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Monday, 03 February 2014 13:50

Snowballing Car Hire Costs For Feb Half Term Skiers

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Hiring a car for skiers no longer means a quick pick up of the keys but rather an avalanche of additional costs given the hard sell at the rental desk. 

This February half term skiers could be parting with up to £184 for a week’s excess car hire insurance when they arrive to collect their car, plus £42 for tyre and windscreen protection, £84 for an extra driver (£227 if they’re under 21 yrs), a sat nav for £102, snow chains costing £75 and a child’s car seat for £102*. researched the six popular ski gateways of Geneva, Turin, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Sophia (Bulgaria) and Inverness to see how a traveller’s costs snowballed on picking up their hire car.  (NB. The hire companies of Avis, Sixt, Europcar and Hertz were researched for the hire of a medium compact car from 15 to 22 Feb 2014).

Excess Car Hire Insurance: Without excess insurance a customer could be liable for charges of up to £2300 (e.g. the excess amount in Turin with Europcar) if the hire car is damaged or stolen, even if it’s not the hirer’s fault, but sometimes this excess cost can be more than the cost of hiring the car.                                                                  

For instance a medium compact car hired from Turin, gateway to the ‘The Milky Way’ (Via Lattea) ski area, costs £143 with Hertz for the February half term week (15 – 22 Feb) while its excess car hire policy is an additional £184 - a pricey £26 a day and over eight times more expensive than an independent excess policy from an insurance company like, which costs from £2.99 a day, a saving of £163.

Additional tyres and windscreen protection policy: The average cost of car hire excess insurance charged by the rental companies across all six destinations for the February half term week is £106.  However some of these excess policies exclude damage to a hire car’s tyres and windscreen and an additional policy would need to be purchased to cover these.  For example, Sixt  charge £21 for a tyre and windscreen policy in Innsbruck, £27 in Geneva and rising to £42 in Barcelona – these are all on top of its basic excess policies.

An excess car hire insurance policy is £21 for the week (or £39.99 for an annual policy for unlimited European trips and drivers) and includes these vulnerable parts of a vehicle, like the tyres and windscreen, providing up to £6000 of protection cover.

Snow Chains: Expect to pay around £50 for snow chains, although a skier hiring from Barcelona with Avis could be looking at a £75 bill to drive in the Pyrenees. NB. Sixt make snow chains a compulsory cost in the destinations of Geneva, Sophia, Innsbruck and Turin.  Travellers need to make sure they know the rules and regulations of the country they’re hiring in, otherwise they (and not the rental company) could face a fine.

Extra Drivers: These are often a necessity for a skiing party, but can add significantly to the hire car bill. The most expensive place to pay for an extra driver was Inverness, where travellers would pay around £80 for each extra driver, rising to £227 with Europcar for a driver under 25 yrs.

Sat Navs: Try to bring your own sat nav with you, as the cost of hiring one is now almost £100 in some destinations.  For instance, in Inverness Europcar charges £97 for the week’s hire, while Hertz charges £102 in Geneva.

“Picking up a hire car can be a slippery slope for many as the rental company representatives often make it difficult to refuse their policies,” said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of   “We urge skiers to do their homework before they travel and discover the enormous savings that can be made. Skiers hiring with Hertz in Turin could save £163 by buying excess car hire insurance before they travel which would go some way to paying for their lift pass.”

Last modified on Saturday, 27 June 2015 15:22
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All prices within this section were correct at time of publication.