Renting a vehicle can be very stressful, and with a different set of processes for every company, confusing jargon about loss and collision damage waivers and often a variety of hidden charges, it can all get a little overwhelming. Have no fear, though – in this article, we’ll provide some helpful tips to make your car hire experience as smooth as possible.
Book in Advance
As with many other things when travelling, rental costs can increase a lot as you get closer to your departure date. Sure, you can sometimes get lucky with an extremely cheap last minute deal. But these require a LOT of flexibility, and can leave you vulnerable to pressure in the rental office. Even worse, firms often have no vehicles available at busy times, leaving you stranded.
To avoid this and to keep peace of mind, take control and book on your own terms. Starting your search early and booking well in advance can help you get much cheaper rates.
Refuel and Return
Make sure you fill your car up fully before handing the keys back to avoid the sort of charges no collision damage waiver can diffuse! First-time vehicle renters often make this mistake – and consequently incur some heavy costs from hire companies.
Since fuel prices can vary massively, even within the same region, companies will often charge you at the most expensive rates. It’s far safer to fill up yourself.
Top Tip: If you want to avoid any extra driving, many companies let you pay for fuel upfront.
Bring the Correct Documents
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to turn up with the wrong documents. Read all terms and conditions carefully to avoid getting caught out. You’ll practically always need a driver’s licence and bank card, but many agencies also ask for proof of address and even travel documentation. You should also make sure you bring proof of any additional insurance, loss or collision damage waiver you’ve purchased.
Check for Damage
Car rentiers always seem to check more thoroughly when they take a vehicle off you than when they hand it over…
Unscrupulous rental agencies often cut corners in assessment when handing you the keys, leading to you having to pay to repair pre-existing damage (this is exactly why you’ll need excess insurance in addition to your collision damage waiver). To avoid this, check the car yourself – thoroughly.
Top Tip: For added safety, write down your findings and take photos and videos. Any evidence you have for the car’s condition will help you if you need to dispute a charge.
Make Sure You’re Covered
Though many companies offer a collision damage waiver as standard, this is rarely enough to fully cover you. There’s almost always an excess charge you’re liable to pay, which can be several thousand pounds. Stay safe by purchasing car hire excess insurance before you rent.
We hope this article has helped you understand how to get the best and fairest deal on vehicle hire. Be prepared and always make sure you’re covered for a great rental experience.
Sam Walker is a specialist insurance expert at LowerHire, a company that offers low-cost single trip and annual multi-trip car hire excess insurance policies. Travellers can avoid the hidden costs of the collision damage waiver in their rental agreement and look forward to a stress-free car hire experience.
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