Don't let your car hire cost you more than it should
Common practice it may have become, but it seems that does not stop some car rental companies from pulling the wool over the eyes of their customers and adding in extra costs – often without their noticing it until it is too late to argue.
But forewarned is forearmed, they say, so what might you be on the look out for when it comes to keeping down the cost of your car hire?
- An idea of what you are up against is recounted in the Telegraph newspaper and tells the tale of a customer who unwittingly paid out an extra £300 or so for a fortnight’s car rental.
- The culprit here was the rental company’s practice of selling car hire excess insurance whether the customer liked it or not – or, indeed, whether they were even aware of the purchase.
- In one respect, it might be argued that the company is doing the customer favour in selling excess insurance – the amount of excess payable in the event of an accident might amount to little short of a thousand pounds.
- There is a clear rationale in the purchase of excess insurance, therefore – but the cost of the premiums for the cover sold to this particular customer represents a very significant proportion of the excess itself.
- Moreover, a careful reading of the excess cover is likely to reveal that damage to certain areas of the vehicle – such as the roof, underside, windows, wheels and tyres – is likely to be excluded.
- To add insult to injury is the fact that excess insurance may generally be bought at a more competitive price than that charged by the hire car company.
- A standalone policy may be bought from an independent, UK based excess insurance specialist before you even set out on your journey.
- Whether you buy the cover for a single trip or purchase an annual cover that is valid for multiple trips, you may find that it offers more comprehensive cover than that provided by the car rental company – and at a more competitive price too.
- Excess insurance is not the only additional cost that may be smuggled into the cost of your hire car, however.
- Another favourite comes in the shape of the company’s fuel policy – with the rental company supplying you with a full tank of fuel and requiring its return on empty (despite any remaining fuel in the tank which you have also paid for).
- Other additional costs may come in the form of child seats you may need to hire or even sat nav devices – these costs may not be hidden exactly, but might often be higher than the going market rate.
Forewarned about some of these additional – and sometimes hidden – costs may also help you avoid paying more than you need the next time you hire car.