Whether for holiday or business, for some car hire will be required when travelling in the UK or abroad. But how can you cut the cost of car hire?
1. Book Early
If at all possible make sure you book your car hire UK or abroad well in advance of your travel date. This way hopefully you’ll get the car you want at the best price.
A point to consider is opting for a slightly larger car as sometimes they can work out cheaper than a very popular small one.
2. Understand What the Cost Includes and Research to Get the Best Deal
Most car hire includes unlimited mileage, insurance, collision damage waiver (CDW), theft protection (TPI), taxes, license fees, road tax, 24 hour breakdown and airport location fees (although there will invariably be an extra charge if you pick up and drop off in different locations).
Take time to research and use online comparison car hire sites to see exactly what’s on offer from the various companies, to see what’s included for what price.
3. Watch the Extras
Be careful of the extras being added. Some things, such as a baby seat, you may well need and can book in advance.
This can be costly and, if you’re happy to carry it to the airport check-in, it may actually be cheaper to take one with you – cheaper even if you have to pay excess baggage to the airline. Check before you book.
Other optional extras, such as insurance to reduce the excess you have to pay in case of an accident or theft of the car, can add up.
The excess is the amount you pay before the standard cover applies and this can range from £500 to £2,000. To buy insurance to cover it can cost quite a lot per day and even then it won’t reduce to zero.
It’s best to check prices and see where you can get the best deal from. It may for example be cheaper to buy this cover from another company. In this scenario you would have to pay the excess to the car hire company and claim it from the company you take out the additional insurance from.
4. What’s the Position on Fuel?
Make sure you are clear on whether the car comes with a full tank of fuel. If it does, make sure when you collect it that it is full.
Is a full tank ideal for your trip? Perhaps not if you’ve only got the car for a short while and will only be doing a few miles.
If you have to give it back with a full tank, make sure you refuel before you drop it off, it’ll invariably be cheaper that way.
5. Check for Damage
Before you drive your car away, make sure you thoroughly check for damage and make a note of any you find. Take a picture if you can.
Mark damage, large or small, on the car diagram that comes with your car contract and make sure that this is agreed by the person checking the car out to you.
This way there can be no error in understanding what damage already existed before you took the car and therefore you cannot be wrongly blamed for damage that you haven’t done.