A new study of car hire costs in Europe this May half term reveals that prices are down on last year’s highs, but a week’s car hire is still 43% higher than in 2019.
In 2019, it cost £199 on average to hire a medium compact car, e.g., a VW Golf or Peugeot 308, for a week, whereas in 2023 the cost has risen to £284. Prices have dropped by 16%, however, from last year’s highs when the weekly average price was £340.
The study by iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looked at the cost of hiring a medium compact car for a week, from 27 May – 3 June 2022, in five destinations (Barcelona, Faro, Larnaca, Nice and Tenerife) with six rental companies, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar, and compared these to the same week in 2019 and 2022.
Average weekly car rental rates in 2023 range from £164 in Tenerife (£187 in 2022), £243 in Larnaca (£257 in 2022), £271 in Faro (£359 in 2022), £309 in Barcelona (£414 in 2022) to £431 in Nice (£504 in 2022).
The study reveals that ‘extras’ purchased from the rental desk can cause costs to spiral, and have risen by 11% in the last twelve months. In 2023, drivers will pay on average £70 for an additional driver, £66 for a child’s car seat, £80 for a sat nav and £203 for excess waiver insurance, including super damage waiver (£153) and tyre and windscreen excess (£50), totalling £419, compared to £378 in 2023. In 2023, it costs £703 to hire a car including all these extras purchased from the rental desk.
While it may be useful to have an extra driver on the rental policy, costs vary from £30 in Larnaca, on average, to £81 in Barcelona.
The most expensive place to rent a sat nav is Nice costing £118 on average, compared to £62 in Larnaca.
A child’s car seat varies in price from £38 in Larnaca, on average, to £81 in Barcelona.
Excess Liability is the amount to pay if the hire car is damaged or stolen, even if it is not the hirer’s fault. The study found that the average excess liability for damage and theft across the study was around £1,400.
Excess Waiver Insurance, which protects drivers from this excess liability, is usually the largest outlay for travellers at the rental desk. Many car rental companies offer different policies, super damage waiver (£153 average cost) and tyre and windscreen cover (£50 average cost), with a combined average cost in this study of £203 a week in Europe, which is six times more expensive than a policy from a specialist insurance provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, charging only £33.15* for a week’s policy, covering damage, theft, and tyres and windscreen cover. Annual European polices with iCarhireinsurance.com are from £41.99.
Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com, said: “It’s good news that we’re seeing prices going down from the highs of last year, but they’re still significantly up on pre-pandemic prices. Of course, if demand outstrips supply like it did last summer we could see prices rocket again so now is a good time to secure the car you want. Most car rental companies offer 48-hour free cancellation, so if you then keeping looking around and find a better deal you can easily switch.
“It definitely pays to shop around as prices do vary across the rental companies, and it’s really important to check the prices of any extras you may need, so there are no costly surprises when you come to pick up the rental car. Considerable savings can be made by buying car hire excess insurance from a specialist insurance provider, like iCarhireinsurance.com, rather than the excess waivers sold at the rental desk.”