Saturday, 20 August 2016

Watch out for hidden car hire costs

MORE than one-in-five people who have hired a car say they had found damage on the vehicle which was not highlighted on the check-out sheet, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by

Any damage to a hire car, even if it isn’t the fault of their hirer, can lead to the renter having to pay the first part of the cost of repair, up to the excess amount, which can be as much as £1,200.

The survey found that while half of hire car drivers always check their car for damage before they drive it, and almost a quarter have taken a picture of the hire car to prove it was damaged before they used it, only 38% check the condition of the wheels and tyres, despite the fact that these items can account for approximately one-in-five charges for minor damage made at the rental desk. Claims for damage to wheels and tyres, can cost from £120 to £400.

It isn’t just on pick-up that drivers need to be vigilant. A quarter have had to return their hire car without seeing a hire car representative. With 7% of renters believing they have been wrongly accused of damaging a rental car, not getting it signed off by a company representative is a risky move that could end up being costly.

Excess insurance can be bought to protect drivers from paying for damage, but the rental company policies cost up to £17 a day, five times more expensive than a policy from (from £2.99 a day). Rental company policies also often exclude damage to windows, tyres, and undercarriages – areas that are most likely to be damaged. policies automatically include these vulnerable areas as standard.

‘When you pick up a hire car always check it thoroughly,’ says Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of ‘Make sure that you note down every mark, no matter how insignificant on the check-out sheet, including damage and scuffs to the wheels. We hear of many people getting charged for minor damage, which they say was on the car when they picked it up, but which they didn’t mark on the paperwork. In the modern world of vehicle rental, this can be tantamount to writing a blank cheque to the rental desk.’

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