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Car Hire Checklist

When hiring a car there are many things to consider, simplify things by using this below Car Hire Checklist. If you ensure that you make yourself aware of everything here and action everything that is relevant to you then you can’t go far wrong.

car hire checksBefore Booking

Decide on the vehicle type that you need ahead of time. Think about the travelling you may be doing, the number of passengers and how much luggage space is needed. Hiring the smallest, cheapest car for a week long family holiday to the coast will not be suitable.

Decide on your budget. If budget is the most important factor then do not expect to collect a premium badge like a Mercedes or Volkswagen. When considering your budget, you need to think of more than just the rental cost. You may need to leave a deposit for the vehicle, does your credit or debit card have a large enough balance or available credit for this.

Consider extra costs. Will you require a child seat or can you take your own? Do you really need Sat-Nav or do you have a smart phone? Additional insurance packages are always available for your peace of mind, can you afford the daily fee’s to reduce your liability or would you be better with a reimbursement policy.

If you do not have a credit card you MUST make us aware before making a booking. The vast majority of suppliers around the world require a credit card in the drivers name.

Ensure you are aware of the rules of the road at your destination, any mandatory objects that you may need to carry. ID, breathalyser, safety kits ect.

When booking you will hear or see the phrase ‘or similar’ when selecting a vehicle. Make sure aware of what this means and what kind of vehicle you may end up with. You will be booking a group of vehicle which will be advertised like – Ford Focus or Similar. This is usually a compact, 5 door, manual vehicle. Do not be surprised when you turn up and the vehicle is a Hyundai I20, a Honda Civic, a Vauxhall Astra or any other similar vehicle.

car hire checksWhen Making A Booking

Ask as many questions as it takes to be comfortable with the service you are paying for. Don’t be shy. Ask for a deal, the worst they can do is say ‘no’.

  • Is that the best price you can do?
  • How much is the insurance excess?
  • How much does it cost to reduce the excess?
  • How much is the deposit?
  • What is the fuel policy?
  • What time does the office open and close?
  • What if I am late to collect or return the vehicle?
  • What do I do when I get to the airport?

Read the terms and conditions of the rental before making a payment and confirming your booking. particularly looking for things like;

  • Cancellation/Amendment policies
  • Insurance coverage
  • Mileage limitations
  • Travel restrictions
  • Required identification
  • Traffic violations / Congestion charges

car hire checksWhen Collecting Your Vehicle

Give yourself plenty of time to collect the car, you are not going to buy a newspaper. You are renting a product worth tens of thousands of pounds and will be signing various documents to show that you understand your liabilities.

Beware of the ‘cheap upgrades’. If the rental desk staff are quick to offer you an upgrade, then it probably means that your size of car is sold out. Stand your ground, insist that you are happy with the car have booked and you may just find yourself with a ‘Free Upgrade’.

Read all paperwork before signing, always ensure you are aware of what you are agreeing to. If it is different to what you agreed to when booking then raise this issue, or call your broker.

Question anything you are not sure of, especially the items listed on your rental agreement as ‘accepted’ or ‘declined’

ALWAYS ensure that you join the rental staff when inspecting the vehicle. Spend time looking around the vehicle and ensure that every little scratch, dent or scuff inside or out is detailed on the check out sheet. Take photos if you need to, for your peace of mind.

  • Check the fuel level is correct and ensure you are aware of the fuel type. Putting the wrong type of fuel in a rental car is an expensive mistake.
  • Check windscreen fluids, tyre pressures ect.
  • Check the spare wheel and ensure that you are aware of what do to in the event of a break down or an accident.
  • Check that the vehicle has items that are required by law. Some countries require snow chains, safety triangles ect.

Make yourself aware of the controls, switch gear ect. Especially the lights, parking brake and start/stop technology.

car hire checksDuring The Rental

  • Drive the vehicle like it is your own, look after it like you would your own.
  • Avoid eating and drinking in the vehicle.
  • Do not smoke in the vehicle.

If you have pets with you, ensure the vehicle is cleaned to a good standard before it it returned or you may face cleaning charges.

If you are involved in an accident, do exactly what you would normally do. Get other drivers details, registration, photos, witness information ect. Involve the police if needs be and be sure to inform the rental company as soon as possible.

If you break down, follow the rental companies break down procedure, if you do not follow their instructions you could be liable for the costs involved.

car hire checksReturning The Vehicle

Firstly, don’t be late. The supplier needs the car back on time to get it ready for the next customer. Some suppliers will offer 30 mins grace, but any more than that and you will be charged for another day.

Make sure the vehicle has the right amount of fuel in it. If you are on a full to full policy, keep your fuel receipt to show them when and where you filled up. if the fuel level isn’t correct you could be charged for the missing fuel and an admin fee.

As above. ALWAYS ensure that you join the rental staff when inspecting the vehicle again. use your check out sheet to show any damage was existing. If this is all good, ask for a signed check in sheet showing no new damage, keep this for at least a few months. If there is any new damage then you should expect to pay your excess amount until a cost for the repair is agreed.

Always keep a keen eye on your bank statements following payments to a rental company or indeed any company abroad. Report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately.

car hire checksWhat If There Is A Problem?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts in following our advice, things can go wrong. If you need assistance or advice and are not getting anywhere with the supplier then firstly contact us. We have good relationships with the suppliers and can often assist in finding a resolution. If not then the below organisations can help;

For hires within the UK Contact the BVRLA Conciliation Service

For hires within Europe Contact the European Car Rental Conciliation Service