How to avoid getting stung with holiday hire cars

You’ve landed and just want to pick up the keys and hit the beach.

But you can bet your holiday hire car company has other plans for you……

You may think you’ve paid an all inclusive price for your car but there’s plenty of ways some dodgy hire car companies will try and rip you off.

Here’s how to avoid getting stung with extra charges that will put a big dent in your holiday budget.

Pumped up petrol charges

Go with a company that wants the car back with the same level of fuel in the tank as when you first drove off.
Sounds easy enough; but lots of companies, especially across Spain, try and bill you for a full tank; even if you’re not likely to use it. Plus they’ll add on a sneaky surcharge so you’ll pay more than the pump price.

Scratch damage

Unless you get a brand new car; which is beyond unlikely in hire car land, there’s bound to be a few marks or scrapes. But some dodgy dealers try and bill you, (and everyone else before and after you), for the very same scratch, nick or dent.

I always take photos and a video on my phone while walking round the car. And point out any obvious dents or marks and make sure they go down on the hire car agreement.

Park properly

Check where you need to drop the car at the end of your holiday. If it’s early in the morning or late at night when the office is closed you need to get it right or you may get a bill for parking charges!
And do one last quick video of the car before you leave it to prove you left it in one piece!

Protect your excess

‘Excess protection’ is one ‘extra’ worth having.

Your basic insurance should cover the bulk of any damage; but in the event of a prang you’ll still be liable for the ‘excess’. With some hire car companies this can be anything from £500 – £1,000.
So yes you’ve guessed it, those helpful people at the car hire desk will warn you about this and try and flog you their own expensive ‘excess protection’ insurance which can cost a whopping £20 a day.

Don’t get caught out. Buy your own before you go. Costs from under £3 a day from places like or