UKICC | The UK International Consumer Centre

Car Rental in Europe

Hiring a car in another country is becoming more and more popular for holidaymakers for practicality and convenience.  It can often be cheaper to hire a car for the pay for airport transfers.



Cost of Hiring a Vehicle

Prices for car hire vary depending on the type and size of vehicle, the season (peak times or off-peak) and the location. With so many third party search engines available the choice is endless and the possibility of getting a good price is high.  With third parties comes extra uncertainty on who is supplying the service so it is always best to shop around. It is important to read the terms and conditions and check for any additional charges that may not be included in the advertised price. These can be detailed as local charges/taxes.

Additional Charges often include:

  • Hiring and returning the car to a different place.
  • Returning the vehicle outside of business hours
  • Child seat/restraint
  • Driving to another country
  • Additional driver
  • Airport charge
  • Fuel policy costs
  • Additional miles or kilometres


Types of Insurance Cover

The insurance cover you purchase can also affect the overall cost of hiring a vehicle. The various insurance options include the following (this list is not exhaustive):

  • 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.


Pre-Hire Information

  • Checking: Always check the vehicle with a member of staff and log any damage in writing, retaining a copy for yourself  Take photos of any damage on the vehicle that you suspect could be disputed. If possible view the vehicle in a well lit area.
  • Fuel: 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. How do you return the car? Is it Full to full or full to empty? Do you have to pay upfront for a full tank and get a refund of what isn't used.
  • Insurance: If they offer you extra insurance ask yourself do you need it? It's possible to purchase insurance through other companies and the terms of this may be different to the insurance you can buy from the rental desk direct. Make note of the terms for the insurance so that you are fully aware of what you need to pay.


During the Hire Information

  • Accidents: If you have an accident it is sometimes compulsory to call the police to attend the scene. This will vary depending on your location so it may be best to check the contract to see what it states
  • Damageto Vehicle: If you damage the vehicle then you should inform the hire company at the earliest available opportunity. Damage during your hire will be attributed to you so take extra care with the vehicle. It's worth noting that some parts of the car will not be covered if they are damaged like tyres and glass. 


Post-Hire Information

  • Returning the Vehicle: When returning the vehicle try to do this during business hours and again check the condition of the vehicle with a member of staff. Allow plenty of time to return the car so that if there are any discrepancies they can be addressed without fear of missing your onward travel.
  • Vehicle State: Get confirmation of the lack of damage in writing, this should prevent any additional charges for damage being incurred. Dont take verbal claims at their word.  Ideally you would like a written confirmation that there is no further damage that you are liable for.
  • Fuel: Make sure the correct amount of fuel is in the vehicle. Use a gas station that is as close to the drop of point as possible, to avoid any claims that there is less than there should be.  It is good practice to keep a proof of purchase.