Hiring a car abroad this summer? Ten things you need to know…

Go a little further this holiday with same day logbook loans!

School holidays are drawing to a close which means that many of us who are not tied to those dates can now look forward to a wonderful holiday without the crowds! If you want to travel abroad you are also likely to be able to pick up an excellent deal now that the peak time is over.

Many of us are getting more adventurous when we do travel abroad. Not content with the standard repertoire of tour and day trips, we prefer to do our own thing and this often means hiring a car for all or part of the holiday. When things go smoothly this enables us to explore the country at our own pace and go exactly where we want to go without being shepherded around by well-meaning tour guides who like the sound of their own voice! But there are pitfalls to be aware of to ensure that our experience of car hire is a happy one. Here are our Top Ten Tips for hassle free car hire abroad.

1. Don’t forget your driving licence!
You will need your UK driving licence to drive abroad. You can use this in all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland. If you are travelling further afield you may also need an International Driving Permit so check before you go with an organisation such as the AA or RAC. As UK driving licences no longer have the paper counterparts, you may also be asked for a check code from the DVLA which enables car hire companies to check your licence details online. You can get a check code before you go and it will be valid for 3 weeks.

2. Insurance: not too much .. not too little .. but just right
In most countries, when it comes to insuring your car, you will need to have three types of basic insurance, which are usually included in your car hire costs and contract:

  • Cover for damage to the vehicle – ‘collision damage waiver’, ‘damage excess waiver’ or ‘vehicle damage cover’
  • Cover for the theft of the vehicle – ‘theft protection’ or ‘vehicle theft cover’
  • Cover for injury or property damage suffered by a third party – ‘third party cover’ or ‘supplementary liability’

Car hire companies tend to charge high levels of excess so you may want to plan ahead for this. You can purchase excess reimbursement insurance in the UK before you travel, which would enable you to reclaim back any excess if charged. It also means that you have no need to take out the car hire company’s top-up insurance (e.g. ‘super collision damage waiver’, ‘deductible cover’ or ‘non-waiver cover’). Whilst this would reduce your excess to zero it is very expensive and tends to exclude theft, vandalism, damaged tyres, lost keys and use of wrong fuels.

3. Read the small print
When you get a quote from a car rental company make sure it includes everything that you will need to pay. There are often additional expenses such as registration fees, credit card fees and contract fees. Some car hire companies will charge extra if you’ve been driving for less than four years and some charge more for including a second driver. Make sure that you have a clear full price from the company that includes everything you need.

4. Choose carefully
Leading on from the above you need to think carefully about the type of car you need for your holiday and then check the comparative prices. If you are doing some long trips then diesel engines can offer better value for money as the fuel is usually a lot cheaper. If you are able to drive both manual and automatic cars then it is usually best to go for a manual as these tend to be cheaper to hire. Look at the different combinations and choose a car that is best for your needs and your pocket. It is also worth noting that if you have pre-booked a particular category of car and none is available you should be offered the next category up for the same price and should not have to pay more.

5. How is your credit?
Another thing to be aware of whilst hiring a car abroad is that you will need a credit card as part of the transaction. The car hire company will swipe the card at the time of hiring. This gives the company authorisation to charge your credit card for additional items, i.e. they can take a payment from your card without telling you or getting your permission. The most common use of this is to charge you the excess if there is any damage to the car. Yes hopefully this won’t happen – and if it does and you have the excess reimbursement insurance mentioned above you can reclaim it. But for additional peace of mind you need to make sure that there is enough leeway on the credit card to cover the excess should it be needed. If you need help sorting this out then perhaps consider a short term loan before you leave so that you can have balance available on your credit card. Same day logbook loans can be a way to raise quick cash and you can settle at any point if you either don’t use the money on holiday or if it is repaid by excess reimbursement insurance.

6. The camera never lies
It is very important to check the car carefully with a member of the car hire company before you drive it away. If there is any existing damage – including scratches – you need to get agreement that it is there. Otherwise you potentially run the risk of being blamed and charged for it later. It is a good idea to take photographs of the car before you drive away – if you do these on your smartphone they will be dated.

7. Which way to go?!
This may sound obvious but it is worth doing some advance preparation so that when you finally do drive off the car hire company’s premises you know what you are doing! You will just have had a long journey, probably a long queue at the car hire company and then all the car rental paperwork to sort out – which no matter how smoothly it goes always seems to take forever! It is a little unfair to then be expected to jump straight into an unfamiliar car, drive on the wrong side of the road, and somehow navigate your way to your accommodation. Spend time before you go planning this part of the journey carefully and also familiarising yourself with road signs and driving etiquette in the country in which you will be driving. Also don’t feel hassled to get moving as soon as you are in the car: take your time to get comfortable and familiarise yourself with the controls.

8. Clarify roles and responsibilities
So that the holiday can be relaxing for everyone, it’s a good idea for each member of the party to be allocated clear responsibilities. It can be cheaper to have just one driver but if that is the case then someone else should take on the role of navigator. Whether or not the car has GPS, or you’re relying on that phone in your pocket with various map apps, it is still vital to have a clear map and for the navigator to take time to plan journeys so that there is not the stress of getting lost. The driver will have enough to do without getting distracted by disputes over which turning to take! If there are others in the party then they can play their part by helping in other ways such as filling the car with petrol, loading and unloading luggage, or keeping the car clean.

9. The end of the road
Remember to return the car on time. Some companies will charge you either a late return fee or even an extra day even if you are only a few minutes late. So plan to be there in plenty of time and allow for those delays that inevitably happen when you least need them! Also be aware that it is usually more cost effective to return the car back to where you got it: if not the exact same office then at least the same country. If you are driving in Europe then a company may charge you additional fees if for example you hired a car in France and returned it in Italy.

10. Enjoy yourself!
This is the most important tip of all! You need to be aware of our other 9 tips and make sure you plan in advance to smooth your way. But once you have done that you are there – with your car – ready to hit the road and explore whichever nooks and crannies you want to! To quote Mehmet Murat ildan: “The road that leads to nowhere for others might just be the road that leads to somewhere for you!”

From the team at Logbook Loans; Enjoy your holiday!