Car rental in England

Sep 9th, 2009, 04:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 38
Car rental in England

Hi, when visiting UK in September, planning to rent a car on two occasions - 1 day and 3 day trips. I have these questions:
What's the optimum insurance/cover one should take?
Is Satnav really useful?
Do they accept cash on the spot?
Are there one or two companies known to be better than others?
jayadev is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 04:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,107
You should always check to see what kind of coverage you have from your own car insurance and credit cards. You may not need to purchase additional insurance at all. Otherwise, it's almost always cheaper to buy it from a travel insurance company than from the car-rental company.

People have been driving for almost 100 years with a GPS. They do still make printed maps, but only you can tell us if you are able to navigate with one.

Some (though certainly not all) car rental companies will accept cash for rentals, but they will also require you to put down a hefty cash deposit, often several hundred or perhaps more than $1000 dollars. If you have that kind of cash, no problem, but few people do. The customary way to rent a car is with a credit card. If you don't have one or don't wish to do one, then you really need to do your homework in advance and come prepared.

I can't help you with the question about whether one company is better than another.
doug_stallings is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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1) It is MUCH cheaper to rent ahead of time on-line instead of on the spot. Walk-up rates can be nearly double. Since you are already paying a premium for the short rental periods - I'd definitely try to book the cars in advance.

2) Renting on-line requires a credit card.

3) Some will accept cash for a rental, some won't. But those that do will require a huge deposit.

OR - are you just asking about paying for the insurance w/ cash? Agencies will have different policies re that.

If you use a credit card that covers rental car insurance, you must decline all other insurance (other than the basic liability which is included in the rental rate). If you try to rent w/o a credit card (or w/ one that doesn't cover car insurance) you will need CDW for sure. Then there is "super CDW"/"top cover" on top of that. I know you aren't from the States -- but the "top cover" is what we would call 'the deductible'.

Whether you take the excess coverage is up to you - but w/o out it you may be liable for the first £500 of any damage.

so -- if possible -- rent in advance, and use a credit card that covers your insurance. This will be you cheapest option by far.
janisj is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 11:27 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 38
Thank you, both. I think I will book in advance and opt for minmum cover.
jayadev is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 03:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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But... this car hire insurance cover stuff (often mentioned here on Fodors) is something offered by American credit card providers though isn't it? I've personally NEVER heard of such a facility offered by credit cards here in the UK for example - if it is available it certainly is NOT standard, and probably isn't for other non-US CC's either. The OP is from India, if I'm correct from other threads, so he should definitely check his own CC terms and conditions before blithely declining the full insurance and CDW on offer.

Whatever you do, make sure you are fully covered one way or the other to damage or loss to the vehicle, without any excess (or at least only an affordably small one). The costs of not properly checking this and taking the necessary cover can be high enough to completely spoil a holiday - as I once found out to my cost.
Gordon_R is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 05:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522
Get a GPS. Sure maps have been around forever and they still work fine... in fact they are better for planning. But a GPS can make your time at the wheel much less stressful.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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We checked into the insurance thing on our AmEx and Visa card for the short period of time that we rented (five days) we were better just taking what was provided by Enterprise.

We had a hoot with our GPS by the way. You can get dizzy on teh round a bouts when the poor unit gets confused. But I don't know how we would have made it with out it.

I was afraid we were going to be dinged by a damage assessment. When we picked up our Rover a speaker was busted. We didn't realize it until we were out of town. No problem.
palmettoprincess is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 640
Regarding which companies are best. You might find some "issues" posted regarding Europcar. I had a problem with them in Scotland a couple of years ago. Fortunately, I rented through AutoEurope, which is quite reputable and they helped solve the problem.

Whatever company you use, I suggest taking a few quick digital pictures of the car at departure and when turning it back. This can help if the company claims "mysterious damage" to the vehicle. (This was not my issue w/ Europcar...just poor service)
KidsToLondon is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,076
National Car Rental will take some debit cards.

Check out insurance and vehicle recovery.

If you have to ask about STA-NAV then you probably need it.

make sure you have an acceptable drivers licence - I would suggest an international permit too.

All the usual major car rental companies are in UK.
They still want to charge extra to take the vehicle into Europe, which IMO is outrageous.

watch out for speed cameras - you may find your rental bill just went up - by a lot!
khunwilko is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 09:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,076
I would second the idea of taking photos too. Not only as insurance but it will put people off trying to scam you inthe first place.
khunwilko is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 11:12 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 38
Very valuable advice and tips, all of you! Many thanks.
I have accordingly booked the car in advance, and got a good deal!
I will take the excess coverage from AA.
Will take the photos!
Will try the Sat Nav on the first leg of my trip, and see how it works.
jayadev is offline  

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