A new study of car hire costs in Europe this October half term finds prices are down 50% compared to this summer. The average weekly price to hire a car is £243, compared to £550 in summer 2023, and prices are around a fifth (18%) cheaper than autumn 2022.
The study by iCarhireinsurance.com a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looked at the price for hiring a medium compact car, e.g., a VW Golf, with six rental companies (Avis, Budget, Sixt, Europcar, Enterprise and Hertz) in the four holiday hotspots of Barcelona, Faro (Portugal), Milan and Nice for a week from 21 to 28 October 2023 compared with 29 July to 5 August 2023.
It also compared the prices in Barcelona, Faro, Tenerife, Larnaca, Nice and Milan this October with the same dates in 2022.
This autumn half term, the biggest savings are in Faro, where weekly car hire prices have fallen to £177 on average, compared to £517 in summer 2023, a saving of £340.
In Milan, the average hire price is £328, compared to £650 in the summer, a saving of £322. In Barcelona, the average price is £159, compared to £434 in the summer, a saving of £275, and in Nice, the average price is £308, compared to £599 in the summer, a saving of £291.
The study finds that car hire company prices can differ by over £200 in the destinations. In Milan, for example, the average weekly price is £328, but Enterprise is charging only £206 and Avis £430, a difference of £224. In Larnaca, the average weekly price is £288, but Enterprise is charging £236 and Hertz £355, a difference of £119.
Car hire prices this autumn are 18% lower than in the same week in October 2022, across the six destinations of Barcelona, Faro, Tenerife, Larnaca, Nice and Milan, from an average weekly cost of £288 in 2022 to £235 this year, a difference of £53. The biggest fall is in Faro, where prices have fallen from £326 in October 2022 to £177 in October 2023, a fall of £149.
Of the countries surveyed, Tenerife is the cheapest place to hire a car this autumn with the average weekly price (£152) less than it was in 2019 (£167), and also down from October 2022 prices (£190). In fact, prices for car hire in this study are now similar to 2019 prices, except for Larnaca where the average weekly price is still £140 more than in 2019. (October 2019 prices are not available for Nice and Milan.)
When booking a hire car, check the price of any extras from the rental company as these could considerably add to the final bill. An extra driver on the rental policy costs on average £65 a week, but can be up to £88 with Hertz in Barcelona for instance. Sat navs cost on average £83 for a week, but can be up to £125 with Europcar in Nice, for instance. Finally, child car seats cost on average £65 for a week, but cost £195 with Budget in Milan, for instance.
In the study, an excess protection policy from the rental companies costs £209 on average across Europe, including damage waiver, theft waiver, and tyre and windscreen excess. This is significantly more than a policy from a specialist excess protection insurance provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, which charges from £33.15** for a week’s European policy, which covers damage, theft, and tyres and windscreen cover. Annual European polices are from £41.99***.
Ben Wooltorton from iCarhireinsurance.com said, “Autumn is a popular time for people to get away, especially after the extreme temperatures we’ve seen in Europe this summer.
“As this research shows it can also be more cost effective when hiring a car, and there are some great deals to be found this autumn. However, make sure that you shop around as prices between rental providers can vary by hundreds of pounds.”
He added, “Rental desk extras can add a small fortune to the price of a hire car, so try not to add extra drivers to the policy, bring your own child’s car seat and sat nav with you, and consider buying your own car hire excess insurance in advance from a specialist provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com.”