No matter where you are in the world, when you hire a car, there are 10 rules that you have to always abide by.
Some change slightly dependent on your location and others may not necessarily apply to you if you’ve been hiring cars for several years. Generally speaking, though, you should go through this list whenever you’re thinking of car hire.
1. Do you actually need car hire? – if you’re visiting a foreign country, it’s easy to think that you need to hire a car to get around. As it can be expensive, however, it’s worthwhile looking at what other options are available, such as public transport, as it could be more appropriate for you.
2. Hire the most suitable car – as tempting as it can be to get the biggest, most luxurious car that the company has to offer, be sure to only get the car which suits your needs for the length of the car hire.
And remember, this may not be the same sized car as you drive at home – you might be able to hire one considerably smaller if you’re travelling without family.
3. Ensure that you’re fully insured – simply put, don’t drive the car away without having a Fully Comprehensive insurance policy in place. Third Party might be the minimum legal requirement, but it’s strongly recommended you take out the highest level of cover possible.
4. Look at the break down cover – although you shouldn’t expect a full breakdown policy if you’re hiring a car in a remote part of a country, you should at least be given the contact details of a reliable garage who offer a 24 hour recovery service.
5. Check the car thoroughly before driving it away – if you return your hire car with a few bumps and scratches, regardless of whether you caused them or not, you could be made to hand over money to cover the costs of the repair, therefore it’s important that you give the car a once over before you drive away, pointing out any noticeable damage, irrelevant of how small it may be.
6. Be sure you have a GPS or map to hand – no matter how well you know the local area, it’s strongly recommended that you take a satellite navigation system or map with you, as when you’re in foreign country (or even in your home country), it only takes for you to take one wrong turning and you could find yourself completely lost.
7. Find out the return time – one of the ways that car hire companies make additional money is by charging a fee if you return your car late, therefore it’s strongly advised that you double check the last return time and be sure that you set off from your destination in plenty of time.
8. Think when you fill up – to ensure you don’t waste money, estimate how many miles you’re going to be driving and only fill up with fuel to cover this. It can be easy to fall into the habit of filling the car right up if you do so at home, but try and judge how much petrol you’ll need – always putting a little extra in – and simply top up as and when necessary.
9. Pack some food and water – if you’ve got a breakdown service of some type, chances are you won’t be left stranded for several hours if you break down. However, it’s always worthwhile packing some food and water just in case the worst happens.
10. Check for any specific Highway Code rules – for the most part, the rules of the road are very similar all over the world. However, there are some slight differences in several countries.
Take America as an example. No matter if there’s plenty of room to overtake and you can see well into the distance, it’s illegal to overtake a school bus when its lights are flashing.
And whilst in the UK you’re recommended to put a reflective warning triangle behind your car if you break down, in Italy it’s illegal not to.
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