In these unprecedented times we continue to offer unexpectedly personal service and we understand that your plans may have been disrupted. Please visit our dedicated coronavirus page to see how we can help you.
More than four in five people who hire cars in the UK have faced unexpected fees when they collect or return a vehicle overseas, new research has revealed.
According to StressFreeCarRental.com, a car hire comparison website, more than 80% of drivers run into trouble at the rental desk.
This represents a problem for those who are keen to keep their car hire expenditure down, as some of these hidden costs and extras could mean the price of their overall rental spirals.
But what do holidaymakers need to look out for to ensure their holidays don’t end up costing more than intended?
While the initial quote might seem cheap, the price comparison company has pointed to extras including administration fees, cleaning charges, additional mileage and fees for young drivers.
On top of that, travellers were also expected to pay for returning the car late, refuelling, smoking charges and a raft of unwanted insurance products.
The key for British holidaymakers is to do research, as online reviews can reveal a lot about a car hire firm that they could potentially rent from.
Some car hire firms around the world will charge additional fees if the driver falls into certain age ranges – usually if they are under 25 or over 60.
Younger drivers are deemed to represent a higher risk and a rental can cost up to €50 per day more with selected companies in certain European countries.
The majority of cars are washed and cleaned upon their return at the end of a rental, but if specialist cleaning is required, this can hit holidaymakers in the pocket.
This is especially the case in beach destinations, with firms found to charge up to £50 a time to remove excess sand from a vehicle.
In some instances, smoking in a hire vehicle can also be deemed to warrant special cleaning at the end of a rental, so it’s wise to smoke away from a hire car should you wish to.
It’s bad enough being involved in an accident while on holiday, but numerous rental firms will likely charge administration fees on top of any excess you need to pay.
Similar handling fees are often added onto any parking tickets or speeding fines related to the vehicle, so it’s important to check what they are liable for before agreeing to hire.
These added costs can vary wildly depending on the car hire company and can be up to €100 per incident in some instances.
From being charged for returning a vehicle outside of the required time frame or parking it up in the wrong place, the end of a rental can also throw up unexpected costs.
Key drops can be a particular issue – and are prevalent with out-of-hours rentals – as the lack of staff can make it difficult to contest any damage claims, although holidaymakers can protect themselves to an extent by taking lots of photographs of the vehicle.
And while it is tempting to maximise the time spent at a destination, having an extra 10-15 minutes to check the car over can make all the difference should a hire firm attempt to claim for any unexpected damage once travellers are back in the UK.
Car hire firms will push their own excess insurance at the rental desk, but this is often far more expensive than what is available via a third party online.
Over longer trips this cost can quickly add up, while a failure to have any excess insurance could leave drivers liable and facing bills of thousands of pounds should the worse happen.
Fortunately, Questor Insurance provides car hire excess cover which will help to protect your excess when hiring a vehicle. If you would like to know more about this policy, feel free to contact our customer services team by calling 0330 094 4330 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Created: 07/12/2020