The cost of motoring is escalating rapidly, with fuel prices and insurance premiums seeming to rise continually. For some it’s simply not economically feasible to own or run a car. However, many still need four-wheeled transport to get them around.
How do you resolve this issue? Hire a car for when you need one, of course. Hire car companies generally offer a complete package, including rental and insurance, ensuring maximum convenience.
But it’s important to know the ins and outs of hiring a car. Here are our tips to get the best deal when renting a vehicle:
- Do you know the difference between Economy and Compact class cars? If you’re going to be taking luggage with you, it’s important to understand how big the vehicle you’re getting is, so do your research of the company’s terminology. Opting for a smaller car can also save you a useful amount of cash.
- Check you are legally allowed to drive the vehicle you’re intending to hire. If you only have a licence for an automatic, make sure you specify an automatic. It’ll save you losing your deposit when the mistake eventually surfaces.
- Do you need extras such as air-con and sat-nav? Most modern cars have air conditioning but optional extras can bump up the price of your hire costs. If you don’t need them – or can make do without – it’s a clever way to reduce expense.
- Shop around for the best deal – you’ll get the same type of car but prices can vary by a considerable amount. Other companies might be running promotions on certain classes of vehicle over certain periods. A little bit of time spent searching can help save money here.
- A second driver is often included in the contract so take advantage of it and book someone else in. Even if you don’t use it, they are there for any eventuality. Just make sure they’re eligible to drive, too – hire companies often have a no under 25s policy.
- Read the small print and the terms and conditions. It’ll tell you what your mileage allowance is and any other stipulations set out as part of the agreement, such as how much fuel you have to return the car with, what the insurance excess is and who to call in the event of an accident or breakdown.
- Make sure there’s a thorough damage check done with both you and a member of the hire car company present before you drive off – this way, any existing damage can’t be blamed on you.
- Avoid pre-paying for fuel – it’ll be cheaper to fill up elsewhere than getting the rental company to brim the tank for you.
- If you paid for your car hire by credit or debit card, check your statement a short period after you gave the car back to ensure there were no unauthorised charges (this could be a late return fee so know when you need to have the car back by). If there are, contact your bank or the hire car company immediately.
These tips apply to renting a car in the UK as well as abroad if you’re going on holiday. The important thing is to know what you’re getting for your money and make sure you go through the agreement thoroughly.