Renting a car is a great way to get the most out of your next trip. Instead of paying out for expensive tours, you’ll be free to see whatever you want. But the cost of renting a car can quickly add up if you make a few fundamental mistakes, so here’s how to get the best value for money and keep yourself covered against nasty surprises.
1. Rent the right car
It’s tempting when you’re hiring to go for the kind of car you don’t drive in everyday life. But while that Jaguar sports car might be available for rental at a price you can afford, don’t ignore the hidden costs. The excess on your insurance could run into thousands, and you’ll be out of pocket if you get so much as a tiny scratch.
Instead, opt for the smallest and safest car you can get your hands on. That way you won’t be paying for huge insurance premiums.
2. Don’t buy extras you don’t need
It can be really tempting to buy into all those little extras such as hiring a car seat and a sat nav. After all, don’t we all dream of travelling light? But those extras can come at a cost and you’ll find that convenience costs a lot of money.
The same applies to insurance. Why buy specialist water damage insurance when you’re driving through the desert? Check the small print and decide whether those little extras are worth the big price tag.
3. Opt for full to full
It can be tempting to opt for a full to empty fuel policy, especially if you’re renting for just a few days and don’t want the hassle of refuelling. But beware: this type of policy can end up costing you a fortune because you’ll pay for that full tank of petrol at premium garage rates.
It’s much cheaper to buy budget petrol before you drop your vehicle off. That way you won’t get stung with extra fuel charges.
4. Buying insurance at the desk
We’ve all made this mistake but it’s a really easy one to avoid. It’s tempting to just buy any insurance policy the rental company offers you because that way you’ll be fully covered, right?
Not exactly. Selling insurance cover has become a lucrative income stream for car hire companies and policies such as car rental excess insurance have become very popular with drivers. Who wouldn’t want to drive away with the peace of mind of knowing that there’ll be no nasty surprise charges on your credit card at the end of the trip?
The problem is that buying insurance at the rental desk can cost considerably more than a third party policy that you buy before you travel. This type of policy can be tailor-made to the kind of cover you need, whether that’s a single trip or annual cover, in Europe or Worldwide. And for just pennies a day, it’s a real saving over expensive car rental excess insurance you buy at the desk.
5. Keep your eye on the 24 hour clock
Car hire companies work on the 24 hour clock, giving you a 30 minute grace period when it comes to dropping off your car. Rent a car at 9.30am on a Thursday morning and return it by 10am on Sunday and you’ll only pay for three days. Leave it any longer and you’ll be charged for another whole day’s rental – and insurance, too.
Buy your policy at Excess Buddy
When you want to reduce the amount you pay in car hire, buying a standalone car hire excess insurance policy can help. To get the best deal, Excess Buddy lets you compare policies from top-notch insurers so you get exactly the cover you need at a price that’s right for you, whether you’re on a month-long road trip in the US or a long weekend in Calais!