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A Guide To Hiring A Car

Top Tips
  1. Ensure you shop around to get the best value deal.
  2. Be aware of any age restrictions that might apply to you.
  3. Read over the provided insurance carefully; consider paying to waive the excess.
  4. Plan ahead if you need any extras such as car seats or sat navs.
  5. Ensure you take your full driving license and the required paperwork.
  6. Perform the recommended checks on the car before agreeing to take it.
  7. Educate yourself on some of the common problems people face.
  8. Car hire is also possible in the UK and can work out cheaper than other modes of transport.

So you're off on holiday and you want to be able to explore the local area with complete freedom; hiring a car is really the only option for you.

When it comes to getting the best deal on your rental car, however, there are some tips and tricks that you ought to keep in mind.

Shop Around

Shopping around for the best deal is important if you plan to hire a holiday car. Rental costs can vary considerably from one provider to the next, which means the best way to get an overview of costs is to use a comparison site. When comparing deals, remember that the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best – look at what the deal includes.

Age Restrictions

If you are under the age of 25 you may be required to pay an additional daily fee to cover the higher insurance costs associated with young drivers. This is likely to be around £20 per day. There may also be restrictions on the type of vehicle you are able to rent. Generally, drivers under 25 are restricted to the smallest cars.


The price you are quoted for your car hire will generally include any compulsory insurance. However, most policies have a high excess attached, which means you could be liable to pay hundreds of pounds if you or another driver damages the vehicle.

Most rental companies will give you the opportunity to upgrade your insurance package for a small daily fee, often reducing the excess to £50 or nothing it all. It is highly advisable to do this; having to pay out money because another driver clipped your hire car could turn a nice break into the holiday from hell.


Most companies offer extras such as child seats and satellite navigation devices. However, these are generally not included in the basic rental price. If you require these items then you could save money by bringing them along yourself. Also, make sure to factor in the cost of petrol, especially as some car hire companies will expect you to return their vehicle with a full tank.


Remember to take both parts of your driving licence with you to the car rental counter, as well as a copy of your confirmation. Most companies insist that you produce the counterpart and may not release the vehicle to you if you turn up without it. You must make the company aware of any endorsements on your licence. Failing to do so could invalidate the insurance on car that you rent.

Checks Prior To Taking The Car

Understand what damage you will be liable for – wheels, tyres, the undercarriage, and the interior are the most common things to be included. Before you drive the car away, ensure the rental firm notes all scratches and dents, and check that the wipers, brakes and lights work. Make sure that the tyres have no bald patches or cuts. Know what sort of fuel the car takes and how much you're expected to leave in the tank when returning the vehicle.

Common Problems

Which? claims that one in six people experiences difficulties with the vehicle or the rental company. It is not unknown for holidaymakers to be told that there is no record of their booking or to find the car rental desk closed.

Or they might end up having to pay to waive an outrageously high insurance excess or to cover a ‘hidden' cost such as pollution tax, airport tax, drivers under 25, or dropping off the car at a different location from the one where you collected it.

According to the AA, other common problems you are likely to encounter include being given a car different from the model you booked and being given a vehicle that wouldn't pass its MoT test in the UK.

It's Not Just Abroad Where Car Hire Can Come In Handy

Many people choose to hire a car when they go on holiday, but car hire can also be a good idea for groups of people travelling around the UK and may work out cheaper than train tickets when the cost of hire and petrol is divided.

A similar approach should be taken with domestic car hire to ensure that you are getting the maximum value from your rental.

One added bonus of car hire in the UK is that some companies will offer to drop the car off at your home and pick it up again afterwards, meaning you can focus on your trip.


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