Unlimited mileage car hire: Your ultimate guide

By , 22 December 2023

5 mins read

When you’re hiring a car for a driving holiday, or a break where you expect to drive long distances, the last thing you want is an unexpected bill for additional mileage when you return your vehicle.

That’s why it’s worth making sure you take out unlimited mileage car rental, which gives you the flexibility to travel as much as you need without worrying about extra charges based on the distance covered.

Rental agreements can vary, so take the time to read up on your options before you choose a provider and vehicle.

Besides considerations such as rental car excess insurance, which can save you £100s in the event of accidental damage to your vehicle, you will need to make sure you can drive it without mileage restrictions.

Do hire cars have unlimited mileage?

Many rentals come with unlimited mileage as standard, but there may be exceptions – so don’t skip through the agreement information without reading it properly.

Depending on your location, the type of car you’re renting and the length of the rental, you may have mileage restrictions to follow.

We have found that rental cars in the UK tend to come with unlimited mileage. However, you should always double check your documentation so you can choose a different agreement if necessary.

If you are travelling abroad, you may want to directly ask the provider what their mileage policies are.

Don’t forget that we offer specific car hire excess insurance for Europe and the USA, which will provide you with additional peace of mind.

What are excess mileage charges?

In the context of rental car hire, excess mileage charges are the fee you will need to pay if you exceed the allowance given to you as part of your agreement.

If your contract does include mileage restrictions, your contract should specify a certain allowance which is included in the base rental price.

Any additional miles driven beyond that allowance will incur extra charges, which will be laid out in the documentation.

They are usually expressed as a flat rate per additional mile, and the specific charges can vary according to provider, location and vehicle type.

What happens if you go over the mileage on a rental car?

When you return your hire car, the provider will check the milometer to ascertain how far you have travelled. If you have exceeded the limit, you will either have money taken from your deposit to pay for the extra miles or there will be a separate bill to pay.

If you want to get a specific vehicle, rental period or go with a provider who does charge extra for exceeding set limits, we recommend either budgeting this into your travel costs or speaking directly with the provider to see if you can get a deal.

Knowing exactly how far you’ll be travelling by car before embarking on your trip is paramount in such situations, so check out our guide to holiday planning to get all the information you need for a successful trip.

Is it cheaper to rent cars with limited mileage?

In some situations, you may find that it can be cheaper to rent a car with a set mileage allowance. Shop around for the best deal and compare providers before making a final choice, especially if you can avoid driving the vehicle for extended periods and only need it to get around for the duration of your trip.

If possible, you can also drive down the overall cost of your rental by being flexible with your travel dates and booking in advance.

Unlimited mileage vs limited mileage

Unlimited mileage

Pros Cons
Freedom to travel as much as you want without worrying about additional charges Unlimited mileage rentals often come with a higher initial cost
Ideal for long-distance trips or road trips where you may cover a significant distance If you plan to only drive short distances, you may end up paying more for the unlimited mileage that you don’t fully make use of

Limited mileage

Pros Cons
Often cheaper for those who don’t plan on driving a lot You’ll be charged for each additional mile if you exceed the allocated mileage, and these charges can add up quickly
Might be more cost-effective if your travel plans involve short distances You need to plan your route carefully to stay within the mileage limit

About the author

Jon spent years travelling Europe and Asia before settling down in the UK when he met his wife.

He’s hired cars across the globe and is passionate about helping people save money with excess insurance.

Since co-founding Reduce My Excess, Jon has found that he can use the knowledge he picked up from his travels by sharing it in online guides and articles.

He hopes to save people from making the mistakes he learnt from over the years by giving them the travel information they need before they head off on their holidays.