Holidays should be hassle free. You already have to deal with currency exchanges, a language barrier, dodgy food on the first night and finding a place that does a decent English fry up after a night out on the sangria. What you don’t want to have added to your plate is the cost and hassle of getting a hire car only to realise that you’ve been taken for a ride (metaphorically speaking). Take a look at these handy tips to help you avoid getting ripped off and still get that perfect holiday car.
‘Standard’ extras that are anything but standard
It seems that car hire companies are under the impression that everyone loves extra stuff, so they bundle all the whistles and bells into the hire price in the hope that you don’t actually look at what you’re being charged for. If you take a closer look at the bill, you might find that you can knock a few items off the list:
“Sat-nav? No thanks, I brought my own”.
“Roof rack? Won’t need that”.
“Child car seat? He’s fifteen and nearly six feet tall, he wouldn’t appreciate it”.
By eliminating these extras that are bundled in with the final price, you can knock down the cost of your car hire considerably.
This is one of the most common money spinners for car rental companies, and one that many people don’t think to check or to challenge. There are three basic rental agreements when it comes to fuel for the hire car. The two most commonplace types are ‘empty to empty’ where you pick up the car with a small amount of fuel and you return it like that, or ‘full to full’ where you pick it up with a full tank you make sure it’s full before you drop it off. Easy stuff.
Then there’s the third type. ‘Full to empty’ gives you a full tank and you have to return it empty. The car hire company who does this will make you pay for the tank of fuel in advance (often at an inflated price). Know how their fuel policy works so you can either negotiate something different or take your business elsewhere.
The car hire insurance/waiver conundrum
Car insurance: the ultimate bugbear. Again, car hire companies will try to lump you with their own cover in the final bill in the form of a collision damage waiver (CDW), but this usually comes with an unreasonably high excess, sometimes up to ?1000. You can sometimes get an add-on to stop you having to pay this excess, but that in itself can be expensive.
Instead, take the initiative and look to see if you can get a temporary insurance policy of your own. Your current car insurance company might be able to add the hire car on as a form of European cover, or else you can look for specialist temporary European car insurance for the duration of your stay.
It doesn’t matter if you’re cruising down the autobahn or riding around the Tuscan hillside, if you check the details and check again before you sign the rental agreement, you can save yourself a few pounds on the cost of your car hire.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Jamie Gibbs is the resent blogger for short term car insurance comparison site Confused.com.