There is little more exciting than exploring while on holiday. Although public transport can be a great way of getting around, sometimes it can be unreliable and if there is a language barrier it can make it difficult to see all the sights.

If you’re heading on any type of holiday and are looking for a way to get around the area with ease, why not hire a car and get around at your leisure? Hiring a car abroad is a great option for those of you who don’t want to cater your trip around timetables.

Although hiring a car abroad can be a liberating experience, it isn’t always easy. Driving abroad is often very different to driving in the UK and it’s important for you to be prepared for that. Here is everything you should know about hiring a car abroad and what to expect when driving in a different country.

When driving abroad as a foreign citizen or holiday-goer, it’s very important to make sure you carry all the equipment that the country you’re visiting requires you to carry.

This greatly varies between countries and it’s very important that you check what you need to have on your person or in your car before hiring and driving a car overseas.

When driving abroad there is potential for further costs to you as the driver. It is important to be aware of any extra costs as you travel around a country or between countries. Try planning your trip in advance to avoid extra charges or plan them into the budget for your trip.

- VAT or local taxes

- Cleaning/valet charges for the vehicle

- Charges for crossing international borders

- Additional charges for using the road (excluding tolls)

- Servicing and fuel charges after you’ve used the vehicle

- If the car you hire doesn’t have a sat nav, you may need to pay extra to hire one from the car hire company

- If you are travelling with young children you may need to pay extra for child booster seats

- You may have a mileage limit pre-agreed on your hire car, if you go over this mileage during your trip then you will likely be charged extra for this

- If you are under the age of 25, you may be charged extra for the base cost of hiring a car. This will be evident when you get your car hire quote

When hiring a car abroad you can often find some competitive prices on comparison websites online. However, despite getting a good deal on the cost of hiring the vehicle, please read the small print of your car hire agreement as this will outline any costs that you’ll need to pay when you go to pick up the car.

More often than not, you will have to leave a deposit of money (usually in the hundreds but this varies greatly) at the car hire company. This will be a holding deposit that will be returned to you after your trip, should there be no damage to the vehicle and if you’ve left the vehicle in the proper condition, such as filling the petrol tank etc.

The car hire company will often take a lump sum from your account or will expect a deposit to be paid, with the intention of it being returned, from your credit card. This varies between car hire companies, so be sure to read your Terms and Conditions carefully. 

At Allianz Assistance, we understand the importance of feeling protected when you go away. Our car hire excess insurance offering is fairly straightforward. When hiring a car, the rental company will secure the vehicle excess against your credit card and will then deduct this fee in the case of an accident or damage to the vehicle. We will then reimburse the excess in the event of a claim.

What our car hire excess insurance covers:

- Accidental damage excess reimbursement
  The excess/loss of deposit applied to claims made on your hire vehicle collision damage waiver insurance policy

- Personal possessions
  Items stolen while out of sight in your locked hire vehicle

- Rental vehicle key cover
  Replacing lost, stolen or damaged keys to the hire vehicle

- Price starting from £2.99 per day*

- Annual cover for just £55.00*. (Maximum car hire duration of 91 days)

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply

*inclusive of IPT

If you’re looking to hire a car abroad you may find it difficult if you are younger. The minimum age for driving, hiring a vehicle, or minimum time you need to have held your license to be able to use the roads varies across the world.

Typically, you need to be at least 21 to hire a car abroad. However, it is worth checking in the country you are travelling to, to be sure that this is the case. 

In different countries there are sometimes different speed limits, varying speed limits by age or no speed limits at all! When driving abroad it is very important to do your research to best understand the roads you will be driving on before you arrive. Here are some things you can do to help understand the speed limits:

- Research the metric used in the country you are visiting (mph or kph), so you know what you expect on the road signs

- Check what the most common road signs mean in the country you are visiting

- Plan your routes and look into the roads you are driving on before you travel if possible, this will help you to avoid trouble on the road

Since 2015, if you are hiring and driving a car outside of the EU you will need a DVLA code. You can find out whether or not you will need this information in the country you are travelling to on the GOV.UK website.

A DVLA code enables car hire companies to access the details of your license anywhere in the world when you are travelling. You can obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) online ahead of your trip, which costs £5.50 to purchase.

If you are interested in hiring a car abroad, be sure to do your research on the company you are hiring from. You don’t want to end up spending more than is necessary. Hiring a car directly from the airport is often a safe option and means that you can easily travel to and from your accommodation from the airport.

If you are looking for travel insurance cover for your holiday, why not browse our wide range of products today? At Allianz Assistance, we pride ourselves in providing the right protection for you on your holiday, giving you peace of mind as soon as you embark on your trip.