A holiday just wouldn’t be a holiday if there wasn’t some sort of drama to write home about – whether it’s the terrible weather; dodgy tummy or odd couple that try to befriend you every night at supper. But there’s one thing that won’t be posing as much drama as it used to – and that’s picking up your hire car.

Last year, more than 2,000 customers were faced with a holiday nightmare of their own when they went to collect their hire car having booked it online, only to find that in order to drive off in it, they had to pay even more. And if that sounds like a familiar scenario, you’ll understand the frustration and upset at what should be the start of something fun and exciting.

But thanks to the work of the European Commission and various national consumer authorities, extra charges and hidden clauses, should be a thing of the past when it comes to car hire. The giants of car rentals – Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt, have all made changes to their working practices so that they now fully comply with EU rules (quite right too).

It means that wherever you are in Europe you can be sure of being treated fairly and know exactly what you’re getting and at what price. So, from now on, travellers can be confident that:

  • The headline price you see is what you pay: no more hidden extras, so if you need (for example) winter tyres in certain countries and conditions then this will be shown in the advertised price.
  • There’s no jargon: all terms and conditions will be set out in plain English, no fancy words or pernickety clauses. Key features will be pointed out, making it clear exactly what’s what when it comes to things like fuel, cancellation, and insurance.
  • They’ll be told about damage costs: if damage is found, then customers will be told rather than payment being taken automatically; customers will also have the right to challenge any claims of damage too.

Of course, if you prefer to travel in the comfort of your own car, then you’ll need to make sure your car insurance covers you for European travel if that’s where you’re heading off to. It’s worth checking exactly what your current policy includes because the last thing you need when you’re stranded on the autobahn is to find out that help is 500-odd miles away and not likely to be coming anytime soon.

And – just one other thing – before you go off on your jollies, make sure you’ve sorted out your travel insurance too. Luckily, you can do that right here, whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple or taking the whole family – so comparethemarket.com – we’ve got it covered.

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