If you’re heading off on your travels in half term, you may be thinking of hiring a car. Whether you’re flying up to Scotland and then touring the highlands and islands or taking the train to the ski slopes, a hire car is the handiest way to find your way around. But how can you get the best deal at any time of year?
Don’t use a broker
It’s tempting to let someone else take the hassle of searching for the best deal, but if things go wrong you could find that your broker leaves you to sort the mess out for yourself. Better to book through established car rental companies who are part of the BVRLA or the European Car Rental Conciliation Service. Ask friends and family for recommendations of trustworthy rental companies.
Book in advance
If you know your travel dates, then start looking for rentals as soon as possible. Booking in advance is hands-down the best way to get the best deals, and you’re more likely to get the exact make and model of car you want.
Look further afield
Renting from the airport is convenient but more expensive than hiring a car from a company with their operation somewhere else. Look for a rental company that offers a free shuttle from the airport, however, as getting to their offices could cancel out any savings if you have to take a taxi.
Look out for added extras
Do you really need to pay to hire a car seat? Most airlines will now carry essential baby equipment for free and your holiday villa should provide the basics if you’re travelling with young children so there’s no need to hire that car seat. As for a sat nav, most smartphones are more than capable of doing the job and you can download maps offline to make navigation easier and cheaper.
Read the small print
When travelling in Europe – your rental car will be covered by Collision Damage Waiver insurance but don’t confuse this with the fully comprehensive insurance you have on your own car. The car hire company may agree to cover damage but you’ll still be liable for a hefty excess.
This insurance is principally designed to cover damage to the vehicle and there are usually plenty of exclusions – that’s why you need to read the small print with care. A good car hire company will cover any accidental damage even if another car isn’t involved, whereas a cheaper company may try and hold you directly liable.
The good news is you can take action to cover yourself against any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Car excess insurance covers the excess you’ll pay in the event of any damage, resetting your liability to zero. If you do get charged, you reclaim the excess back from your insurer so you’re never out of pocket.
Establish whether you can organise your own car excess insurance with your rental company at the time of booking – take screenshots of your live chat so you have the information in writing. Then use Excess Buddy to get the best deal on car excess insurance. Look out for policies that include misfuelling, vulnerable car parts and emergency cover to get the best deal whether you’re driving in Europe or Worldwide. And if you have another trip booked in the summer why not buy multi-trip cover and save even more money.
Trust Excess Buddy
Excess Buddy is the smart way to compare policies from top insurers to get the best deal on your excess insurance cover. We can provide European cover for as little as 11p a day, up to ten times less than a rental company policy. If you want to rent a car with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of cover this half term, trust Excess Buddy to deliver peace of mind motoring in the UK, Europe and Worldwide.