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The Ultimate Car Hire Checklist

Affiliate Blog Post by Economy Car Hire

For many people, renting a car is a nightmare but that’s not the way it should be. We’ve put together this handy car hire checklist that will guide you through the things you need to do once you’ve booked your holiday car hire. From the DVLA code to protecting yourself from unexpected charges, you’ll find all the information you need here.

Before You Leave

Book your rental car through Economy Car Hire!

Research the local road traffic regulations and read some driving guides. Here’s our guide to driving in Portugal as an example.

Double check if you need a DVLA code. If you’ve booked through us you only need a code if you are hiring a car within the UK or Ireland. If you’re hiring a car abroad you don’t need to worry. We always display this information on our website. Simply click the Show Rental Conditions link underneath each vehicle and look for the heading Driver & Licence Requirements. Here it will tell you if a code is required or not.

If you do need a DVLA code, visit the DVLA website. You just need your Driving Licence number, National Insurance number and postcode.

What You Need to Hire a Car & Collect it

Driving licence

I know it’s obvious but around 9% of renters forget their licence when collecting a hire car. Make sure anyone else who wishes to drive as an additional driver has theirs too.

In some non-EU countries you may need an International Driving Permit. These can be purchased through the AA, RAC, and the Post Office. On our website, check the Show Rental Conditions link underneath each vehicle and look for the heading Driver & Licence Requirements to see if one is required.

If you do forget your licence, some suppliers will accept a DVLA Certificate of Entitlement. If you are unsure, please contact us and we can advise the best course of action.

Credit Card

When collecting a hire car, you MUST have a valid credit card in the main driver’s name. It enables the supplier to authorise a security deposit, which covers any parking or speeding fines, un-insured parts of the vehicle, fuel charges if applicable, and in the unlikely event that a claim is made when the insurance has been invalidated.

Credit cards
Photo by: Kenishirotie/Fotolia

Usually, the security deposit is not debited, but pre-authorised. This just means that the funds are ‘blocked-off” and therefore unavailable for the duration of your trip. Where possible, we advise the amount that will be authorised on your credit card. This information can be found when getting a quote on our website. Simply click on the Show Rental Conditions link underneath each vehicle and look for the heading Deposit Requirements.

If you don’t have a credit card, contact us immediately. Sometimes, we may be able to negotiate an alternative with certain suppliers. This may involve changing the main driver, a debit card collection, or purchasing the supplier’s local insurance.

Additional ID Required

If you’re hiring a car in the UK

You will usually need to provide your passport and proof of address such as bank statements or utility bills. You will also need a DVLA code, which you can obtain here.

UK passport
Photo by: Swapan/Fotolia

Some UK based suppliers require 2 forms of proof of address. Always check what you need to bring with you beforehand to ensure that you are prepared. If you have booked through us, you can view this information under the Show Rental Conditionslink underneath each vehicle beneath the heading Driver & Licensing Requirements, during the booking process and on your pre-paid car hire voucher.

If you’re hiring a car abroad

You’ll have your passport anyway but you may need an International Driving Permit. You can check this here and on our website.

Please note, an International Driving Licence is not the same as an International Driving Permit. The IDP is a legally recognised document which allows you to drive abroad.

Print Your Voucher

If you have booked with us, you will need your pre-paid car hire voucher when you collect the car. You must have a printed copy with you when you collect your vehicle. We would always recommend printing 2 copies – one for you and one for the supplier. If you lose your print out, contact us and we can send this directly to the supplier. Some suppliers may accept you showing them your voucher on your smartphone or tablet device.

Our voucher includes the name and location of your supplier, information about the rental, and the Terms & Conditions. You’ll receive your booking voucher via email once your booking has been confirmed.

If you are unable to print it, you can download it from the My Account section on our website. Alternatively, contact us and we will send you a paper copy.

What to do Upon Collection?

Inspect the Vehicle for Damage

It doesn’t matter how dark it is or how tired you are, inspect the vehicle closely for any signs of damage. If you don’t, you could be billed for someone else’s damage. Make sure you check it over with the agent and point out ANY marks they’ve missed. Make a show of taking photos and pay particular attention to the wheels.

Scratched hire car
Photo by: mckaphoto/Fotolia

Check the Fuel Level

Take a photo of the fuel gauge and adhere to the fuel policy. For example, collect full of fuel, return full.

Check the T&C’s

If you want to drive to another country during your rental, you should inform us as soon as possible. Sometimes, there is an additional local fee for this. Simply check the Show Rental Conditiions link underneath each vehicle on the quote results page and look for the heading Border Exits.

Car Hire Checklist

Photos Taken? ? Reflective Vest? ?
First Aid Kit? ? Scratches & Dents? ?
Fuel Level? ? Snow Chains? ?
Informed Staff of Damage? ? Transponder/Pre-Paid Tolls? ?
Lights & Indicators? ? Tyres & Spare Wheel? ?
Locks? ? Warning Triangle? ?
Oil level? ? Winter Tyres? ?
Parcel Shelf? ?


Should You Purchase Insurance Locally?

Suppliers will often try to sell additional insurance locally to cover damage to items which are not normally covered by collision damage and theft protection. This includes damage to items such as the wheels, tyres, and glass parts. Taking this insurance is entirely at your discretion.

You can purchase our top-up insurance when making your car hire booking. This is a reimbursement insurance which covers damage to the tyres, wheels, glass parts, underside and roof. it also provides cover for misfueling and loss or damage to keys.

You can also add this any time before the rental is due to start. Simply log into the My Account section of our website.

On Rental

What to do if there’s a Problem?

If you experience any problems with your rental car, phone the supplier immediately. If they are unavailable, phone us and we will try to resolve the situation on your behalf.

What to do When You Return the Car

Leave Plenty of Time

Don’t drop your car off 30 minutes before check-in closes. Leave plenty of time to go through everything thoroughly and allow time for delays.

Check the Fuel Level

Ensure the fuel level is appropriate for your contract. Is it full? Are you returning with same amount?

Fuel guage
Photo by: Pix by Marti/Fotolia

Inspect the Vehicle for Damage

Check the car over with the agent. If they pick up on anything you think was already there, tell them and show the photos from collection.


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