Beware hidden car hire charges

Car at airportMany of the millions of Britons heading off on holiday over the next couple of months will hire a car to get to or from their final destination - or to explore the surrounding area.

If they're not careful, however, even savvy motorists who shop around for the best deals could end up getting stung by hidden charges when they go to pick the vehicle up.

"Extras" such as adding a driver, renting a Sat Nav system and taking out excess insurance - which means that you face no charge if you are involved in an accident, for example - can double the overall cost.

In fact, a family hiring a standard family car in Malaga for a week in June could end up handing over £346 at the rental desk when picking their car up, despite being quoted just £173 for the week before arrival.

All they would need to do would be to request excess car hire insurance to protect themselves from costs of up to £1,900 should the vehicle be damaged or stolen at a cost of £159, add a driver at a cost of £43, rent a car seat costing £63 and ask for a Sat Nav at £81.

Tips for not getting ripped off
Figures from car hire insurance specialist reveal that the potential added costs holidaymakers face when hiring cars vary widely depending on where they go.

So while someone hiring a vehicle in Milan would pay £83 for the use of a car seat for a week, someone renting a vehicle in Corfu or Tenerife would pay just £30. This makes it very difficult to compare car hire deals in advance.

However, ways to avoid being hit by hidden car hire charges at your holiday destination include avoiding adding drivers aged under 25 as they often add around £100 to the overall cost for just one week and buying a map to escape eye-watering Sat Nav rental charges of up to £90 a week.

It is also worth looking into excess car hire insurance before setting off. This can cost £150 or more a week, but or similar providers can offer standalone cover for as little as £20.

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