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Tuesday, 01 July 2014 13:08

Twelve country study shows Florida is the cheapest place to hire a car

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Woman handing over car keys A twelve country study of car hire costs, based on the ONS’s 2013 Travel Survey of the countries most visited by UK holiday makers, reveals that America and Turkey are the cheapest place to hire a car and Portugal and Italy the most expensive.

Across all destinations, a driver will be paying on average £304 to rent a compact family car (e.g. a VW Golf) for a week this summer (2 - 9 August 2014). Once extras are added including excess waiver insurance (EWI), an extra driver, a sat nav and a child's seat the final average price shoots up to £563.

Faro, Portugal, is the most expensive destination, with it being possible to pay over £1,000 to hire a compact family car with the extras outlined above.

To find the best value holiday car rental destinations,, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looked at the cost of a week’s basic hire with four extras payable on arrival (EWI, an additional driver, a child's car seat and a sat nav) as well as the price of a tank of petrol (40 litres).

Petrol costs vary widely across the nations. The cheapest place to fill up is in Florida where a full tank of petrol costs £23, half the price of European petrol prices, which range from £47 in Spain to £59 in Italy and Holland. The UK surprisingly falls in the middle of the study, with a full tank costing £52.

The 12 country study covers France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, America, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Belgium and the UK and is based on the countries most visited by UK holiday makers, according to the ONS's 2013 Travel Survey. (Five rental companies, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar, were compared).

It reveals:

  • The US (Orlando) is the cheapest place to hire a car, costing £164 for the week, with the added bonus that this rate includes full Collision Damage Waiver with zero excess, meaning a customer does not need to purchase excess insurance cover (EWI), which is usually the biggest single outlay when a traveller picks up their hire car. The extras cost only £125, compared with an overall average, at all the destinations, of £310.
  • Portugal (Faro) is the most expensive place to hire a car, costing over £630 on average, with 'extras' adding an additional £331 (excess insurance costs is £99, an extra driver is £48, a sat nav is £69, a child's car seat is £62 and a full tank of petrol is £52), leaving the driver with a final bill of £965 on average.
  • From the cheapest to the most expensive (for the car hire cost, plus four extras and petrol) the 12 countries (and 13 destinations) stacked up as below:
    1. US (picking up from Orlando Airport, Florida) - total cost is £289
    2. Turkey (pick up from Dalaman Airport) - total cost is £472
    3. Holland (pick up from Amsterdam Airport) - total cost is £532
    4. Germany (pick up from Munich Airport) - total cost is £540
    5. Belgium (pick up from Brussels Airport) - total cost is £554
    6. Greece (pick up from Crete) - total cost is £602
    7. Spain (pick up from Barcelona Airport) - total cost is £643
    8. Ireland (pick up from Dublin Airport) - total cost is £651
    9. UK (pick up from London Heathrow) - total cost is £660
    10. France (pick up from Nice Airport) - total cost is £667
    11. Spain (pick up from Malaga Airport) - total cost is £676
    12. Italy (pick up from Milan Airport) - total cost is £720
    13. Portugal (pick up from Faro Heathrow) - total cost is £965
  • Turkey (Dalaman) is the most reasonable European holiday hotspot to hire a car with the rental price costing on average £261, and the extras a more reasonable £210 - an extra driver costs £19 to add on, a child's car seat £26, excess insurance £65, a sat nav £44 and petrol (£56).
  • Italy (Milan), Belgium (Brussels) and the UK (London) were the three most expensive places for the extras - adding from £360 in Brussels and £406 in Milan to £414 in London.
  • Excess waiver insurance is still the most expensive cost at the rental desk costing on average almost £100 across the survey - this is over four times more expensive than a car hire excess insurance policy from a specialist provider, like which costs £23.93 for the week (from £2.99 a day for European cover and £39.99 for annual cover) and can be bought before leaving home.
  • The average cost of the other extras, across the survey, is £52 for a child's car seat, £45 for an extra driver and £66 for a sat nav.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of said: “This international study really highlights the variances in rental deals in different locations, even from the same companies. There are some truly shocking additional costs that holiday makers face making the original low headline price almost irrelevant when the final bill is settled at the desk.

“People do a lot of research and careful planning for their holiday, but it’s easy to forget to apply the same level of diligence to booking the right rental car. This can lead to a lot of surprise costs when picking up your car. It’s always worth looking at what you’ll be charged at the pick-up location, and if necessary bring your own child seat and sat-nav, limit the amount of additional drivers and buy an excess insurance policy in advance by a specialist provider. When it comes to car hire this summer, make sure you’re in the driving seat and aren’t being taken for a ride”

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All prices within this section were correct at time of publication.