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Car hire extras can double headline rate

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While car hire costs for a week’s skiing may show a headline rate of around £300, extras can quickly double the price, finds new research from

Skiers heading for the slopes this half term could end up paying as much as £1,000, with Geneva the most expensive ski destination to hire a care.

The group researched seven European ski gateways and six rental companies to check the different prices for the hire of a medium compact car over the half-term holidays from 16 to 23 Feb 2019.

Hiring a car for the week across the seven locations of Geneva, Grenoble, Turin, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Sophia and Inverness costs on average £283, but extras can land travellers with a final bill of £756, more than twice the original quote.

‘Extras’, included in the survey, came to an average weekly cost of £121 for super damage waiver, £20 for super theft waiver, £41 for tyre and windscreen excess, £63 for an extra driver (£125 if under 25 years), £93 for a sat nav, £42 for winter tyres (‘winterisation’ cost), £41 for a roof rack and £63 for a child’s car seat – a total of £473 extra paid to the rental company.

In Geneva, it costs an average of £612 to hire a car, with an additional £565 extras paid at the rental desk, making a total of £1177. Sofia is the cheapest place to hire a car, with rental costs averaging £105 and extras at £280.

If a hire car is damaged or stolen, even if it’s not the hirer’s fault, the hirer is liable for the first part of the claim (i.e. the excess amount) which is usually around £1000. The research showed that reducing this excess cost an average of £182 – £121 for super damage waiver, £20 for super theft waiver and £41 for tyre and windscreen excess.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of, said, “It’s really important that skiers do a bit of research when booking their hire car, to make sure that the cost of the extras they need doesn’t start snowballing. The biggest saving is normally from buying car hire excess insurance in advance but bringing child car seats and a sat nav from home can also lead to significant savings, adding up to hundreds of pounds, which will buy a few hot chocolates and mulled wines on the slopes.”

What can you do to keep costs low?

  • Buy an independent excess policy elsewhere. Annual policies tend to cost around £40 and will provide up to £6000 of protection cover.
  • Bring your own accessories – admittedly, child seats may not fit in the luggage, but it is possible to bring your own SatNav
  • Check the winter driving regulations for the country you’re going to, otherwise you might face a fine for travelling without the right equipment
  • Stick to one driver – You probably won’t be doing a lot of driving and it costs a lot to have an extra drivers, particularly if they are young. Ask yourself if you need it

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