Do you know the real cost of your holiday car hire?

Hiring a car whilst on holiday can seem quite cheap on the face of it but with the extras sold at car hire rental desks it is possible for the car to end up seven times more expensive than the original quote. Plan ahead to save money.

According to, hiring a compact car with Budget in Faro this May Half Term, costs £79 for the week’s hire, however once extra items at the rental desk are added the price can increase to £588.

What car hire extras are there?

Actually there are lot of extras, some truly optional and some not so optional.

On the example of the Budget hire car in Faro, these ‘extras’ include

  • Extra driver – £57
  • Sat Nav – £108
  • Child’s car seat – £59
  • Combined excess / waiver policy – £285

The total of all these ‘extras’ adding up to £509, giving the driver a final bill of £588, or put another way, a massive seven times the original quote.

Looking at the costs to hire a compact car in five European destinations, Tenerife, Nice, Faro, Larnaca and Barcelona, with five hire car companies, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt, the study found that:

  • The average car rental price across Europe for a week’s hire is £151,
  • The location with the highest average car rental price is Nice at £250.
  • ‘Extras’ at the rental desk cost on average £333, this includes £91 for super damage waiver, £34 for super theft waiver, tyre and windscreen excess for £38, £47 for an extra driver, £71 for a sat nav and £53 for a child’s car seat.
  • The location with the highest average cost of extras is Faro at £509.

What do car hire excess (waiver) policies offer?

Car hire excess cover

Basically, car hire excess or waiver policies protect drivers from the excess cost, which can be as much as £2,000, if a hire car is stolen or damaged even if it isn’t the hirer’s fault.

Rental companies often sell three excess policies:  Super Damage Waiver, Super Theft Waiver, Tyre and Windscreen Excess, or if available a combination of these.

  • The most expensive average excess insurance is in Faro. Here the average cost for a combined super waiver policy is £232 this half term.
  • Individual excess policies in Barcelona cost on average £106 for super damage waiver, £113 for super theft waiver and £42 for tyre and windscreen excess.

Are there cheaper options available for the car hire excess cover?

Hiring a car on holiday


A policy from a specialist insurance provider, like, covers damage, theft and tyre and windscreen cover, and starts from £2.99 a day for a European policy or £37.99 for an annual policy

Quite simply this is a real opportunity to save money.

Taking the example of car in Faro, it would mean a saving of some £200 taking this option rather than buying this extra cover at the car hire desk.

Ernesto Suarez, CEO and founder of said “Many people book their hire car based on the headline price they see, and don’t check the price of the extras they’re going to need.

“It is incredibly important to look beyond the headline price, and make sure you know what you’ll really be paying

“Buying excess insurance from a specialist provider and not the rental company, bringing your own sat nav and child seat and not putting any extra drivers on the policy can save car hirers hundreds this summer.”

Diane Ray, “As always when buying any form of insurance, which car waiver cover is, it is vital that you understand what it is you need and then take the time to ensure you are getting the best deal you can.

“We all want to save money, there’s no point effectively wasting what could amount to hundreds of pounds when this could much better be used for your expenses whilst away.

“As Ernesto suggests, consider taking your own sat nav and maybe child seat too if you need one.

“Some mobile phone network deals can be easily and cheaply extended too to cover European and even further afield data usage. If you can access such a deal it may well be worth doing so and then using something such as Google Maps or another Map app to act as your Sat Nav.

“Be smart, take the time to look around and get yourself what you need without paying out unnecessarily.”

One comment

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for these useful article and tips.

    I just rented a car in Rome to explore the city and to drive along Italy. I have AMEX Platinum which specifically covers Italy, and a letter to show this. The agent at the lot didn’t care to see it. He just put a EUR 1,500 hold on the card and we were on our way.
    The insurance excess (deductible) on this vehicle was EUR 1,500 and the guy at the desk offered me excess waiver at EUR 17/day, which total EUR 153 for the entire rental period.

    Unfortunately icarhireinsurance don’t offer the product to non EU residents. Someone introduced me to Car Insurent which covers the “excess” insurance at a low annual fee and offeres car hire excess waiver insurance to non EU residents. Anyone needing to buy cover in Italy might contemplate this, but you need to understand the system, as this is not “complete” cover, just the last part of it.”

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