New research from iCarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, looks at the optimum time to book a rental car this year.
It compares the cost of a medium rental car, e.g., a VW Golf or Ford Focus, for a week from 29 July to 5 August 2023 booking now, compared with the cost if it had been booked in January.
Seven destinations (Barcelona, Crete, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Milan and Nice) and six rental companies’ (Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar) prices were surveyed.
On average, weekly car hire prices have fallen from £578, if booked in January, to £518 if booked now – a saving of £60 (10%). The biggest saving is in Barcelona where it cost, on average, £590 if booked in January, compared to £434 now, a saving of £156 (26%). Similarly, in Faro, it cost, on average, £657 in January, but £517 now, a saving of £140 (21%).
Last year, car hire prices rose sharply in the run up to the summer holidays. Between February and May 2022, iCarhireinsurance.com found that travellers could have saved around £120, or 18%, if they had booked in February (£538) rather than May (£660) for the same summer week.
This year, car hire prices are still significantly higher than in 2019, when the average weekly price if booked in May was £358, however, they are still around £142 (22%) less, across the seven destinations, than last year (down from £660 to £518 for a week’s hire). Only Dalaman and Milan are more expensive than last year, but prices are still lower than those quoted in February 2023.
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 costing £156 and tyre and windscreen cover costing £46, with a combined average cost in this study of £202 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, iCarhireinsurance.com, said: “It’s great to see prices coming down as we get nearer to the summer holidays. If you’ve already booked your hire car, check your cancellation policy, as you may be able to switch to a better deal at no charge. Prices may continue to fall, but they may also increase particularly if demand outstrips the supply of cars in popular destinations. Therefore, it’s a good idea to secure the hire car you want as soon as possible but use a company which offers 48-hour free cancellation, so you have the option of changing if you find a better value deal nearer to your departure.”
He continues, “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 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.”
*** £33.15 based on a 30-year-old UK resident buying an 8-day single trip car hire excess policy from iCarhireinsurance.com for use in Europe.