A new study of car hire costs in Europe this May half term reveals that the average price to hire a car has rocketed to £344 a week, compared to just £199 in 2019, an increase of £145. Once extras are added such as an additional driver (£61), a child’s car seat (£58), a sat nav (£82) and excess waiver insurance (£177), the average price increases to over £722.
The study by iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looked at the cost of hiring a medium compact car, e.g., a VW Golf or Peugeot 308, for a week, from 28 May – 4 June 2022, in five destinations (Barcelona, Faro, Larnaca, Nice and Tenerife) with six rental companies, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar, compared to the same week in 2019.
Average weekly car rental rates in 2022 range from £504 in Nice (£351 in 2019), £414 in Barcelona (£175 in 2019), £359 in Faro (£203 in 2019), £257 in Larnaca (£145 in 2019) to £187 in Tenerife (£122 in 2019).
The study also looked at prices for three UK destinations, London, Manchester and Glasgow in 2022, but prices for 2019 are not available for comparison. The average weekly car rental rates 2022 range from £344 in Manchester, £593 in London to £1083 in Glasgow. It is unclear what is the cause of this steep price in Glasgow and other UK locations is, although the half term week in the UK this year includes an additional public holiday for the Jubilee which may be increasing demand.
Extras purchased from the rental desk spiral costs further. For example, the cheapest rental company to hire a medium compact car in Tenerife is Budget, where it costs £154 for the week’s hire, however once extra items at the rental desk are added the price increases to £475.
These ‘extras’ are £74 for an extra driver, £71 for a child’s car seat, £82 for Super Damage Waiver, £65 for Super Theft Waiver and £29 for Tyre and Windscreen cover - all adding up to £321 and leaving the driver with a final bill of £475, three times the original quote.
While it may be useful to have an extra driver on a car hire rental policy it can really add to the final bill. The study found that the average price, across the five European destinations, is £61, and in the UK is £100, but Enterprise in London is charging £128, for instance.
The most expensive place to rent a sat nav is with Budget in Faro where it costs £123, but the average price in Europe is £82 and £96 in the UK. A car seat costs on average £58 in Europe, but £94 in the UK, and Hertz in London and Manchester are charging £137.
Excess Liability is the amount to pay if the hire car is damaged or stolen, even if it is not the hirer’s fault. The study found that the average excess liability for damage and theft across the study was around £1100.
Excess Waiver Insurance, which protects drivers from this excess liability, is usually the largest outlay for travellers at the rental desk. Many companies offer three different policies, Super Damage Waiver (£117 average cost), Super Theft Waiver (£25 average cost) and Tyre and Windscreen cover (£35 average cost), with a combined average cost in this study of £177 a week in Europe. The average cost is £192 in the UK.
This is five times more expensive than a policy from a specialist insurance provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, which charges only £35.48 for a week’s policy, which covers damage, theft, and tyres and windscreen cover. Annual European polices are from £44.99.
Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com, said: “Prices for most things are going up, and car hire is no exception, but good deals are still available if you shop around. Make sure you check the prices of any extras you may need, or the headline price may not end up being as good as you thought. Also consider buying car hire excess insurance from a specialist insurance provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, rather than the excess waivers sold at the rental desk.”