Everything you need to know about renting a car abroad this summer… – The Sun

ARE you planning on renting a car on your summer holiday?
Before you hire, there’s lots you should know: we’ll talk you through everything.
While holidaymakers might book their flights and accommodation months in advance, far too often hiring a car is treated as an afterthought.
But, like so many services, booking your car rental at the last minute could cost you far more – and worse still, you have a nightmare experience from a third-rate company.
That’s why we’ve written this guide to everything you need to know about renting a car while you’re abroad.
You might have a driving licence, but that’s not enough to guarantee that you can rent a car while you’re overseas.
Lots of countries have a minimum car-hire age, and while in certain countries that’s just 18, in others it can be as high as 21, 23 or even 25.
Also, even if you are eligible to drive, if you’re under 25 you might have to pay a surcharge on top of the standard hire cost.
In most countries, you’ll also need a minimum of one year’s experience in order to hire a car.
When packing your bags for your holiday, don’t forget all the ID and other documents you’ll need to hire a car.
It will vary from company to company, but here is general run-down of the documents you will need to present when you pick up your car.
You also might need a DVLA code, which enables car companies to access your driving licence from anywhere in the world. This can be accessed from this DVLA webpage while you’re at the car rental office.
Depending on the country you are visiting, you may also need to get an IDP (International Driving Permit), which can be purchased for £5.50 at any UK post office.
There are a number of different types, and you can check this government webpage for a list of countries that ask for an IDP.
Car hire insurance can often a prove a minefield, so it’s good to get this sorted well ahead of your holiday.
Rental companies across most of the world are legally required to include basic insurance in their hire costs.
That means you’ll never be liable for the cost of the whole car if it’s stolen, set on fire or written off in an accident.
But that doesn’t extend to extra risks such as damage to the bodywork, windscreen or tyres – should these get damaged, you could get hit by an excess as high as £2,000.
The way to dodge this is by paying for an excess waiver policy, but these tend to be horrendously expensive if bought straight from the hire companies.
Instead, go to a third-party insurance provider and book your policy way in advance – you could pay less than £5 a day.
It’s not just sky-high insurance you should look out – car rental businesses can sometimes be guilty of trapping customers with needless extra costs.
You might arrive at the rental office to be told that the car you have reserved is no longer available, and instead you’ll have to ‘upgrade’, which means paying more for a superior car. Flat out refuse: this isn’t what you paid for.
Some businesses offer the car with a full tank of fuel, which sounds great, except you'll have to pay at a likely inflated price, and you might not even use it all.
Instead, choose a business with a ‘fair fuel’ policy, meaning you’ll be expected to return the car with as much petrol as it has inside.
Watch out for optional extras like satnavs or baby seats, these, again, will cost hugely inflated prices.
Driving is not the same everywhere across the world – and you might for be in for a culture shock if you drive a car abroad for the first time.
We’re not just talking about which side of the road you drive on: it’s also worth going on a few travel forums for a primer on driving in your destination.
Are the signs marked in miles or kilometres? What’s the national speed limit? Are the roads notorious for potholes and aggressive local drivers?
These are all potential things to prepare yourself before you head abroad – armed with this knowledge, you’ll feel much safer behind the wheel.
Our travel advice page has plenty more handy tips and tricks.
Head to our travel hub for all the latest news and deals.
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