If you’re planning on driving in Europe this year, the chances are you’re looking at hiring a car. It’s a great way to get around independently and see things that are off the tourist trail. But there are a few things to think about so you can enjoy your trip to the full.
Check your documents
Before you travel, make sure you’ve got all the relevant documents for driving in Europe. You’ll need:
– Driving licence
– International Driving Permit if you’re travelling outside the EU
– Travel insurance documents
– DVLA driving licence code (hire firms don’t usually ask for this but it’s best to apply for one in case)
– Car hire excess insurance documents
Check the insurance
When you book your hire car, take a few minutes to check what insurance is included. Cover usually includes:
– Third party: if you cause damage or injury to another person or their car, they’ll receive compensation
– Theft: cover in the event your hire car gets stolen
– Collision damage waiver: cover in case you’re involved in a collision
This is the minimum cover you’ll need but smart travellers know that car hire excess insurance is well worth sorting out before you travel.
Compare excess insurance at Excess Buddy
Never buy extra insurance direct from your car rental company; it’s expensive and you can source better and cheaper cover yourself. Car hire excess insurance covers the excess you’ll pay on any claim made on your insurance. Frequent travellers will know just how annoying it is to find a large sum debited from your card for a minor scratch.
This type of insurance will not only help you claim back this cost but you can also add other useful cover, including breakdown and roadside assistance, misfuelling and lost keys. And because vulnerable areas where most damage occurs aren’t included in standard car rental policies, you can cover those too. To get the best deal, compare excess insurance at Excess Buddy before you travel.
Save money on extras
It’s tempting to hire car seats and sat navs along with your car but you can save with these handy tips:
– Forget the sat nav and download a good navigation app to your phone
– Child seats are usually free to take on planes, and even a small fee will be lower than the cost of hiring
– Think carefully before adding an extra driver as this can increase the cost of hire significantly
– Opt to pick up and drop off at the same location if you can as it’s usually cheaper
Check the boot
You may be used to driving without any special equipment in the car but in most European countries, you’re legally obliged to carry certain equipment. Most car hire companies will provide the basics for you, but it’s your responsibility not the hire company’s to ensure that you’ve got the right gear.
You’ll need to check the rules for the country or countries you’ll be driving in but it’s worth having hi-vis jackets for each passenger and a warning triangle. Check the boot before you drive off to make sure you have the equipment you need.
Keep loose change or a card handy for tolls
The chances are you’ll come across at least one toll road when driving in Europe, so make sure you keep some loose change or a card handy to pay. A non-slip mat is a good place to keep everything where you need it to avoid that last-minute scramble!
Drive on the right
If you’re driving in Cyprus, Ireland and Malta then you’ll be glad to know you’ll still be driving on the left. But for popular destinations in France, Spain and Italy and further afield, you’ll need to drive on the right. Take your time and remember that, as the driver, you’re always next to the kerb. Travel with an alert passenger who can help you out when you go into auto-pilot!