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Things to Check When Renting a Car

16th May, 2022, in Global Hire Advice, Car Hire Help

A family holiday is a fantastic time to get together and enjoy what a country has to offer. Lazing around a hotel pool is certainly relaxing, but when you get into your hire car to enjoy the scenery, attractions and the country itself, you start to build a real holiday experience.

Hire car options are seemingly endless – luckily, we have provided a comprehensive directory of some of the best car hire companies around. We have also collated the data to show you where you can get the cheapest hire cars for a holiday!

Before setting off in your hire car, though, there are a few things that you should check over to enable a safe holiday that won’t burden you with additional costs. Holiday car hire excess insurance should always be top of your list, but what else should be? Read on to find out.

Paperwork for renting a car

Arriving at the rental agency without your paperwork is not going to be the best start to your holiday. Prior to renting, make sure you have your driver’s licence and a valid credit card in your name. It is unlikely you will be able to use a debit card. The credit card is used as a form of guarantee against incidental charges, such as parking tickets.

When deciding upon a car hire company, it would be advisable to check their requirements first to ensure you present the correct documentation upon arrival.

Check the rental car exterior

Rental cars can clock up some serious mileage and as a result may pick up scratches or dents. Before signing anything, check the exterior for any signs of damage and see if it has been recorded on the rental paperwork. If not, ask if it can be added. You don’t want to be charged for previous hirers’ damage.

Find out what fuel your rental car takes

A common error in the rental car trade is misfuelling, so it is important to check the type of fuel your rental car runs on. A sticker on the fuel cap, dashboard or with your paperwork will likely display the fuel type. However, if unclear, ask your rental company. It is in their best interest to inform you as misfuelling can seriously damage a car. Luckily, car hire excess insurance can protect you from the resultant costs.

Familiarise yourself with the rental car

Whilst all cars are fundamentally the same, there are many differences that you may not be aware of until it is too late. For instance, look at how the dashboard is laid out. See how the seat and mirrors are set. Look at how much fuel is in the car when you set off (many companies will provide you with a full tank.)

You could also check things like the seatbelts, headlights and gears. Anything that can make you feel safer or more comfortable on the road is worth getting familiar with.

Learn local parking rules

There may be some specific parking rules in the country you are visiting. When hiring a car, ask your rental agency about the types of common road restrictions. You wouldn’t want to return from a day-long beach trip to find your car clamped. Double yellow lines might mean something else in a different country!

Returning your rental car

You should always find out from your agent what the terms of return are. In places with high levels of tourism, the turnaround on cars is very quick. If there is a stipulated time to return your vehicle, stick to it, or even drop the car off a little early. Charges can be added to your bill for a late return that can significantly hike up your rental costs.

Keep your rental car on the road

Some of the places you visit whilst on your trip may entice you into some off-road driving. Instead, go on an arranged excursion, rather than risking damage to your hire. In most, if not all agreements, you are forbidden from off-roading in your car. Getting stuck in dunes, up a mountain or in a swamp will not go down well and is not covered by regular insurance. This means you would be footing a huge bill for not only breaking the agreement, but also for potential damage to the car.

Ensure you have the correct insurance

There are so many insurance policies available, so choosing one can often be the trickiest part. It’s important to be fully covered against all eventualities, but perhaps have a budget in mind. Look for policies that offer cover for windows, tyres, towing and drop-off charges. This way you, are likely to avoid some of the most common fees holidaymakers accrue when renting a car.

Hopefully, now you are a little more confident of what to look out for when renting a car for your holiday. Now all that’s left is to have a good time.

The team at Direct Car Hire Excess have been protecting people from high excess fees for years, and offer policy holders 24-hour support no matter where they are. Our range of policies not only cover holidays, but multiple trips abroad. With worldwide car excess insurance operating in 120 countries, you can travel stress-free, knowing you are covered against any additional fees associated with your hire car. Contact us today to find out more, or get a free quote now.

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