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Five tips for slashing the cost of car hire abroad

Car rental sign at airport

Brits hire an estimated two million cars abroad every year, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association – but are you getting the best deal?

We’ve teamed up with Hitachi Personal Finance to help cash-conscious holidaymakers save money on their rental car and avoid possible extra costs. Read these top tips on getting the best price when renting a car abroad…

Do your research
Research is key to saving a penny or two, and using comparison sites can help you find the best deal on the market. Once you’ve found a competitive quote, approach some companies directly to see if they can beat it. Be sure to note down your quote reference and all of the terms so you’re comparing like for like.

Be prepared
Booking your car hire in advance could save hundreds of pounds, especially if booking off-peak, when demand is low. If you have booked your holiday nice and early, or know for sure when you’ll be going, then start roaming those comparison sites sooner rather than later to bag a great deal. Leaving it until the last minute is risky as it could inflate the cost!

Get your own excess insurance policy
A lot of car hire companies will offer basic insurance as standard, but will also try and talk prospective customers into buying a pricey excess policy to cover the car if it is scratched or dented. It’s much cheaper to get an excess policy from an independent provider as this additional insurance can often add a large amount onto the daily car hire cost.

Pay by credit card
Paying by credit card can provide extra protection in case anything goes wrong. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit card companies must provide extra protection for transactions over £100, so this is a good payment option should there be any issues with your booking or actual hire of the car.

Avoid hidden charges
When hiring a car abroad, there can be some hidden charges, so it’s important to take a few simple precautions to prevent any problems occurring. Common charges that you might miss are:

  • Refuel charges – Some car hire companies state that you need to return the car back full of petrol, and if not, they charge a small fortune for ‘refuel charges’. Check in advance and fill up if required.
  • The age of the named driver can affect other price too, as under 25s often have to pay a lot more. Don’t be tempted to lie, but if you are a young driver, be prepared for this extra cost.
  • Unnecessary extras – Don’t forget to double check for charges relating to any extras that you might not need such as a sat nav, child seats, cashback offers, cleaning charges etc, as these can all affect the overall value of the deal
  • Charges for damage (that wasn’t your fault) can be enormous. Inspect the condition of the car inside and out, taking pictures of any damage or wear and tear before agreeing to hire the car. That means that if the hire company try and charge you for damage that was there when you got the car, you have the evidence to prove it wasn’t your fault

Discover more tips about how to cut the costs of hiring a car abroad from Hitachi Personal Finance 

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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One comment

  1. Very Nice articles !! I just Love this articles !! Informative and helpful articles !!!

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