Car Hire - The hidden costs


Hiring a car at home or abroad is a relatively easy and simple task. However there are a lot of hidden costs associated with hiring a car and just by taking note of these tips you can really save yourself a fortune.

Senior employee handing a smiling couple the key to their car rental

Senior employee handing a smiling couple the key to their car rental

Car hire excess - When you hire a car by law insurance must be included. However car hire excess policies are also forced upon you by a pushy desk salesperson. The reason for this is all rental car companies place a large excess on their insurance policies (usually around £1,500) which means you’re going to have to fork out a fortune before your insurance kicks in.  However with a car hire excess policy you pay a fee to mitigate against this. Car hire companies can charge up to £30 a day for this once you arrive at the desk. One way to get around it is to buy a car hire excess policy before you travel. An excess policy starts at just £2.19 a day depending on where you are renting the car and can save you a lot of money just by planning ahead. It’s also worth reading your small print. Many companies will add an admin fee for damage to the vehicle. If you’ve an excess policy you are not legally obliged to pay this.


For more information on care hire excess or to take out a policy visit:


Full – Empty policy – The full empty policy is one of the ways car hire companies make their money. Where possible always try to avoid a car rental that enforces that the car is full when you pick it up and empty when you return it. You’re always going to pay an overinflated price for the fuel which you could easily go round the corner and get yourself. You will also not receive a discount if you don’t use all the fuel and really is a method only for people with more money than sense.



Additional Fees – To avoid additional and unexpected fees when you get home it’s important that you check the car over thoroughly for scratches, dings and dents before driving off into the sun. The internet is littered with stories of people being charged ludicrous amounts of money straight from their credit cards for damage they simply didn’t commit. Make a point of taking photos of the car before you leave and point out any damage that’s already there straight away.



Upgrading – Car companies, especially during peak seasons will often tell you they don’t have any cars available in the class band you bought. They will either offer you the band below or give you the option to upgrade for a fee. However they have no right to do this. If the car or a similar car is not available upon your arrival you should insist that the upgraded model comes at no extra cost or the band of car below comes with a discount. This may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many car hire companies try this.


Book well in advance – It’s almost always best to book well in advance. Booking in advance tends to get you the best rate and will save you money in the future. It’s also well worth choosing the option to pay on arrival. In nearly all cases booking a car isn’t binding and cancellation is always free. (Unless you’ve prepaid) Booking early gives you the ability to check back regularly to make sure you get the best price possible, saving your money for the fun stuff!


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