Planning to hire a car? You need to read this

LLB Reporter

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Over half of car hirers (55 per cent) have been shocked at the price of car hire extras when they arrive to pick up their car which can add over £400 to their bill, and 38 per cent said they felt misled about how much the rental car would actually cost.

These ‘extra’ costs are often only available when you arrive to pick up a hire car and can throw a spanner in a holiday budget. For example, if a family purchases an additional driver (£68), a sat nav (£102), a child’s car seat (£82) car hire excess insurance waiver (£83), super theft waiver (£75) and tyre and windscreen excess waiver (£18) for a week this August in Spain (pick up from Barcelona airport) it will cost an additional £428 on the original car hire price of £301.   

According to research of over 2000 UK car hirers, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, 37 per cent buy excess insurance from the rental company, 15 per cent pay for an extra driver to go on the rental policy, 13 per cent hire a sat nav and 11 per cent hire a child’s car seat. However, only 39 per cent find it easy to find the cost of extras when they’re booking their hire car, making it hard to budget for these costs in advance.

Worryingly, less than half (47 per cent) of car hirers were made aware of the fuel policy when they were booking, which could mean some facing a high petrol bill if they have chosen a ‘fuel to empty’ policy.  This requires consumers to pay, often at an inflated rate, for a tank of petrol when they pick their car up, and this can be wasted money if they’re not planning to drive long distances.  A ‘full to full’ fuel policy is considered the fairest policy for drivers.

When you hire a car, insurance is included, but it generally comes with very high excess charges – the amount you have to pay to cover the cost of an accident, or if the car is stolen, before the policy kicks in. This amount can be up to £2,000.  An excess waiver policy will protect you from this cost and if you buy it from a specialist insurance company, like iCarhireinsurance.com, you will pay approximately £3 a day compared to £20 a day from the rental company.

“A few simple steps can ensure that a hole is not blown in a family’s holiday money at the rental desk,” said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com. “Plan ahead and take your own child’s car seat and sat nav, don’t just pick them up from the rental company; buy your excess waiver insurance from a specialist insurance company before you travel; think carefully about putting that extra driver on the rental policy; and finally always make sure you know the fuel policy when you book.”

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