The summer holidays are nearly here. If you’ve booked a holiday and are looking at car hire, now is the time to start thinking about it. Rules vary from country to country so it’s good to be aware and be prepared. Here are our top tips for avoiding any hire car hiccups this holiday season:
- BOOK EARLY
To avoid disappointment book in advance. Take time to look around for the best deals. Generally hiring at the airport as you land can be very expensive. If you do your online research you may find vouchers and discounts available. Give yourself time to look for the best deal.
- DRIVING LICENSE
You may remember when the DVLA did away with the paper copy, there was a slight panic in the car hire world. To streamline things, they moved their checking systems online. Essentially this means you need to remember to apply for a check code which allows the car hire company to check your license record. The code will be valid for 21 days. This applies to those who also hold the old style pre-1998 paper licences.
Other handy advice for driving abroad on the government’s website.
Most car hire companies will expect you to pay for any accident or damage claim. You can buy the hire companies super insurance but that can prove to be expensive. If you plan in advance you could find your own cheaper car hire excess reimbursement insurance.
Generally there are two options, as follows:
Supplied full and returned full
Supplied full and return empty
The choice will depend on the amount of driving you will be doing. And keep receipts of fuel bought.
- CHECK THE STATE OF THE CAR
Do a proper check of the car and make your own checklist so you know that you’re returning the car in the same state you hired it in. Check for any damage and take photos if necessary. Ensure any scratches or minor damage is noted in the rental agreement. A quick five minute video (or photos) at the beginning of your holiday could save you lots of money if there is a disagreement at a later date.
- HOW THE CAR WORKS
All cars are different. Check you understand how the controls work and if there is anything you don’t know then ask.
Check the paperwork carefully. Check for any hidden costs you don’t understand and query them before signing the documents. Sometimes hire companies charge extra for car seats, sat nav, tolls for crossing international borders, cleaning charges and also VAT.
- RETURNING THE CAR
Check the fuel gauge and make sure they hire company notes it down. If in doubt take a photo of it. Do the same with any damage to the car.
Finally, if you’re driving in Europe its best to use a hire company that is a member of the European Car Rental Conciliation Service Scheme.