School’s out in a few days! The summer is here and many of us are looking forward to a stress-busting holiday and some well-deserved family time. Just the 4 sleeps until we head off to Corsica! Cannot wait.

Once you’re off the plane, picking up your hire car keys should bring you one step closer to that hard-earnt R&R. But sadly, all too often, the car hire desk is the most stressful part of the holiday with unexpected and unfair charges.

We hear from so many customers who have faced ludicrous charges for excess insurance policies. As reported in a recent Daily Mail investigation, the excess charged by some companies in the event of a collision can cost over £2000 and the average is £1000. Excess insurance cover allows customers to avoid these huge excess fees but some car hire firms charge as much as £18 a day.

Independent Excess Insurance

One way to avoid being stung overseas is by taking out independent excess insurance before you travel for as little as £1.99 with a company like Bettersafe . So, if you do have a bump, you don’t need to worry.

Here’s a checklist of actions that you can take to avoid stress and unfair charges on your holiday.

  1. Research and book early to avoid higher prices, fluctuating exchange rates and hidden costs. Always read the terms and conditions.
  2. Always take out standalone excess insurance cover. It is cheaper and easier to book before you go away. Nine years ago when Dylan was a baby we went to Italy for a wedding and hired a car. Hubby drove too close to a tree, big scratch resulted in a horrendously big charge. Since then we have always taken out standalone insurance cover!
  3. Beware of fuel policies. It is usually better to have to return the car with a full tank of fuel. I fell foul to this last year in Spain and was charged £100 for a full tank of petrol at the desk in Alicante. A full tank does not cost £100 in Spain!!
  4. Do you need an International Driving Permit? A UK licence is accepted throughout the EU but elsewhere you may need an IDP. The Post Office, the AA or the RAC will arrange one for you.
  5. Make sure you know the rules of the road. This information can be obtained from the AA and the RAC.
  6. Unlimited mileage plans will avoid penalty costs if you are going on a big trip.
  7. Pay for a separate driver at the time of booking instead of at the rental desk. Again I have fallen foul to this and hubby last year was the only person who could drive the car for two weeks in Spain to avoid the £200 charge!
  8. Check the car inside and out before pulling away from the rental office. Take photos and make notes on the hire company’s form regarding scratches and dents.
  9. Make sure all paperwork is completed when the vehicle is returned. If the hire depot is closed, take as many photographs as possible to avoid your credit card being debited for alleged damage. Check credit card and bank statements for the next few months.
  10. Report unreasonable practice. The European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) has a free service to look into unresolved complaints. But remember, the ECRCS only deals with complaints about member companies – currently Avis, Alamo, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

Contact the Bettersafe team on 0203 740 4431 or email them at

This is a collaborative post.



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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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One Response

  1. Have any of you ever driven a rental car for a trip to another city? I have an important meeting with my business partner. I want to rent a car for this meeting . Premium class with all the necessary stuff and a full set. Which one would be better to rent
    Lamborghini Urus or Range Rover Evoque ? I want to impress my partner.

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