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What is winterisation?

If you’re intending to hire a car in the winter months, it’s highly likely that you’ll hear the term ‘winterisation’ mentioned.

This is the common term for ensuring that a vehicle is adequately prepared for winter weather conditions such as snow and ice and is designed to keep the occupants of a hire car as safe as possible.

It commonly involves the addition of winter tyres and snow chains to a vehicle and is compulsory in certain locations, while being optional in others.

What you need to pay for winterisation will vary from country to country and by the rental firm, with the hire company deciding if such action is necessary.

In regions where winterisation is compulsory, you can expect the cost to be included in the price you are quoted for the rental.

Alternatively, if winterisation is optional, you may be given the choice to request it if counter staff have determined that local conditions do not require it.

Compulsory winterisation

Compulsory winterisation occurs in countries where severe weather is normal in the winter months, such as near ski resorts or in mountainous regions.

Winterisation is often a legal requirement in these areas, which means your hire vehicle will have all of the necessary equipment fitted or on board.

While the fee in this instance is typically included in the quoted rental price, be aware that some online bookings may require you to pay the winterisation fee at the hire desk.

If the hire firm has decided that winterisation is necessary too, you will need to pay the relevant fees before renting the vehicle.

You may also find that winterisation takes place if severe weather is forecast, and again this will need to be paid at the rental desk as the cost would not have been factored into the original price.

Requesting winterisation

If you’re travelling to somewhere from a location where winter equipment is not needed to somewhere where it is, you’ll have to ask for winterisation.

This could be the case if you’re driving from an airport to a ski resort for example, but note that equipment in this instance is simply requested, and is therefore subject to availability.

Again, this would need to be paid for at the hire desk when you collect the vehicle.

If you have concerns that your hire vehicle could get damaged during your trip, remember to cover yourself against all eventualities by purchasing car hire excess insurance.  This additional extra covers the excess fee you would need to pay in the event of a claim, although you do need to pay the excess before then claiming it back.


Date Created: 10/12/2018

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