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With a return of travel potentially on the cards, driven by vaccination programmes around the world, many people are turning their attention to a getaway somewhere.
But the travel landscape is significantly different now than it was at the start of 2020, especially when it comes to the car rental sector.
Numerous rental companies had to sell off stock or restructure to ensure their survival last year, meaning there’s considerably less choice available – for example, the size of the available rental fleet in Ireland has more than halved in the space of 12 months.
This, coupled with the rising number of people looking to travel and a preference to avoid public transport given how the virus spreads, means demand for rental cars is set to soar.
High demand mixed with short supply
Companies across the globe, including in Australia, the USA, the UK and Europe, have all predicted rising demand, a factor that has also driven up prices in many locations.
It means that landing at an airport and picking up a car at the rental desk could cost a premium, and that’s on the assumption that a vehicle is actually available.
The limited availability of vehicles is expected to push up prices throughout the summer, especially if the situation in the USA for spring break is anything to go by.
In late March, car rental was costing upwards of $300 a day, highlighting the higher prices that travellers will likely be expected to pay while car hire firms go about rebuilding their fleets.
Given the wider uncertainty caused by the pandemic, many firms may also be apprehensive about rapidly investing in more vehicles too, meaning shortages may exist for a large proportion of the year.
Planning in advance is key
If you are planning a getaway for later this year and know you will require car hire, we recommend booking as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment. Some rental companies are offering free cancellation if you are unable to travel or need to change your plans, so it is definitely worth planning ahead to ensure you secure the vehicle you require for your holiday.
You may also want to check car hire availability before booking other elements of a trip, such as your hotel and flights, it may prove difficult to change these after if you later discover a problem when trying to book car hire.
Not only will it cost you less to book in advance, but you’ll have the guarantee that you’ll arrive at your destination and have a car to drive away in.
You may also wish to consider additional insurance cover for an added layer of protection while you’re away – opting for car hire excess insurance could increase your cover when compared to what is available from the rental company, for example.
Purchasing such insurance online via a third party will also cost you less than if you purchase cover directly from a car hire firm. For example, cover from Questor Insurance starts from as little as £2.99 per day, which is considerably less than what you may be charged by the rental company, and more often than not the level of cover offered via a third party is of a higher value with many add-ons included for free.
You can book your car hire excess insurance in advance of your trip so you know everything is sorted for your upcoming holiday. If your plans do change for any reason, you can amend or cancel your policy before the start date with Questor for a no quibble refund.
So to summarise, plan ahead as availability this year may not be the same as previous experiences.
Date Created: 28/04/2021