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5 Things to Consider when Hiring a Car on Holiday

When you go on holiday, it is important to make the most of your time away. In addition to a bit of rest and relaxation, managing to see all of your chosen destination’s highlights is probably on your to-do list.

Rather than rely on public transport or potentially expensive taxi fares, hiring a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace, even if driving on the other side of the road is confusing.

However, hiring a car often has hidden charges and conditions that aren’t apparent at the time of hire. Once you select a range of options and extras, you may find the price has risen considerably. So here are five things to bear in mind.

1.      Be sure of the details. Before handing over your credit card details and receiving the keys, it is important to check every detail. When it comes to the rental firm's fuel policy, several companies now insist on you paying for a full tank upfront. If you don't use the car much, this will be a waste of money, so always pick a fuel policy where you have to return the vehicle with a full tank. Also be sure to ask about any possible mileage limits or whether there is a surcharge for drivers under 25.

2.      Bring your own accessories. Even though a Sat Nav may be useful for finding your way around a tricky European capital, bringing your own device from home is considerably cheaper than hiring one for a week. Most modern GPS devices have the ability to store maps from other countries and all instructions will still be in English. What's more, actually buying a Sat Nav in the UK often works out cheaper too. Child or booster seats tend to be extortionate as well, and with many low-cost carriers allowing you to take these on a flight for little to no additional cost, it makes sense to bring these along too.

3.      Make sure you're covered. Having suitable insurance is essential in case you have an accident abroad. However, the policy or cover a rental firm offers is not always the most cost-effective. Even though its insurance will protect you against a major crash or write-off, the cost of repairing any small scratches or scrapes at a high excess can be phenomenal. Therefore it is a good idea to take out an annual or day-to-day excess policy from an independent company.

4.      Take photos and keep the paperwork. Before you drive away, walk round the car and look for any damage, including minor marks. Also check the interior, engine and tyre condition. Take pictures and make a note of these issues on your rental agreement, then get someone from the company to sign it. You should also do this when you return the car, but don't throw away the paperwork as disputes are becoming more frequent. According to a report by The UK European Consumer Centre, complaints about holiday car hire have increased in recent years.

5.      Pay by credit card but monitor your statement. Even if the rental firm didn’t deliver the promised service, your credit card company can intervene and help with the problem. Renters will insist on taking a credit card as a deposit or guarantee, so check no false charges have been incurred and be sure that any money taken is returned.

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