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Hire car drivers paying more than £400 for hidden extras

Hire car drivers paying more than £400 for hidden extras
Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

Hire car drivers say the headline price advertised by firms to rent a vehicle is misleading as the cost of essential extra features can add hundreds of pounds to the final bill.

Over two-thirds of hire car drivers say that companies make it hard to find the total rental cost, inclusive of extra features, until the end of the online booking process while three quarters describe the headline price as misleading.

The survey of more than 1,000 hire car drivers, commissioned by, found that 75% of drivers found it frustrating that costs were hidden when trying to book a car online.

The average cost to hire a car, according to a study by the excess insurance firm, was £225 but after adding hidden extras the true cost climbs to more than £600.

Car hirers pay on average £67 for an additional driver to be added to the rental contract and an extra £67 for a child’s car seat. If you want the use of satellite navigation, drivers will see their bill rise by a further £82.

When they add excess insurance protection to the deal, which includes theft and collusion damage (£163) plus additional cover for damage to the windscreen (£31), drivers are facing a bill of £635.

Big price differences across providers

The cost of extras can vary by hundreds of pounds in different locations and from different providers. looked at car hire prices in five European destinations; Barcelona, Faro, Larnaca, Nice and Tenerife for the week of 25 May to 1 June 2024. The prices of six rental companies; Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt were compared.

Whilst drivers pay on average £82 to hire a sat nav for a week, this can be as much as £123 with Europcar in Nice, compared to only £34 with Budget in Faro. And while the average cost for an extra driver is £67, Hertz charges £108 a week in Barcelona while Enterprise charges only £18 in Larnaca.

It’s a similar story for parents who need to hire a child car seat. A car seat costs £27 through Enterprise for families travelling to Larnaca compared to £109 with Hertz in Barcelona, a difference of £82.

For excess liability, the amount to pay if the hire car is damaged or stolen, results from the study showed that the average excess liability for damage and theft across the study was around £1,400. This varied from £597 with Hertz in Larnaca to up to £2,223 with Sixt in Faro.

Excess Protection which protects drivers from paying excess liability costs on average £163, but varies from £71 with Sixt in Larnaca to £274 with Budget in Faro. Tyre and windscreen excess protection averages £31, but ranges from £21 with Hertz in Larnaca to £65 with Hertz in Barcelona.

Ben Wooltorton from said: “The extras sold at the rental desk can add hundreds to the cost of your hire car so make sure that you compare not only the headline price but the price of any extras you’re going to need. Consider buying excess insurance in advance from a standalone car hire excess insurance provider and take your sat nav and any child car seats with you.”