As Brits jet off this Summer to the warm climates of Spain, Portugal and Italy, all is not as it seems in the world of car hire.
An investigation by a leading UK newspaper shows quite clearly that millions of people are being unfairly ripped off when hiring a car abroad abroad, and it’s usually because of excessive car insurance charges, which often add up to £200 for even a short rental of a few days.
My opinion on all of this? This has been happening for years, especially in the international car hire industry where they are always trying to get as much as possible and overcharge innocent tourists who don’t know any better.
The key is to never take the first price that is offered to you, and instead, shop around in multiple channels to find the best deals.
Even the experts agree with me. A spokesperson for a leading insurance watchdog recently gave an interview where he said “people do a lot of planning for holidays and should apply the same diligence to booking the right rental car.”
In other words, don’t trust your travel company when they tell you £700 for 4 days is the best deal on offer. Do your own homework and potentially save hundreds.
A good example of this is how many people now order a rental car through the airline when they are booking a flight. Obviously, this is all due to convenience, as you can simply tick a box and the airline company sort it all out for you, and then there is a nice car waiting at the airport.
However, the price for this “convenience” can easily be 3 or 4 times more expensive than if you were to go on a different site and find the exact same car for the exact same dates.
In fact, the journalist leading the investigation did just that, and found a £334 price difference. Imagine how many Brits could use that extra money to enjoy their holiday in the sun. It’s clear that more needs to be done to educate the public on reasonable car hire prices and what they should expect to pay.
The same happened in the UK car insurance market a few years ago, especially once all the price comparison sites started to become very popular. Consumers became more educated, and this lead to them shopping around at multiple sites before settling on the final offer.
One of the car rental firms overcharging customers released a statement in response to the newspaper story describing their pricing as “transparent” and that more customers should “read the small print.” Looks like it’s the customers fault then.