Monday 5 December 2016

The 60-second guide to... avoiding car-hire rip-offs

Published 07/08/2016 | 02:30

If you don't plan on driving that far, choose a company that offers a 'full-to-full' (bring the car back with a full tank) rather than a 'full-to-empty' policy (pay for a full tank and bring it back empty) as that way you will only be paying for the fuel that you use.
If you don't plan on driving that far, choose a company that offers a 'full-to-full' (bring the car back with a full tank) rather than a 'full-to-empty' policy (pay for a full tank and bring it back empty) as that way you will only be paying for the fuel that you use.

Car-hire companies have a terrible reputation for ripping off customers and using high-pressure sales tactics, but there are plenty of ways to avoid forking out more than you need to.

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Shop around for the best deal, including at small brokers as well as the bigger firms, but you can also try websites that can scan as many companies in one go, such as Skyscanner.ie or Comparetravel.ie.

Book early.

If you have small children in tow, bring your own booster seats or buy foldable or inflatable ones for less than €40, rather than pay nearly €100 to rent one from the car hire firm.

Bring your own sat nav or use your smartphone.

Car-hire packages will include insurance cover for major incidents, but for minor incidents most firms will have an excess of anywhere between €500 and €2,000, depending on the car and location.

The representative at the airport car hire desk may try to sell you collision damage waiver insurance so that you won't have to pay this excess if you cause any damage, but it can cost as much as €300 for a two-week period.

The answer is to buy a separate car hire excess insurance policy before you travel.

Available from AIG, AXA and CarHireExcess.com, this policy, which costs around €60 a year or else up to €3 a day, works by refunding the excess you pay in the event of theft or damage, including to tyres, keys and windows.

If you don't plan on driving that far, choose a company that offers a 'full-to-full' (bring the car back with a full tank) rather than a 'full-to-empty' policy (pay for a full tank and bring it back empty) as that way you will only be paying for the fuel that you use.

Before you drive off, check for any damage on the car that is not noted in your documents. If you find any, tell the staff member, otherwise you may be blamed for it. Check your credit card bill after you get home and make sure you haven't been charged for anything you shouldn't have been charged for.

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