Car Hire Tips
When you hire a car you want the whole process to be as stress free as possible. The best way to make sure your rental runs smoothly is to follow these tips:
On This Page
- Booking your hire car
- Collecting your hire car
- Returning your hire car
- Car Hire Extras
- Things you should know
Booking your hire car
Planning a UK mini break? Or need a car for a business trip? Hiring a car can be a great way of getting around the UK. There are a large selection of car hire providers with locations throughout the UK. You can usually opt to collect your car from a local branch or have it delivered to an address of your choice. You can hire any type of car from small electric cars to high quality executive vehicles, depending on how much you would like to spend.
Whether you want a budget rental to get you from A to B, or a luxury rental vehicle, it is worth spending 20 minutes having a shop around for the best low cost rental available. Most of the leading car hire brands offer extremely competitive prices and seasonal discounts. You can also save money by booking your rental as far in advance as possible.
You can shop around for quotes by either ringing providers, visiting providers’ websites, or using online comparison sites. You can find out more information about providers you can trust on our Car Hire Providers Guide.
Making your booking by phone
If you plan on getting quotes from a few car hire providers you may find it quite time consuming to call all of the car hire providers and may find it easier to visit a price comparison website.
However, booking by phone is a good way of making sure you can trust the company you are booking with and that they offer positive customer support. If you use the phone to make your booking you can also have any questions or queries answered in real time. Some providers request you book by phone if you need additional items fitted onto the rental vehicle such as Lynx Hand controls.
Making your booking on a provider’s website
If you book direct with a provider on their website only book with websites you can trust. Make sure you have the correct spelling of the provider’s name and the URL is correct.
If you have little knowledge about car hire providers and you plan on finding a provider using a search engine like Google or Bing then beware. There are some fraudulent websites on the web offering high quality car hire vehicles at really low prices. If you come across a website that seems to be offering a too good to be true car hire offer, then be skeptical, chances are it really is a deal that is too good to be true. Often fake sites will offer amazing deals such as prestige or high powered cars for exceptionally low prices to reel you in. If you come across such a deal call up the company and speak to their support. If no one answers the phone or there is no phone number then do not risk booking with that company.
To find a trustworthy car hire provider visit our car hire providers guide. We only list reputable companies that are true and trustworthy companies.
Making your booking using a comparison site
Most of the leading car hire brands offer extremely competitive prices and seasonal discounts. You can also save money by booking your rental as far in advance as possible. It is worth spending 20 minutes having a shop around for the best low cost rental available.
PetrolPrices.com recommends The Car Hire Centre to compare car rental quotes as they can save you money on your rental. Call +44 (0)844 816 0099 for a quote or visit The Car Hire Centre website.
Deciding how to get a quote
To help you decide how to get a quote we have created this table showing the pros and cons of each method:
|Booking by phone||Booking using provider’s website||Booking using price comparision website|
|Up to date prices|
|Easy to request extras|
|Queries answered in real time|
|Average time to get a quote||10 minutes per provider called||1 minute per provider||1 minute (shows all providers in one go)|
|Average time to make a booking||15 minutes||7 minutes||7 minutes|
|Option to add extras|
|Option to request specialist equipment|
|Option to change information during booking|
|Cheapest quote on the market|
|Up to date vehicle availability|
Collecting your hire car
When you collect your vehicle make sure you give it a thorough check for any scratches, marks or general damage. If you find any damage, report it to your provider and make sure they make a note of the damage. This way you avoid being charged for damage that was already present on the vehicle when your rental started.
Before leaving the car hire forecourt familiarise yourself with the car. Make sure you know where all the controls are located, in particular check the lights and windscreen wipers.
Documents needed to collect the vehicle
When you collect your vehicle you will be asked to provide your driving licence. Providers need to see both the card and paper counterpart of your licence and copies will not be accepted. Therefore you should always bring both parts of your licence to collect the vehicle. Any additional drivers will also need to show their licence.
Driving your hire car
If you are planning to rent a vehicle in a foreign country, read our driving abroad guide for tips and information you should consider when driving abroad.
The easiest mistake to make when hiring a car is to put the wrong fuel in the car tank. The car may use fuel you are unfamiliar with and when you are on auto pilot it only takes a second for you to make the mistake. Consider purchasing a Diesel Fuel cap from Halfords if the hire car is a Diesel and you are used to driving a Petrol car. You may think it is a silly mistake that would never make, but remember over 150,000 drivers make the mistake each year so it is more common than you think. Find out what to do if you misfuel your car here.
Returning your hire car
Always return your vehicle on time. Failure to do so may result in you being charged a fee for an additional rental day. Make sure you leave plenty of time to return the vehicle and take into consideration any possible traffic.
Car Hire Extras
Car Hire insurance
Most car hire providers offer collision damage waiver (CDW) with your rental to cover the car for any damage incurred during an accident or collision. You must be aware that the excess on CDW can cost anything up to £2,000. Therefore you should buy additional car hire excess insurance to prevent you having to pay the huge excess.
If you are unfamiliar with your destination you should consider hiring a satellite navigation system with your rental. You will usually have to request this during the booking process and may have to pay an additional fee.
You will have the option of hiring a child seat during the booking process. Remember, in the UK if your child is under 12 or under 135 cm tall, they must use a child seat. If you do not want to pay to hire a car seat you can always use your own.
You can add additional drivers to your booking if you want to share the driving. They will need to have a valid driver’s license and be over the minimum age of hire.
Things you should know
Minimum Age of Hire
The minimum age to hire a vehicle differs for each car rental company. The majority of car rental providers allow over 25’s to hire a car. Under 25’s can hire a car but will often have to pay a young driver’s surcharge. This fee is charged per day and the amount varies on the provider.
If you are a student and need a car for a weekend getaway or for transporting your luggage to University, Hertz offer student discounts on their car and van hire. You will need to show a valid NUS card upon collection of the vehicle and a valid Driver’s license.
Hiring a van
Most car hire providers also offer competitive van hire. This can be a great option if you plan on moving house or you simply need to transport large objects across the country. There are usually age restrictions on van hire and limited periods of hire.
Hiring a car from the Airport
You can hire cars as a form of transport to get you to or from the airport. Most providers allow you to collect your car from one location and drop it off at another, although this may incur an additional fee. This means you could collect your vehicle from a local branch and drop it off at the airport, or pick the car up from the airport and drop it at a local branch. Alternatively you can hire your car from the airport and drop it back at the airport at the end of your trip. Collecting your car from the airport could be an option if you plan on hiring a car abroad.