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.
Car hire can be a minefield at the best of times, let alone in a time of uncertainty. We are once again faced with the reality of travel bans and the prospect of more. This can make even thinking about booking a holiday stressful! So what is the best way to navigate car hire for your trips to ensure you aren't left without should you have to cancel? We explore the options and what you need to look out for with our sister company, Clarify Car Hire.
1 - Book a hire with free cancellation
If your car hire has free cancellation included it can provide great relief from worry as you know should you need to cancel you can without financial penalty. It is always worth checking out the terms of cancellation before booking so you know your rights. Many brokers will allow free cancellation up to 48 hours prior to the rental start date and time. After this 48 hour period, it may not be free and you could lose money.
2 - Book a pay-on-arrival hire
There are generally two types of hire, pre-paid and pay-on-arrival. With pre-paid you pay the entire balance of the hire upfront when booking, whereas with pay-on-arrival you only pay a small deposit when booking and pay the remainder at the car hire desk. The pay-on-arrival model has many benefits. These include you as the customer having more power as your money is in your pocket until you arrive at the desk. Should a car not be available for any reason or you not be satisfied with the service, you can walk away with only minimal financial loss. In regards to covid, if you do sadly have to cancel your trip at the last minute, you know the most you'll lose is the small deposit you paid when booking. The majority of the balance will still be in your account.
3 - Book early
This may seem like a strange tip when uncertainty is rife, but by leaving booking your car hire to the last minute the likelihood is that you will end up paying more than you need to. Car hire prices are determined by supply and demand. Generally, as it gets closer to the date, demand for hire vehicles increases and pushes up the price. This is even more likely this year as there are a reduced number of vehicles in car hire firms' fleets due to a shortage of computer microchips. This shortage is slowing down the rate at which manufacturers can make cars. If you book early with a deal you can cancel, you know that the price you have is the most you'll need to pay. If prices decrease you can always cancel and rebook.
Clarify Car Hire, our sister website, provides great customer service and a UK based phone support team which is as important as ever. If you need someone to talk to about your car hire booking or to discuss your options we are just a phone call away. Clarify Car Hire also offers free cancellation, pay-on-arrival hires and can cater in most locations for low deposit and debit card car hires. By using Clarify Car Hire or a similar company who can offer flexibility, you know regardless of whether your plans change you can book early and be reassured you will not lose money.