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Man driving a carHiring a car abroad is a common task for holidaymakers and it should be a straightforward process, but sometimes you can be faced with unexpected details that lead to unwanted stress or unforeseen costs. In order to avoid these pitfalls, there are some details you should be aware of.

Additional insurance

You may have read the paperwork several times and feel you have everything prepared to collect the car at your destination airport, but sometimes you will be presented with additional forms to sign, notably in Spain or Italy, at the car rental desk.

This will often be additional insurance which charges you a fee per day and is designed to reduce any excess you would have to pay if something goes wrong. It is important not to feel pressured into signing anything you are unsure of. Read and re-read, and if you are still not convinced that it is needed, call the company you originally hired the car from to check the details. Any further payments could be unnecessary if you have taken out a third-party policy.


This can be a shock if you have not considered it in advance. The details should be included in your rental contract, but it can be easy to miss. A deposit of several hundred pounds, even perhaps thousands, may be taken from your credit card for the duration of the car hire and only be re-credited once the vehicle has been returned.

This can reduce the amount of money that is available for your trip substantially. It is really important to ask about this before confirming your rental. There are companies who will require nothing or minimal amounts on deposit.

How to pay

There is a world of difference between a debit card, which you can usually use to pay online for your car hire, and a credit card. The credit card is what you will need to actually pick up the car abroad. Even though debit cards are now in use around the world, car hire companies prefer credit cards.

Make sure you have one with your name on it for when you arrive at your destination. In order to avoid any mishaps, check this first before you book and clarify exactly what you will need.


It may sound obvious, but make sure you have a valid driving licence with you. Take both the paper version and plastic card to be absolutely safe. It’s always useful to keep a photocopy of both at your accommodation just in case you misplace them when travelling.

If you are hiring in your home country, take your licence, a debit/credit card and paperwork to show where you live. If you are abroad, you should also have your passport and flight information. Exact details of what you need should be in your booking confirmation. You should call and check if it is not clear.

Age policies

For those over 70, renting a car can be problematic. Some companies won't rent to people over 70 and some will charge a large premium. At times, these restrictions can be hidden in the depths of the paperwork and if you booked online, you simply won't be aware of this fact.

It is worth being 100% sure that the company you are using does not have age restrictions or won't charge you a prohibitive amount of money.

This article is brought to you by our partners, Silver Travel Advisor.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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