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Sally Wilson

Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.

What to look out for when booking your 2017 car hire deal

The new deals and dodges - prepare yourself for the car hire desk with MoneyMaxim

Car Hire Update

Car Hire is an innovative business - you can tell that by the new ways Car Hire companies invent to extract more cash from your pocket every summer - and 2017 is no different.

Below we detail a number of things you want to watch out for as you book and pick up your car this summer.

Low Mileage Car Hire Deals

The changes imposed on the industry, with regard to including mandatory fuel charges, have led to new ways being discovered that can catch out the unwary car hirer.

This summer we have seen the introduction of mileage allowances - sometimes as low as 40 km a day - with excess kilometres being charged at 45c a km. It means a lower headline rate and can be great value if you only plan to head to the hotel and back.

However, the excess mileage charge can rack up quickly so, before you book, think through where you are likely to drive and decide whether a limited mileage deal will work for you.

Some brokers, including our in-house service Clarify Car Hire, offer mileage filters to make searching for such a deal simple.

Brokers only offering 'at desk' insurance

Some car hire companies, particularly in Spain, are persuading car hire brokers to stop promoting anything but the expensive 'at desk' excess protection cover.

This summer UK broker Affordable isn't offering their Supermax protection (typical price £6.13 per day, £42.91 per week) for anyone booking with Goldcar, and large Spanish broker DoYouSpain no longer promote their excess cover (typical price €6.95 per day, €48.65 per week) to RecordGo users.

This will inevitably mean more of their customers arriving at the desk unprotected and thus feeling they have no option but to buy the €20 a day car hire company cover.

The canny buyer will know, though, that the best way to find excess insurance is through the MoneyMaxim Car hire excess comparison service where customers could be paying just £1.90 a day or £13.30 a week!

We explain how car hire insurance works here - make sure you know what's what before heading for the desk.

Car Hire Excess Insurance policies do differ

The car hire excess insurance market is seeing greater variation in what they offer - which is why running a quote is more important than ever.

This summer one supplier has dropped cover for the windscreen and glass, whilst another Insurance4CarHire has introduced two new and important benefits:

  • Flat Battery Cover (which pays up to £1,000 to cover the charges related to getting you on the road again)

  • Delayed Arrival Cover (which will enable you to reclaim 'after hours fees' if you are charged for them unexpectedly as a result of your plane being delayed)

Remember to compare before you decide which policy best meets your needs.

Upgrades at the Desk

Once upon a time you might have been surprised at the desk, by being offered a bigger and more luxurious car than the one you had booked - at no extra cost to yourself.

Nowadays the car hire firms have cottoned onto this and many offer an upgrade as part of their 'at desk' upsales. Now there is nothing wrong in this as long as they are clear and you understand that you will pay extra for the privilege.

We suggest that, if you are offered an upgrade, you should double check what it will cost - it can still be a bargain - one of our team members paid only a few extra pounds recently to drive a Nissan X-Trail rather than the Ford Focus Estate he had booked.

Free Car Hire deal to the US - Insurance costs rise

We are seeing a huge increase in approaches from those wanting insurance for a car they have been allocated 'free' as part of a fly-drive deal. Once booked, they have received a call from their holiday company (Thomson, Virgin, Thomas Cook etc) advising them that the 'free' car only comes with basic insurance and the cost to upgrade is over £300 for two weeks.

Instead, you can buy a policy including full Collision Damage Waiver and Supplementary Liability Insurance for around £65 through our service.

Run a quote on the Car hire comparison service. For more information read our fuller article Can I buy independent car hire insurance for my fly drive holiday?.

And Finally

Now you are in the know, you can approach the car hire desk with confidence, having grabbed a great car hire deal and protected yourself with a cheap car hire excess insurance policy - so now go and enjoy - you deserve to!