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Obtaining the Best Car Rental Deal

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 18 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Car rental companies will advertise rates that may look like an excellent deal. But anyone hiring a car in the UK or abroad should look out for the extras that will bump up the rental price.

Finding the Best Car Rental Deal

Car rentals companies are competitive and prices can vary significantly. There are car rental price comparison sites available on the internet but there are many variables to consider. Factors such as the size of car and the age of the driver can affect the rental price. When using car rental comparison sites always make sure to compare the same type of car. The exact make of car may not always be comparable but factors such as size, number of doors and type of fuel should be comparable.

Try to Book Car Rental in Advance

There are two reasons why booking a car in advance is the best option. Booking early, especially prior to the busy holiday periods should ensure early booking discounts. These discounts can be up to 25% off the normal rental price. Supply and demand is the other factor, and the busy holiday periods can result in car rental companies finding themselves with a shortage of cars. This means that car hire companies can bump up their prices as the rule of supply and demand dictates. Long term car hire for a week or more can also result in good discounts.

Look Out for Additional Costs in Car Rental Deals

There are a number of additional fees that will bump up the initial car rental price. These extras should be discussed during the initial car hire discussion. There are a wide variety of extras including charges for child seats and roof racks; if you do need a child seat bring your own. The age of the driver can also make a difference to the price with most car rental companies stipulating set ages, usually 25 to 75. If the driver is outside of this age band then there will usually be an additional fee.

The High Price of Car Rental Insurance

Car rental insurance through the car rental company can significantly bump up the deal price and doesn’t offer great value. Rental companies sometimes claim that insurance is included in the rental deal but this will not usually cover the excess waiver. The excess waiver is a premium paid by the driver to avoid paying the first few hundred pounds if repairs are needed. Excess waiver premiums will usually be charged at £5 to £10 per day.

Those comparing car rental companies should look out for zero or very low excess fees. Holidaymakers may find that this type insurance is already included in their holiday insurance policy.

Look Out for Second Driver Fees

Holidaymakers travelling abroad using car rental should always check the second driver charges. Some car rental companies will charge if another driver is going to be driving the car. Also remember to check if the age of the second driver will make a difference to the agreed rental price. Again, issues such as second drivers and the age of the drivers should be discussed during the rental agreement.

Beware of Fuel Charges with Car Rentals

Paying for a full tank of fuel through the car rental company can mean paying a premium as this is considered an additional service. Drivers who decide to use this service should remember to fill the tank when returning the car. If the car is returned with an empty fuel tank then this will usually incur an additional cost added to a credit card bill. The full tank charge can be avoided by simply saying no to this service and filling up as soon as driver has left the rental court. Mileage agreements should also be checked and if possible drivers should ensure unlimited mileage on car rental deals.

Make Sure to Check for Car Hire Damage

There are car hire companies that will try to charge customers for damage to rental cars already on the car previous to the rental period. Scratches or dents to the bodywork can be overlooked by the customer and it is important to check before driving away. Many car hire companies will actually take photographs of the car body before the hire period begins. It will be in the best interests of the customer to also take photographs before driving away if they do notice any bodywork damage.

As with any consumer purchase, research is the key to obtaining the best car rental deal. Looking out for and saying no to those hidden extras can save a lot of money on car rentals. Taking the time to compare car rental companies and their additional fees should ensure the best deal possible.

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