Don’t get caught out when hiring a rental car

As the economy is still struggling, more people are turning to the ‘olden day’ type holiday. A good old road trip. For many couples, families and groups of friends, abroad holidays are just simply unaffordable at this time of year, meaning more people are turning to hit the road for a traditional UK rainy beach holiday.

For a majority of these holiday-goers, they will rent a car to get to their destination. The main reasons why people are turning to car rental companies for their transport options are;

  • Rental cars are thought to be much more reliable.
  • Holiday-goers can choose a car with more space – giving travellers more comfort in the car for long journeys.
  • Holiday-goers feel as if they have more cover if something happens to the rental car whilst travelling.

If you are one of these people and are deciding to rent a car this year for your summer holiday needs, here are some things you must consider:


If you have ever rented a car in the past, then you will probably already know that they have a hard sales pitch at the counter, trying to convince you that you need the extra insurance they are selling.

For those who are only using the rental car for a short period of time, there is probably very little use you will get from the insurance.

If you are renting the car for a long period of time, the chances of the car becoming damaged in this time is increased – meaning you may benefit from the extra insurance they are providing. The extra insurance you purchase will cover you if you are at fault for damaging the car, the insurance will also reduce the excess charges you may have to pay.


In the past, car rental companies benefited from charging renters fees for surpassing the mileage limit. However a majority of rental companies now offer unlimited mileage. To ensure you are not going to get hit by a big nasty fee at the end of your holiday – ask your rental company if there are any mileage limits in place.

Rental Time

It is likely you will get to choose the time you want to pick up and drop off your car. To avoid paying extra for your car hire, make sure you are not paying for an extra day.

If you are picking your car up 10:00am, try and drop the car off at 10:00am also. If you drop the car off any later, you will have to pay for an extra day.

Make sure you leave yourself with plenty of time to drop the car off to the rental place, if you return the car late you will be expected to pay for another full day.

Few car rental companies will offer leniency or half day charges when you return the car late.


When you first pick your car up, the first thing you are going to want to do is jump in your car and get to your holiday destination. Before you even start the engine, you should take some time to inspect the car for any damage. Here are some of the things you should check:

  • Paintwork
  • Tyres
  • Alloys
  • Mirrors
  • Bumpers
  • Upholstery
  • Glove box/other storage areas inside the car.

If you notice any damage to the car, ensure you let your rental company know. If you do not let the rental company know, it is likely you will end up being the one charged for the found damage.

You should also wait while the rental company candidate inspects your car at the end of the rental period – this way you can be sure you will not be charged for any damages.

Kerry was going on a road trip for the summer, so she took out a personal car leasing loan from UK Car Contracts Ltd. She believed renting a car was a much better option than driving her unreliable car.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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