We’ve all been there. You finally make it off your flight and fight your way to the car rental desk. And then it starts. The hard sell on all the extras and insurances that you really shouldn’t be without if you want to enjoy a good trip. And because you’re fed up with the whole thing and just want to get to your hotel, you find yourself signing on the dotted line and waving your credit card…
There is a better way. Do your homework beforehand and you can avoid the hard sell and fully protect yourself for a fraction of the cost of the car hire firms’ policies. The only thing you’ll need is a credit card with sufficient credit to cover the excess but you can ignore the rest of the hard sell and still have the cover and protection you need. Here’s how:
Choose car hire with care
If you’re on a tight budget then those headline low prices from the budget brands can seem really appealing. But hire from them and you’re likely to find yourself getting the hard sell when you go to pick up your car because selling all those added extras is how they manage to offer such cheap rentals.
Instead, go for the next step above the bargain basement brands. The chances are you’ll get more included in the hire price and you won’t have to wait in such a long queue to get your car either. The bottom line? Always read the small print when you’re comparing car rental prices so you know exactly what’s included.
Don’t accept the upgrades and add ons
Make sure you hire a car that’s big enough for you and your passengers plus all your luggage in the first place. That way you won’t be tempted when you’re offered an upgrade. If your hire company offer you an upgrade because they can’t supply your chosen model, you shouldn’t have to pay for it – always be prepared to haggle.
There’s no need to hire a satnav with your car because you have everything you need on your phone. Buy a big enough data roaming package and download the Google maps you’ll need so you can use them offline.
Travelling with a baby? Then check with your airline about taking a car seat and buggy. Many carriers now let you take these essentials for free or at a small cost, which means you don’t need to pay the inflated mark-up from your car rental company.
Don’t buy their car hire excess insurance
If you’ve checked the small print, and hired from a European company, then Collision Damage Waiver, Theft and Third party insurance should all be included as standard. With US-based companies, you may have to check that you’ve ticked the box to include this cover. Problem is, you’re still liable for thousands of pounds of excess if the worst happens and you have a problem with your hire car.
Don’t be panicked into buying the rental company’s car hire excess insurance; it’ll cost you more and provide less cover than a standalone policy that you source yourself. Use Excess Buddy to get the best possible deals that include extras such as tyre and mirror protection, roadside breakdown cover, misfuelling and loss of keys.
It’s worth printing out the terms & conditions of your contract and taking them with you. If your hire company raises an objection, you can ask them where they can find that in the contract – it’s amazing how quickly they’ll hand over the keys.
Use Excess Buddy before you travel
Buying a car hire excess insurance policy through Excess Buddy is the smart way to avoid all those annoying questions and ignore the hard sell. We compare thousands of policies from top ranked insurers so you’ll get the exact cover you need for just pennies a day.