Important UK Car Rental Tips To Know Before You Go

What to Look for When Renting a Car in the UK

UK Driving Tips

There is so much you will want to see and do in the UK that renting a car is a wise move for exploring the regions and getting around more easily in the UK.  But finding the right firm for a rental car hire can be a headache. So, we’ve compiled important UK car rental tips for you. Check them out, and find the right car rental shop for your trip.

Check for Age Restrictions

Depending on the rental company you use, minimum rental ages can be between 17 to 25, with surcharges for drivers under 25 years.  Insurance companies usually set the maximum age limit at 70 or 75 years old. Different rental shops have differing policies here, however.

So if you are in the younger or older age range, ask about the requirements before making the rental arrangements.

Find Out the Transmission Type

Most car rentals in the UK use standard (gear shift) transmissions. You can find automatic transmissions, but you’ll probably have to pay a higher rental price.  If you are not familiar with driving on the left, you will have enough to worry about and should probably consider having an automatic transmission vehicle so you don’t need to worry about shifting with your other hand.  It’s best to compare shops in different cities to check available options. Check this Birmingham car hire comparison to get a sense of what car rental shops offer.

Know the Fuel Policy and Type of Fuel

Different car rentals have different fuel policies. But most of them offer the following arrangements:

  • Full to Full – you get the car with a full tank and you return it full as well
  • Full to Empty – you pay upfront for a full tank and you can return it empty
  • Pay for Usage – you return the car with the same amount of fuel it had when you get it

Know that most rental cars run on either petrol, which is “gasoline” in North America, or diesel. Don’t forget to ask your shop which fuel the car uses.

Check the Mileage

Consider mileage limits if you plan to travel long distances. Does the booking come with unlimited mileage?  Some shops also charge one-way fees, which you pay if you drop off your car at a different place from where you collect it.

Careful with Speed Limits

UK Rental Car Tips

Motorways in the UK have variable speed limits. Make sure you know which expressways are for fast travels and long distances.  Speed limits are expressed in miles, with the average limit clocking in at 70 miles per hour. Lower speed limits are sometimes imposed to prevent or stop congestion.

To be safe, better find answers to these frequently asked questions about British roads.

Check Insurance Policies

Before you rent the car, understand what’s included in the insurance policy.  Similar to other countries, car rental insurance in the UK can be more expensive than the cost of the rented car itself.  Terminologies may also be unfamiliar, so make sure you check your insurance options thoroughly.  If you are planning to use the insurance coverage that comes with a credit card you are using to rent a vehicle, be sure to check with the company in advance to be sure you are adequately covered.  Many policies require you to pay for any damage upfront and then submit paperwork for reimbursement.  Others offer coverage that makes payments directly to the rental car company.

Traffic Laws

And last but not least, know the most important traffic laws in the UK. Here are some important traffic rules you must remember:

  • No left turn on red lights.
  • Wear seatbelts – it’s mandatory.
  • Don’t use cell phones while driving. It’s not safe, and it’s illegal.
  • Drive on the left side of the road.

And there are many more in the UK Highway Code to learn if it’s your first time to drive in the UK. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these rules.

GPS and Transponders

If you’re not from the UK, it might be wise to use a GPS. Either the unit will be in the vehicle you are renting or you may need to rent it separately. The latter is more common among car rentals.

Meanwhile, car rental shops often let you use transponders for seamless payment when driving on toll roads.  However, know that there are per-day fees for renting the transponder, plus taxes.

Renting a Car in the UK

Overall, it pays to be thorough in your research when hiring a car in the UK.  If you’re from a different country, be sure you have the right licenses and requirements to drive on the road. UK road authorities can be very strict.  Also, read the fine print and check the car very carefully. Check all the guidelines that relate to the car rental deal and navigation on the road. This will help you avoid excess or unexpected fees.


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