The process of renting a car in the UK for the first time may seem daunting. And rightly so, because renting a car involves quite a lot of money, as well as responsibility!
This is even more so for non-UK-residents, as several regulations are entirely different for them.
In such cases, having a thorough plan about where you'll be visiting and your expected activities is a no-brainer. Your choice of car, company, rates, and everything else will depend on these plans.
However, you should also be well versed in the rules and legalities, so that you don't end up in trouble. Here are a few things to keep in mind, so that you have a more pleasant experience with renting your car.
#1. How Exactly Do You Rent a Car?
You can book your car face to face or online. Companies like Easirent Car Hire make the process very easy. In the online system, you get to select the branch and the city for the pickup, the drop-off location, along with the dates and times.
The type of car you should rent depends on where you are traveling, how many people will travel with you, and what you plan on doing. Information on each vehicle will be shown, such as its statistics of capacity and transmission.
You will also have the option to select a prepaid or postpaid payment option, as well as add extra services. For instance, if you have a baby, you can request for a baby seat.
#2. What Will You Need?
Before you rent a car in the UK, there are some identification documents you should keep at hand. Here's a list:
First of all, you'll need to prove your identity through a photo ID document like your passport and ID card. However, if you are a non-UK resident, the passport is essential. Remember, this should be a current passport or ID card, which has not yet expired.
Proof of Address:
You can prove where you live, using an official document that states your current address, like a water or electricity bill or even a bank statement.
If you don't plan on hiring someone to drive you around, this one's obvious. You can't drive a car yourself without a license. However, make sure this is a recent license that you can actually use.
You should also hand in the printed endorsement record or the DVLA website code that allows you to share your endorsement details.
International Driving Permit (IDP):
For international citizens, this document is legally mandatory. It's basically a permit stating that you are capable of driving in any country.
However, you'll still need to show your actual driver's license. If you know you'll be renting a car while visiting the UK, you should arrange the IDP before you come here.
#3. Are There Any Age Restrictions?
This is a critical question. Renting rules differ based on age. The minimum age for renting a car in the UK is somewhere from 17 to 25 years. This varies for different rental companies.
And yes, in some cases, there's also a maximum age limit that ranges between 70 to 80 years old. Even if there is no maximum age limit, older drivers may have to pay extra charges or require insurance clearance.
They might also have to submit a doctor's certificate. So, whether you're old or young, it's best to do your research and be prepared.
#4. Know Your Insurance Options
Let me break this to you - rental car insurance can be quite expensive in the UK. In fact, it might even be costlier than the car's basic cost. There are a number of insurance options available for rental cars.
However, keep in mind that none of these options actually cover any damage caused to the car due to misuse, negligence, or breach of the agreement.
Make sure to check if your credit card offers any such car rental insurance, especially in the UK. The conditions under which the insurance claim can be lodged should be clear to you.
Assess your available options, and if you are confused, you can always ask a travel agent to help. But don't rush into the decision, because it is a costly one. Here's a brief idea of what type of insurance plans you can get -
Third-Party Cover (TPC)/Third Party Liability Insurance:
This insurance is not an option - it usually comes with the baseline car rental. It covers any damage caused to anybody or anything (other than the rental car) due to accidents.
Vehicle Theft Cover/Theft Protection:
This is another type of insurance, but it's optional. You can get this if you want coverage in case the car or some of its parts gets stolen.
Vehicle Damage Cover:
Now, this insurance covers any kind of damage caused to the rental car itself. However, things like tires and windshields may be excluded from the plan.
Also keep in mind that if you get this type of insurance, you will have to pay a fixed amount of money, ranging from £1,000 to £2,000 as Excess or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) for the repair work.
To avoid this extra cost, you could purchase some extra insurance plans, such as the Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) or the Excess Cover. However, sometimes, the vehicle damage costs might come with the baseline rental rates.
#5. Acquaint Yourself with the Rules
Before renting out a car, you should definitely make sure that you know the rules. First of all, read the clauses for the rental agreement and be clear on issues like car maintenance and refueling.
Usually, cars in the UK use petrol or diesel. To avoid damage and using the wrong pump, correctly identify which fuel your rented car will need.
You also need to be familiar with the driving rules, especially if you're a non-UK resident. For instance, it's common knowledge that we drive on the left here, so make sure you are used to this.
Moreover, most rented cars in the UK are standard transmission, and automatic transmission cars cost a lot more to rent. So, choose according to what you are comfortable with.
Now that you've read all these articles, renting a car will be less complicated. Remember, you're renting another person's property, so you should take good care of it.
Also, it's not a good idea to rent a car in the UK and use it for a trip to France, Spain, or Italy. The rental companies will also charge you quite a lot for such trips.