If you arrive at an airport late at night or need to hire a car early in the morning, the car rental desk may not always be open.
But this isn’t a situation to be too concerned about, as it’s often possible to arrange an out-of-hours service, albeit with a fee attached.
Some rental desks will open for extended amounts of time during busy periods, while others, particularly those at airports, may operate 24/7.
However, if you need to hire or return a vehicle outside of regular opening hours, you will likely need to make a request in advance for the firm to open it.
While not all car hire firms offer such an option, you should still ask if it is a possibility.
Typically, you’ll need to pay an out-of-hours fee to pick the car up or drop it off out of hours and this varies depending on the company in question and the location where you’re trying to hire.
Essentially, it covers the costs of having an employee present at the rental desk at a period when they would otherwise not be there.
You can usually expect to pay between £15 and £50 for such a service, while the finer details will be included in the terms and conditions of any rental agreement.
What do you need to do?
If you book online and enter an estimated pick up time, you should be given car rental availability and details of whether any fees may be applicable.
Car hire firms often include on their websites for locations where they are based too, so it’s certainly worth doing your research if you have any concerns over when you may arrive or depart.
When it comes to dropping off a car outside of regular hours, you’ll need to speak with the hire company to see what services are offered.
Some have car parks and key boxes where you can leave the keys securely, meaning there is no need for an out-of-hours fee. However, the car is still regarded as being your responsibility until it is checked and signed in by staff the next day, as such, your insurance must also cover this period.
If such a service is not available, you’ll likely need to pay an additional fee again in order to drop the car off at a time that suits you.
Alternatively, it may be worth dropping the car off at an earlier time if you can get away with not requiring it as this will mean you don’t need to pay the fee. Most fees will be charged upon picking up the car or when you first make the booking and will be taken from the credit card used for a deposit.
If you intend to rent a vehicle in the coming months, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to cover the excess that you would need to pay should the vehicle be damaged or stolen.
Cover is available in a range of forms, from daily to annual, and policies cost less than you may think.
Date Created: 10/09/2018