Hiring a car can be stressful, especially when there’s so much choice. But there are a few simple things you can do to make car hire simpler on your next trip.
We spoke to Jamie Holt, Operations Director at Sixt, to find out their top tips for car hire in London, from the type of vehicle to go for to the insurance policies to take out.
Should people be worried about amassing payments for small dents or scratches?
“Amassing payments for small dents and scratches shouldn’t be a worry. If it’s something you’re concerned about, you should consider the type of coverage you take out for your rental, as skipping it may save a few pounds, but you could end up spending more than you saved if any scratches do happen. Our Loss Damage Waiver is comprehensive in terms of the coverage it offers, so it’s definitely worth adding to your booking. If you aren’t sure what coverage to take out, speak to the branch manager or visit our website to understand the different levels of insurance available so that you can be confident you’re taking out the right one for you.”
Is it actually worth taking photos of a car before you drive it away?
“One of my top tips is to always take photos or a video of a rental car before you drive away. That means you have a physical record of what was and wasn’t there before you collected the vehicle and avoids any disputes. It only takes a few minutes and will give you peace of mind for when you return the car. I would also always ensure that I checked the rental agreement before driving away. This contains a full breakdown of any current notes on the condition of the car. It is important to ensure that you agreed with what is recorded before you sign it and drive away. If you do spot anything additional, ensure that this is mentioned to the attendant or branch manager before you leave the pickup location.”
Is it worth upgrading my car if I’m just borrowing it to drive away for a weekend?
“For many of our vehicles, an upgrade to a more premium model costs less than you think, so it can be well worth it for that extra bit of luxury. Always ask the rental agent for the current available upgrades at the time of pickup.”
Won’t it cost loads to drive in central London?
“All of our fleet is ULEZ compliant [so you don’t need to pay the congestion charge], plus we also have a wide selection of hybrid and electric vehicles, meaning that those cars available to rent are also much kinder to the environment.”
Are there other things I should be aware of if I’m travelling abroad?
“Check charges, tolls and important road signs before travelling abroad. You don’t want to get caught
out by city charges or unfamiliar signage! Motorway systems of many countries are run on a toll-
based, pay-per-use basis — sometimes with toll booths along the way, and sometimes with vouchers
that you can buy and attach to your windscreen (commonly referred to as a vignette). The tolls and
conditions vary from place to place, so best to do a little online research before you go to avoid any
bother. If you’re driving across a border, check in advance if there are any fees attached. All the information
you’ll need is available on our website.”
Any final tips?
“You might prefer filling up the car yourself before returning your rental car. However, a prepaid fuel
deal is an easy way to avert extra charges from returning a car with an empty tank.”