Cheap car hire guide

Our aim is to help you find the best deals and cheapest possible rates on internet car hire.
When you book a hire car online, you are most likely to achieve far better rates compared to booking through the car hire companies directly.

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Hints and tips regarding offers on car hire and hire cars with price guarantee

The holiday has been planned. The sunny destination in the south is calling with its sandy beaches, warm temperatures and restaurants where the worries of everyday life can be put to one side. Using the internet and brochures from the tour operator, the final destination has been chosen and the flight and hotel booked. All that’s left is the hire car, which will transport the family from the airport to the hotel or holiday rental for the 14 days of relaxation to commence.

Deals on car hire are usually focusing on the cheapest rate
Almost all car hire providers know that once the holiday has been planned, most customers focus on the price of the hire car, when making their choice. The big car hire companies often tempt with the ultimate offer: '40% off your hire car', the straight talking: 'car hire for £9 per day', or the ultimate ace up the hire company's sleeve: 'car hire with price guarantee'.

The price of the hire car is important, but there are often considerable extra costs hidden behind the attractive car hire rates on offer. If you are unlucky, this can in some cases become extremely expensive.

The cheapest hire car is not always the cheapest - Avoid hidden costs
It is important to point out that the cheap offers are occasionally very good value, but unfortunately there are various hidden costs that often rear their head, such as:

  • Additional driver – Charges for an additional driver are often not clear until you are standing at the desk in the airport. It can be quite expensive to have more than one person drive the vehicle (legally). The staff at the airport have got clear instructions to ask this question and it may not be sensible to save on this element if you have got a long drive ahead of you.
     
  • Additional extras – Payment for child seats, sat nav and other extra equipment. These additional extras can be quite pricy, and there aren't any other options if you require a child seat, regardless of the price.
     
  • Price guarantee – The car hire companies are well aware that the word 'price guarantee' is often the deciding factor for potential customers when navigating the jungle of car hire providers and cheap hire cars on the internet. This is not an issue in itself, but the price guarantee applies to the daily rate of hiring the vehicle, NOT the added costs, which are often hidden. More importantly, it is almost certain that the car hire companies never receive claims against the price guarantee even if they don't offer the cheapest rates, because who bothers to check more car hire prices once the car has been booked? One can be cynical and wonder how many customers choose to take on the bureaucracy of a car rental company in a foreign country, for the sake of a 50 euro price difference. The message is, always take the phrase 'price guarantee' with a pinch of salt. Price guarantee on car hire is not a hoax, but it can at times take quite a lot of time and energy to get your money back.
     
  • Insurance terms – collision damage waiver deciding factor – We've saved the best for last. Insurance terms are the true wild card when hiring a cheap car. There aren't usually any issues with the insurance itself, which is for the most part comprehensive, the issue arises when the damage has been done. The difference in excess applicable on hire cars can be HUGE, and this difference is often a fuelling factor for the enticing offer. It is possible to take out extra insurance to eliminate the excess at the desk in the airport, which is probably not something budgeted for at home when the booking was made. The staff are more than likely to offer it – they work on commission! You may risk parting with an excess of £500, £700 or for the more expensive hire cars as much as £2,500 in the event of a minor accident in a vehicle with a 'price guarantee', opposed to a similar hire car with a much lower excess which perhaps costs £1 more to hire per day. It is not even certain that the vehicle's insurance policy carries such a high excess. It is, as a matter of fact, extremely unlikely as most hire companies have an overarching insurance agreement (same terms and conditions for all vehicles) or they are self insured. The high excess on the 'cheap' hire car may simply be a method for the hire company to increase their turnover, as it is relatively easy for a large hire provider to account for the customer's additional contributions in the form of an excess as:

    1) increased premium revenue (collision damage waiver against the excess charge)

    2) in the cases of those less fortunate, the sky high excess charges paid, since experience shows that a certain percentage of all hire cars in a fleet sustain damage each year.

Our recommendation before booking a hire car:
Read the most important section of Rate Details in the search engine: Excess. If the excess exceeds the equivalent of £400, consider whether the hire car actually is cheap despite the 'price guarantee', or include a collision damage waiver in your price calculations. If the excess is not made clear for a hire car, select a different provider or contact Cartrawler to clarify before booking you car rental. There won’t be a cheap option when you are standing with your booking at the hire desk at an unfamiliar airport and being asked to sign the hire agreement for an “extortionate” collision damage waiver.

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Hints and tips regarding offers on car hire and hire cars with price guarantee
Article: Hints and tips regarding offers on car hire and hire cars with price guarantee
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Published: Wednesday, November 28 2012
Latest revision: Friday, November 30 2012

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