Hiring a car for your family trip is not all smiles and giggles as advertised. The realistic scenario is actually quite grim as you will have to dig through the sale pitches, deceptive insurance scams and false promises to find your way to the best car hire service in the UK. Yes, it does sound like swimming with sharks but fear not, we have lined up the pit holes and the moves you need to make to avoid them.
For starters always go for the basic package on everything, be it insurance or accessories. Our guide will help you save on all the extras without compromising on your comfort and safety.
Be Wary of Insurance Sales Pitch:
Yes, insurance is mandatory by law, so it is wise to opt for a proper policy. But what’s not required is the fact that you don’t have to give in to the sales pitch at a car hire. They will even try to sell you Kangaroo collision and claim that only their insurance covers you comprehensively. That’s obviously a blatant lie.
Ideally, you should get a CDW (collision damage waiver) insurance above the general insurance, and if you hunt for it, you will find that certain insurance companies offer yearly deals for as low as £33. Some deals would cover crashes and major dents along with minor scratches, which are usually left out in general insurance. If you are not a frequent traveler, then you can go for shorter tenure deals, just hunt a little, get reviews and look at firms like insurance4carhire.com, axia.ie, carhireexcess.ie and icarinsurance.com before you commit hundreds of pounds in CDW insurance from car hire reps. Also, get quotes of CDW from your regular travel and car insurance company. You don’t have to visit, just make a few calls or leave them a message for quotes and packages.
Bringing Along GPS and Child Seats:
You will be charged for GPS and Satnav, which is quite unfair from a hirer’s perspective, but it’s just one of the huge pitfalls that car hire companies exploit. What can you do to avoid? Simply, use Google or Apple Maps on your smartphone/tab. If you are not sold on the smartphone tip, then hear this out. You can get a brand-new Satnav unit covering Europe and UK for as little as £50. Top of the range models will cost you more. On the other hand, the car hires companies will charge you anywhere from £78 to £100 for a week, yes for a week. Do the math and you will potentially save hundreds of pounds if your vacations are 2-3 weeks long.
Another crude and cruel way of indicating you with extra charges is through child car seats. Again, the big players like Hertz and Europcar won’t play nice and will charge you north of £60 for safety and booster seats, even airlines charge less than that. Some of them charge as little as £10 for kid’s seats, but you need to check with yours regarding excess baggage. You can even get a new booster seat in UK for £10 and sometimes even less.
Prepare Photographic Evidences:
This one will save you more than mere pounds. It will ensure you have peace of mind throughout your holiday trip, and a winning hand if the car hire firm or insurance company tries to pull a trick on you.
Always take photographic evidence; ideally, make a video, when you are getting the vehicle from the rental firm. Make sure to take a snap of every minor scratch and bump, the condition of tires, underneath the vehicle, mileage and fuel level. Then record the same in the case of an accident and finally show both pictures on your return. You don’t need any fancy equipment; the camera on your smartphone will do just fine.
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