Car Rental: What You Need to Know


2When you hire a car, you do so for one of two reasons – first, because yours has broken down and you need to borrow one in order to continue with your daily life; or secondly because the car you have isn’t able to do the job you need, such as transporting the whole family comfortably, along with the luggage, from Dover to your ‘staycation’ in York.

By the time you’ve filled the family car with your entire luggage, there’s often no room for, well, the family. So you ring up your local car hire dealership, or in the case of Rent Direct you go to and you find something a bit bigger and make your booking. Easy as that, right? Well, in the essence yes it is that simple, but there are a number of things you need to take into consideration before you confirm your booking, whether it’s a car, van or motorcycle.

The first of which is to look into the length of the rental period, and whether it includes weekends. A lot of companies will rent out vehicles on daily contracts and a lot of drivers are under the assumption that they take the car for a period such as a weekend or a week and end up with an angry dealership and extra charges. Before you commit to any rental agreement, make sure that you’ve got the vehicle for as long as you need it for or for as long as you can afford. You don’t want to go away for a week’s holiday, only to find out that the car has to be returned on the fourth day.

In relation to returning the vehicle, look into where the vehicle has to be returned to. Just because you’ve borrowed it from the branch at Leicester, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to take it back to that particular branch if there is another one nearer to you, like Peterborough in the case of this example.  When you take the car back, you often have to leave a certain amount of fuel in the tank for the next customer or for the dealership to drive it to the nearest fuel station or repair centre. If you fail to do so, you can be charged so take a look at the terms of your rental agreement.

You also need to think about the number of people that will be in the vehicle during your rental period. You’re going to want everyone to ride in comfort, so getting a five-seater vehicle for five people might not be the best option for you, whereas a seven-seater would be ideal so that you’ve all got plenty of space to spread out (which everyone needs on a long journey).

Make sure that the car is within your budget, however, as you don’t want to go spending the money you don’t have. Larger, more elaborate cars will inevitably cost more – as will longer rental periods – so make sure you do the maths before you commit to a fee.