A guide to car hire fees
The ultimate guide to post-rental fees
Post rental fees can come as a costly surprise at the end of a car hire. Yet it's easy to protect yourself against these possible charges, so long as you're aware of them and understand the company's T&C's before setting off. Here are a few penalty fees you may find yourself stuck with at the end of your rental and some tips on how to avoid them.
List of most commonly seen charges
|Post rental fees
|Depends on the extent of damage
|Toll + surcharge
|£10 – £100
|£15 – £200
|Petrol and refuelling
|Current pump rate + an additional surcharge
|£0.15 – £1.00 per extra mile/km
|£10 – £40
Car hire charges to watch out for
Average cost: Depends on the extent of damage
What is it? Suppliers will look over the car after return to check for any new damage and charge you for the repairs. Damage charges take into account everything from minor paint scratches to major bodywork issues.
How to avoid: Before your rental, buy an excess insurance protection policy or third party insurance that comes with zero excess. This way you can reclaim the damage charges later. Also, be sure to take pictures of the car on collection and check that the condition report is correct, so you are not later charged for damage you didn't cause.
Average cost: Toll + surcharge
What is it? If you go through an electronic toll booth without realising and don't pay the fee, the rental company will receive the fine. They will in turn charge you for the toll in addition to their own processing costs.
How to avoid: When you pick up your rental, always check with the supplier how tolls are suppose to be paid. Some companies may supply you with (or charge you for) a transponder. Plot you're route beforehand and check whether there are any tolls on route. You can either choose to go through the tolls and figure out how to pay them ahead of time or avoid them all together.
Average cost: £10 – £100
What is it? These processing fees come in various forms depending on the circumstances, but in general, they're charged when the rental company has to fix or pay something on your behalf. Admin fees can be charged on top of refuelling, damage, valeting, traffic fines or toll payments.
How to avoid: As admin charges are tied with different penalty fees, it's easiest to avoid those in the first place. But if you think the extra fees are unfair, dispute it with the rental company. If they won't refund you, your credit card company might.
Other additional charges
Average cost: £15 – £200
What is it? If you return your vehicle to the rental company in an “excessively dirty” state, you'll be charged for valeting and admin fees. The price is based on the extent of cleaning needed.
How to avoid: Give your rental a quick clean before handing it back to the supplier. It doesn't need to be spotless, but the cleaner the better.
Petrol and refuelling fees
Average cost: Current pump rate + an additional surcharge
What is it? If you opt for a fuel to fuel or same to same fuel policy and return the vehicle without the same amount of fuel you received it with, you will be charged for refuelling at an inflated rate.
How to avoid: Always find out where the nearest petrol station is to your drop off location and fill up the tank before handing back your rental.
Average cost: £0.15 – £0.65 per extra mile/km
What is it? If your rental policy comes with limited mileage and you exceed the mileage quota, you will be charged at the end of the rental for the extra miles/kilometres driven.
How to avoid: When booking, opt for a supplier with unlimited mileage, especially if you'll be driving long distances. Alternatively, keep an eye on how many miles you've driven each day and adjust your journey accordingly.
Average cost: £10 – £40
What is it? A late fee is charged if you return your vehicle back to the rental office after the time it was due. Most car hire companies have a grace period but if you miss that too, the penalty can be steep.
How to avoid: Plan to arrive prior to the grace period, that way, you have a little extra time in case you get lost or stuck in traffic. Determine your route beforehand and take into account any possible traffic. If you do end up running late, call the supplier and let them know – the courtesy may work in your favour.