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UK European Consumer Centre


Car Hire 

Hiring a car in another country is becoming more and more popular for holidaymakers for practicality and convenience. Find out what your rights are when hiring a car in Europe.

Renting a car in Europe

Prices for hiring vary depending on the type and size of vehicle, the season (peak times or off peak) and the place. Always shop around for a competitive quote. It is important to read the terms and conditions and check for any additional charges that may not be included in the advertised price. Additional charges often include:

  •     Hiring and returning the car to different places.
  •     Returning the vehicle outside of business hours (not advisable anyway)
  •     Child seat
  •     Crossing a border to another country
  •     Second driver
  •     Airport charge
  •     Fuel costs
  •     Additional miles or kilometres to add to the travel limit, if there is one.

The kind of insurance cover you purchase can also affect the overall cost of hiring a vehicle, insurance options are:

  •     ALI - Additional Liability Insurance
  •     LIS - Liability Insurance Supplement
  •     LDW - Loss Damage Waiver
  •     CDW - Collision Damage Waiver
  •     PAI - Personal Accident Insurance
  •     PEP - Personal Effects Protection
  •     PEC - Personal Effects Coverage
  •     PERSPRO/CCP - Carefree Personal Protection
  •     UMP - Uninsured Motorist Protection

Remember that you will be liable for any damage present on the vehicle that was not present prior to hiring. Always check the vehicle with a member of staff and log any damage in writing, retaining a copy for yourself as well the company. When returning the vehicle try to do this during business hours and again check the condition of the vehicle with a member of staff, get confirmation of the lack of damage in writing, this should prevent any additional charges for damage being incurred.

Pay close attention to any fuel clauses as returning a vehicle without the correct amount of fuel can lead to high fuel costs being added, retain any receipts for fuel purchases in case the volume of fuel is disputed.

Further advice 

As the representative body for UK vehicle rental companies, one of the main responsibilities of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association's (BVRLA) main responsibilities is maintaining and enforcing standards across the industry. 

The BVRLA have produced a guide to car rental with some really helpful tips right from the booking stage through to the return of the vehicle.  Click the link to view the guide.