Vehicle rental top tips

  1. Use a BVRLA member. Seeing the BVRLA logo when you’re booking is a sign that you are dealing with a quality assured company that operates to a professional code of conduct. It also allows you to use the BVRLA's Conciliation Service in the unlikely event of a dispute. You can find your nearest BVRLA rental member by using the association's Rental Directory.
  2. Do your homework. If you’re relying on a price comparison site when getting quotes, pay close attention to what isn’t included in the price. Many only give you a basic drive-away cost that may not include your specific requirements for additional drivers, child seats or sat-navs.
  3. Read the paperwork. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract with the rental company. Ask for a copy prior to your rental, so that you can read it in your own time rather than when you’ve just arrived at your destination.
  4. Understand how you’re covered in the event of an accident or incident. Know the difference between the excess waivers offered by rental companies and the policies sold by third-party excess-reimbursement insurers.  
  5. Find a fuelling option that suits you. Your car rental quote will not include fuel. Most companies will give you the option of buying a tank of fuel from them and returning the car empty or returning it with a full tank. Remember what you agreed to in order to avoid gifting the rental company a free tank of fuel or paying an extra charge to have the tank re-filled.
  6. Tell the rental firm how you plan to use the vehicle. Make sure that you tell the rental company if you’re going to take the vehicle abroad – some companies won’t let you take rental cars into certain countries. You’ll also need relevant documentation, such as a VE103 certificate and proof that you’re insured to drive the vehicle in that country.
  7. Arrive prepared. Remember to turn up at the rental desk with the credit card you used to make your booking and your driving licence. Your rental company will advise if you need to produce a printout of endorsements and a verification code.
  8. Know what you’ve booked: Ensure you have thought about whether you are prepared to pay for any extra cover or an upgrade, and take a copy of your rental confirmation and terms and conditions so you know what you have already agreed.
  9. Check the vehicle over before you drive away. Thoroughly inspect the vehicle inside and out. Note every single chip, dent and scratch. Don’t sign any paperwork until you have read it through and are happy with it. Before you drive the hire vehicle away, familiarise yourself with all of its controls.
  10. Don’t just drop and dash. When returning your vehicle, allow plenty of time to check over the vehicle’s condition with a rental agent present. If you can’t return the vehicle during opening hours and sign the condition report, take pictures of the car to prove the condition you left it in.