Top tips to save a packet on holiday car hire

26 May, 2016, the leading provider of standalone excess insurance, this week launched its ‘Car Hire Hit List’, featuring ten top tips to save drivers up to £760* on a week’s hire.

The hit list is based on the hire of a compact family car for a week.  

  1. Book early research found that in 2015 holidaymakers saved on average £100 if they booked their summer hire car in February instead of waiting until June. Last minute deals do exist but to guarantee a good price, and the car you want, book as soon as you can – Saving approx £100. 
  2. Use price comparison sites The price charged by car hire companies varies significantly so always shop around to make sure you get the best deal. E.g., Hiring a car for a week in 2015 (6-13 Aug) in Crete cost £291 with Europcar and £468 with Sixt. However hiring in Barcelona for the same week Sixt charged £245, and Hertz charged £369. Use a price comparison site to shop around as the price between companies can vary by hundreds of pounds – Saving approx £150 
  3. Get the right sized hire car for you Being unable to fit in that pushchair or extra bag could cost you over £100 to upgrade to a bigger car.  E.g., booking a compact car to pick up from Alicante Airport for a week in Aug (6 – 13 Aug) costs £233 if booked in advance, but if you need a Ford C-Max, which can carry three large suitcases and two small cases, on arrival, you would pay £456 at the location, compared with £314 if you’d booked it online in the first place – Saving approx £140. 
  4. Shop around for car hire excess insurance – If a hire car is stolen or damaged even if it isn’t the hirer’s fault means they are liable for the excess which can be as much as £2,000.  Hire car companies charge on average £16 a day for excess insurance/waiver to protect drivers from this, but this can be as much as £28 a day!  Buy a standalone policy from £2.99 a day or £37.99 for an annual policy from – Saving approx £90 on a week’s holiday. If you travel more than once a year, an annual policy could save even more.
  5. Take a spare credit card – If you don’t buy the car hire company’s excess / waiver policy they will often insist that the excess is held on a credit card until the car is returned undamaged. Take a spare credit card with you, as having £2,000 held on your one credit card could seriously limit your holiday spending. – Saving £110. 
  6. Protect your tyres and windscreen – Often rental desks’ excess policies exclude damage to windows, tyres and undercarriage, and sell a separate Tyres and Windscreen excess policy for around £32 a week.  All policies include, as standard, cover for vulnerable parts of the vehicle including windscreens, tyres, roof and undercarriage – Saving approx. £30. 
  7. Sharing the driving increases the costs – Adding a named driver to your rental agreement could cost almost £10 per day and if the driver is under 25 this could be as much as £30 per day. If one of you is going to do 90% of the driving is it really worth the extra cost? Different companies charge different amounts, so if this is important to you, factor it in when making the booking. – Saving approx £70. 
  8. Do you need a SatNav? – It can cost over £80[vii] to hire one for a week, and often this cost is not disclosed to you when you book. If you have a detachable SatNav at home, it is normally cheaper to upgrade to European mapping and take it with you, or consider getting a SatNav app for your smart phone – Savings approx £80 if you take one with you (or £30 if you buy one for £69.99). 
  9. Hiring a car seat for your child can cost up to £70 for the weekMany airlines will take car seats in their hold for free, so consider taking yours with you. For older children why not purchase an inflatable booster child seat? Saving approx £70.   
  10. Check the exchange rate – Some companies let you pay for your extras when you book your hire car, but others cannot be paid for until you arrive at your destination.  Changes in the value of the pound against the Euro can make a big difference in price so keep this in mind when making your booking. With theaverage cost of extras totalling £276 a 10% change in the value of the pound against the Euro can add or remove £30 from your bill. Saving approx. £30

Ernesto Suarez, Founder and CEO, said, “When hiring a car the headline price is often not the price you actually end up paying, and often the prices for extras are not available until drivers reach the rental desk. We created this ‘Hire Car Hit List’ to help drivers get the best deal and avoid the pitfalls.”