect to pay around £49 for an extra driver, rising to £92 in Geneva with Avis and Budget.
Sat Navs: The average cost is around £86 for a Sat Nav for a week, but Avis in Geneva charge £158.
Child's Seat: Expect to pay at least £57 for a child's car seat, but Budget in Turin charge £146. It is worth considering taking your own, especially as most airlines won’t charge to put car seats in the hold.
Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com, said,
Ski holidays are often very expensive, so why pay more than you have to? Make sure that when searching for a deal on your hire car, you check out the price of any extras you will need. Extras really can quadruple the price of the original car hire ‘deal’. A lot of money can be saved by planning ahead, taking a sat nav and car seats with you, keeping extra drivers to a minimum, and purchasing excess insurance in advance from a standalone provider.