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Hannah Bower

Hannah looks after a number of key areas for MoneyMaxim. Not only does she look after our car hire partners, sealing discounts and special offers for our users, but also heads up our communications and social media team. Hannah knows car hire excess insurance inside out too and you will sometimes find her at the end of the phone keeping her hand in with answering customer queries.

Hannah Bower - Team of Experts

The 7 Most Common Car Hire Mistakes

How can you make sure your car hire goes without a hitch?

side view of white car

Organising your car hire is usually not the most enjoyable part of holiday planning! Customers often contact us when they are finding car hire not only stressful but when the jargon used has left them wondering what is and what isn't included in a car hire contract. We try our very best to help customers ensure they have a problem-free rental. Avoid these seven common car hire mistakes and hopefully you will have a smooth and easy rental experience!

1. Forgetting to read your car hire voucher before you collect your vehicle

When you book a hire car, you will receive a rental voucher. This will usually include all the basic information you need such as payment details, where the pick up and drop off location is and the contact information for the rental company. However, your voucher normally also includes a full copy of the rental terms and conditions. Whilst these may look a daunting read it is really important you understand exactly what your hire includes and what you need to bring with you when picking up your car.

2. Booking your car hire without excess insurance

With many car hires you are responsible for an excess which can often be in the region of €1000 or more. By opting to take out car hire excess insurance you can be reimbursed should you be charged any excess. These policies will also cover areas which are excluded from your Collision Damage Waiver such as glass, mirrors, wheels, tyres, the roof and the underbody of the car. Getting a quote is quick and simple by using our car hire excess insurance comparison service.

3. Not making sure your rental company will accept your preferred payment method

Many customers do not have a credit card and therefore are looking for a debit card car hire. We can offer this option in a number of locations but when searching it is essential to click the debit card filter at the top of the results page. This will ensure that all the results displayed will let you use a debit card. The risk otherwise is that you get to the car hire desk and discover that they will not allow you to use your debit card and you can't rent a vehicle!

4. Neglecting to check your documents are valid and in date

It's important to check the expiry dates on your driving licence and passport well before you travel. Many people forget they both need to be renewed! If either your driving licence and/or passport are out of date, hiring a car may be impossible. A number of customers have faced this problem at the car hire desk in the past and we understand how frustrating it is. It’s worth setting up a calendar reminder so you so you can keep on top of your renewals in plenty of time.

5. Omitting to fill your car up with fuel before returning it and not keeping a receipt

If your fuel policy requires you to return the vehicle with the same level of fuel in it as when you picked it up then make sure you take a picture of the fuel gauge when you collect the vehicle. This means you will be aware exactly how much you need to fill it back up to on return. Fill the car up as near to the drop off location as possible and keep the receipt to show the staff member at the car hire desk if needed. This helps to avoid any questions over whether you have filled it up enough. Sometimes fuel stations at or close to airports can be more expensive but the charges made if the car hire company have to fill the car are likely to be even more so it’s definitely worth doing it yourself if you can.

6. Not taking photos of your vehicle before you drive away

When you collect your hire vehicle take some time to walk around it checking for any scratches or marks that may not have already been documented on the vehicle check out sheet. If you find anything, notify the staff member and they will note it down for you. You can also take a video or photos when you do the walk round to show any marks that you may miss and this will also have a timestamp if done on a smartphone. Please remember the staff at car hire firms are only human and sometimes marks are missed unintentionally! The staff are not trying to catch you out and are usually very eager to help where they can.

7. Not keeping in contact with the car hire firm in the event of delays

Always add your flight number to your booking if you’re picking up a rental car after flying into an airport. By doing so the staff can check to see if your flight is delayed. However in busy periods this may get missed so if your flight is departing behind schedule then please make sure you call the car hire company you are renting from as soon as you are aware. In the same way, if you land later than expected make sure to call the hire company as soon as you land - don't wait until after passport control and collecting your luggage!. Doing this avoids the car hire company thinking that you are a no-show and giving your vehicle to another customer. Most rental firms are very reasonable and if they know you are on the way they are more than happy to keep the car for you.

Image courtesy of: Velito at Unsplash