Hiring a car is a great way to explore new destinations when you’re travelling, as it can give you so much freedom. However, you need to make sure that you’re not going to be spending more than you need to on this trip. You don’t want to be tricked into something that could get costly later on down the line by a shady car hire company, so checking the vehicle and paperwork thoroughly is key before you drive away. This checklist will help you to ensure you have all you need before you drive away so you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind. 


Check Over The Small Print

The first thing you need to do is read the car hire contract and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything written in it. Make a note of any extras that might be included, too. Some travellers get stung by hidden fees because they didn’t check the documents thoroughly enough, and the only way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to look it over carefully. Unfortunately, documentation in this industry is usually unnecessarily complicated. 


If extras are included, make sure you understand the terms and that they are within the vehicle when you pick it up. You should be confident that you’re getting what you’re paying for before you drive away. 


Make A Note Of What Is Expected When It Comes To The Fuel

The paperwork should also detail the fuel policy of the rental firm. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you, and make a plan so that you return the car in a way that fits the agreement. The best option is usually returning the car with a full tank providing you picked it up that way. However, sometimes there is a fuel to empty policy, that means you will be billed for the fuel in the tank and need to return the car as empty as you can. Rental firms will often charge more for fuel than at a fuel station, so if you don’t use much fuel you will lose out in this situation. 


Always Take Photographic Evidence

You probably own a smartphone, so make sure when you pick up the car, you take pictures of it. Look for things like dents and scratches and photograph them so that you don’t end up taking the blame for something that was already there. Even minor marks should be noted when you collect the car. The paperwork is a good way for you to log the damage and include anything that you have a problem with.


Don’t Forget To Check Not So Obvious Areas For Issues

Make sure you look at places you might not have originally thought to check over, too. Check the tyres, windscreen, locks, and anywhere else you might have otherwise missed and note everything down on the paperwork. 


Are there chips on the windscreen? Do the tyre treads meet the legal depth? Look at the spare tyre too if one is included. Lock and unlock the vehicle using the physical key to be sure that this works too – this isn’t something that is usually checked but it can easily cause problems later on. 


Spend Time On The Forms

Inspections are important when you’re making a claim, and ensuring that all relevant information is included is key. The existing vehicle condition report might list issues already, so check this over and make sure the hire company know anything you want to add. Pre existing damage should be logged before you hire out the car. 


Read Up On The Local Road Laws

Certain countries have road laws that vary from the UK, so you’ll need to read up on them before you travel to ensure that everything goes smoothly. For example, in Germany you need to ring the police in the event of an accident even if you don’t require assistance, and in France, you have to carry things like traffic cones and visibility vests. You can use the AA website to find out what you need and make sure the rental company provides everything so you are legal to be on the road. 


Check Over Insurance

Make sure you have the right type of insurance for your trip and know what is being included when you take out the car. Car hire excess insurance can cover the excess payment that you might have to pay if the car ends up damaged or stolen. Find out more from Goodbye Excess Today.