How to avoid car hire excess charges

By , 25 January 2017

Hiring a car abroad can be a great way of maximising your experiences and seeing what you want to see when you want to see it. Whether you’re on holiday or a business trip, it’s easy to rush the ‘check-out’ process at the airport when picking up your hire car.

The UK consumer public is becoming more aware of stand-alone excess insurance like the policies available from Our policies offer cover for up to £7,000 excess charges with an optional $50,000 upgrade available for USA and Canada.

As well as being our CEO, Jon Rebuck hires more cars than most. We caught up with him and he told us about things that you can do to minimise the chance of being caught out by unfair repair charges for damages that just weren’t your fault. He told us that by taking just 5 minutes at the start and end of your hire agreement, you can make sure you’re not taken advantage of. Here are his top five tips:

Jon’s top 5 hire-car pick-up tips!

1. Make sure you have the opportunity to check the vehicle BEFORE you sign for it.
Car Hire companies ask you to accept the vehicle before you’ve even seen it and tell you that they’ve already checked it. Jon says “Don’t be rushed, YOU’RE the customer and they need you more than you need them”. Make sure all damage to the car is noted on the pick-up form you sign. Use the torch on your smartphone to check all the body panels if the car park is dimly lit.
Lisa Simpson as a detective Courtesy of Imgur
2. Start your holiday snaps early.
Accepting a car with scratches or dents isn’t the end of the world providing you’ve made sure they’re documented. Jon suggests taking photographs of any damage you can see (regardless of how small) and try to include the date and time in the photograph as proof you didn’t cause them.
Men taking pictures off the wall Courtesy of Imgur
3. Inspect the unexpected.
Jon told us that a surprising number of claims are coming in for damage done to car parts you can’t even see. Make sure you check under the front lip of the car, inside all of the door sills and around the boot (especially where heavy cases could be dragged in and out).
Dog inspecting car Courtesy of Imgur
4. When in Rome….
If you’re hiring extras like Sat-Navs or child seats, or if the worst happens and there is damage to pay for, remember to think about how the Hire Company charge your card. “most hire companies will try and charge your credit-card in your home currency.” Jon says. “This is because they can then dictate the exchange rate imposed on your card at whatever they choose and is often more expensive than paying your Card Issuers rate”. Always ask for any charges to be made in the local currency. This could save you a small fortune in fees.
Drink spilled on hire car seat Courtesy of Imgur
5. Jon’s Bonus TIP
“Too many of our customers don’t realise that for a couple of pounds more, you can sometimes buy an annual policy instead of a daily policy. This means that you’re covered for up to 31 days per trip, regardless of the number of rentals you make in a year. Make sure you check both prices before you buy.
Child dancing in hire car Courtesy of Imgur