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    Car hire in the UK - feel like royalty on the road

    Car hire in the UK

    The United Kingdom is formed through the union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all of which have a common history and culture, but with small and unique differences. London as the union’s capital is a world renowned city, packed with exquisite architecture and globally recognised monuments, but yet mixing the old with the new effortlessly. With a car hire in the UK you can visit iconic cities such as Edinburgh, with its imposing castle, the city is full of intrigue, wonder and delight. Scotland’s capital offers up plenty of festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Manchester is a great city with modern central quarters, iconic sporting venues, assortments of boutique stores, coffee houses and restaurants. Let’s not forget the industrial heartland of the UK, and England’s second city, Birmingham. A city that signifies the sheer influence of the industrial revolution, which helped, amongst other things, catapult the UK onto the world stage.

    The United Kingdom’s global image has made it a magnet for tourism with 37.9 million tourists reaching its shores in 2018 alone. Due to this, the car hire industry has always been a strong and reliable one. Numerous international rental suppliers are present in the UK, from Avis to Herts and Europcar, you’ll be hard pushed not to find your favourite car hire supplier. Other less known suppliers such a Green Motion and Easi Rent are also present, with many conveniently located.

    When hiring a car with Auto Europe in the UK, you’re giving yourself extra peace-of-mind and security should anything go wrong. Our dedicated team is always available should you require any assistance with your reservation or in dealing with unexpected scenarios. Having partnered with many car hire suppliers in the UK, we are able to provide you great quotations, promotions and additional goodies. Along with car hire we also provide motorhome hire and a luxury car hire service. Contact us on +44 123 3225 114 should you need any assistance. Please visit our UK car hire reviews page for an insight into what our many other customers felt about their recent Auto Europe car rental experience in the United Kingdom.

    For more information on renting a vehicle in the UK, click on the car hire related topics listed below:

    Our Car Hire Suppliers Car Hire FAQs Vehicle Options

    Where to Pick up a Car Hire in the UK

    Finding the right place to pick-up your car rental in the UK isn’t difficult through Auto Europe. We provide numerous collection locations in main central areas, airports and train stations across the UK. Through the combination of numerous car rental suppliers, we are able to provide a large vehicle fleet from which to choose your rental car. Booking through us means that you are able to collect your vehicle at a suitable location in the UK, from Bristol, Cardiff to more remote places like Inverness – the choice is virtually endless.

    Once you’ve decided on where to collect your vehicle, simply head to the office upon your arrival. Once at the office, present your driving licence, Auto Europe rental voucher and a credit card under your name. The credit card will be used to block a deposit, so make sure you have sufficient funds. When you collect your car, confirm whether or not it has any damage, noting anything you find on the pick-up form. The deposit will be returned to you once the supplier confirms that the car is in the same condition as when it left. Lastly, make sure you fully read your rental terms and conditions, paying explicit attention to the fuel policy and any other restrictions.

    Compare Car Hire Rates at the Most Popular Airport and Rail Stations in the UK

    Book with the Best Car Hire Suppliers in the UK

    With a strong global presence, Auto Europe is able to provide the best car rental in the UK, whether that is in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. We provide quotes from numerous suppliers, meaning you’re bound to find the right deal. Our suppliers include international brands such as Hertz, Avis, Europcar and Sixt, along with local and national car hire suppliers, such as Green Motion and Easi Rent. In addition, we are also able to provide you with the benefit of cancelling your booking up to 48 hours beforehand free-of-charge. Our service is fully transparent, throughout the whole process, with the terms and conditions, local fees, fuel policy and fee rates easily accessible.

    Alamo - Car Hire Information Enterprise - Car Hire Information Europcar - Car Hire Information
    Hertz - Car Hire Information Avis - Car Hire Information Interrent Key'n Go - Car Hire Information

    If you require any further assistance or have any supplier related issues or questions, then please contact our reservation agents directly. They are available should you have any questions, such as; supplier opening times, what to do if you’re late or how to drop off your car out of hours.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in the United Kingdom

    Contact Us With over 60 years of car hire industry experience, across numerous countries worldwide, Auto Europe is more than qualified to answer any car hire related question that you may have. Our local knowledge is second-to-none, and will no doubt put your mind at ease. We’re here to make sure you are secure and safe whilst on the road during your holiday in the UK, regardless if you are hiring a car in Bath, Glasgow or Swansea. Following are the most common questions about UK car hire, if you have any further ones than please get in touch.

    How old do I have to be to rent a car in the UK?

    In the UK you have to have a minimum age of 17 to drive. Car hire suppliers however, have their own age requirements with different policies. The minimum age to rent a car in the UK is between 18 years old to 22 years of age. Anyone falling into this age bracket may have a young driver fee added by the supplier which will be paid for at the time of pick-up. All drivers must have held their driving licence for a minimum of a year – which is a policy required by all suppliers. Some suppliers only impose a fee if you are under 21 years of age, with others adding this fee for those over 21 but under the age of 26. Regardless, if this is your first car hire you need to be fully aware and prepared for this potential added cost upon collecting your car.

    For those planning on hiring a car but are over the age of 75, a senior drivers fee may apply, including some restrictions. The need to provide a fit-to-drive medical certificate is common amongst some car hire suppliers for senior drivers. In both cases, it is always important to read the Product Information section on our website, including Info Icon. Our vouchers terms and conditions also inform you of any restrictions and fees.


    Can I pick up my car rental in the UK in one place and drop it off in another?

    You are able to pick-up your low cost car rental in the UK at one location and return it in another - this is known as a one-way car hire. Normally, within Great Britain this is free-of-charge. If you’re looking for one-way car hire outside of Great Britain, to Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or mainland Europe, a fee may be imposed by the car hire supplier. Depending on the vehicle category, travelling outside of Great Britain on a one-way basis, with the intent of dropping off your car at a different location to that of pick-up, may not be permitted, or may have restrictions imposed. Each supplier charges their own one-way fee, depending on the car category, booked dates, pick-up and return location. Auto Europe does not profit from this, with the fee being paid directly to the supplier upon pick-up. However, we do inform you of the potential for a fee being levied.

    Travelling between the different UK countries (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) is often allowed without restrictions or a charge. Some car rental suppliers do not allow for a car hire to be taken onto a ferry, this means that you must inform Auto Europe and the supplier of your desire to do so. This would normally apply when travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or vice versa. Depending on the supplier you may or may not be given permission for a one-way car hire.

    You will find information on any one-way fee charges contained in your rental voucher once you’ve made your reservation. During the online booking process, this is also displayed under Info Icon. Fees are displayed without VAT. For all the relevant information on travel restrictions, please consult General Terms under Inclusive Package, in the Info Icon section of the online booking engine. Restrictions will also be printed on your rental voucher.


    Do I need a credit card to rent a car in the UK?

    Yes, when renting a car in the UK you are required to have a valid credit card under your name in order to pick-up your vehicle in the UK. The credit card must be under the main drivers name and cannot be a pre-paid card. The car hire supplier will use your credit card to place a security deposit when you collect your car. The amount of which is specified on your car rental voucher. When you return the car at the end of your rental agreement, the deposit will be released back onto your card. This will only be done once the car is confirmed to be in the same condition as when you collected it.

    If you have booked a luxury car, then please note that some suppliers will request at least two credit cards under the main driver’s name. In both cases, suppliers accept all major credit cards, such as, Mastercard, Visa, Diners and American Express. You must make sure you have enough funds to cover the deposit or risk not being able to collect your car. For a list of the most common questions please visit our credit cards and deposits section.

    IMPORTANT: Car hire suppliers do not accept debit cards. A valid credit card is therefore required upon pick-up. 


    What are the most important driving rules in the UK?

    When driving in the United Kingdom it is important to keep a few common road rules and regulations in mind for a safe and secure journey, along with safe driving distances. In the city the speed limit is 30mph, rural areas 40-50mph, carriageways 50-60mph and motorways 70mph. The UK national speed limit is 70mph.

    When the car is running it is illegal to talk on the mobile unless you have a hands-free kit. Seat belts must always be worn at all times by everyone in the car. For children, an adequate child car seat is required. UK law dictates that a child must use a car seat until they’re 4ft5 or 12 years of age, whichever comes first. The UK government states that children of 12 or 13 years of age, or younger, and taller than 4ft5 can use a car seat belt, instead of a child seat.

    If your car has a breakdown or an accident then contact the relevant authorities and the car hire supplier. The car will have yellow vests, which must be worn at all times when outside the vehicle.


    Do I need to pay tolls when driving my car hire in the UK?

    Yes a total of 23 toll roads exist in the United Kingdom, meaning the majority of roads in the UK are free from tolls. Toll gates are currently present in some sections of the M4, M6, M8 and M25 motorways. Some A-roads, such as the Mersey Tunnel, also contain toll gates. Out of these tolls, the majority - 18 tolls - are present on bridges and tunnels, such as the Second Severn Crossing, Dartford Crossing and Tyne Tunnel. The cost of the toll is dependent on the vehicle class and time of day. For example, during the night it is often cheaper than during the daytime and rush hour. Payments at toll booths are generally done manually with cash directly to a person, coins dropped into an automatic machine, or by bank card. For further information on using tolls in the UK, please consult the Gov UK tolls site.


    What kind of insurance do I need for my car hire in the UK?

    Auto Europe basic car hire rates always come with Liability Insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP) included. This is the minimum requirement as stipulated by law. Depending on the supplier these can be with or without excess. It is important to note that CDW does not cover any damage caused to tyres, wheels, roof, mirrors, undercarriage, engine, vehicle interior, locks or keys. To cover these and more consider adding our Full Protection cover to your booking.

    With the Full Protection you will be covered for any damage caused to glass, mirrors, roof, undercarriage, damage or loss of keys, misfuelling, towing and administration costs. Depending on the claim filed, there is a maximum cover limit of £300 or £3000. If you’re interested in adding Full Protection to your reservation, then the fee is charged on a daily basis and can be added during the online booking process. The cost for Full Protection varies between car category, location and supplier.

    During pick-up, often the car hire supplier will try to sell you additional insurances – these are optional! They can include Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Personal Effects Coverage (PEC), Super CDW, Seguro Relax Insurance and Roadside Assistance, amongst others. Any insurance purchased directly with the supplier Auto Europe does not refund. Please note, that if you have previously purchased coverage through us, but are offered additional insurance locally, you will more than likely already be covered. Do not hesitate to call our reservation department to check or if you have any issues.

    The Car hire coverage terms and conditions can be easily viewed in the booking engine under Info Icon. You may also view details in regards to CDW deductibles, Theft Insurance Deductibles and Liability Insurance. Once booked your car rental voucher will also contain full details of your coverage under the terms and conditions.


    Can I add an additional driver to my rental car in the UK?

    Yes it is possible to add an additional driver to your car hire in the UK. Depending on the car hire supplier, they may add this free-of-charge, whilst others may charge a small daily fee. If charged, then the fee will be payable directly to the supplier during pick-up. If you do plan to add an additional driver we often have free additional driver offers, which you can benefit from.

    Any additional driver must be registered on the rental agreement and produce to the car hire supplier upon collecting the vehicle, the same documents as the main driver. In essence, this will be a full driving licence, two proofs of address and identification. If you fail to register properly any additional drivers on the rental agreement, then any insurance and coverage will be void. Meaning that the driver will be fully liable for any damage or theft incurred to the car.

    Additional driver fees can be found during the online booking process under Info Icon, located below the car information. After choosing the desired supplier, category and car, then select Driver Information. The fee information is also contained in your rental voucher.


    Do I need to pay a congestion charge when driving my car hire in the UK?

    Currently if you are visiting central London or Durham, then yes you will need to pay congestion charge to enter these zones. Along with the charge you also need to meet the minimum emissions standards for entering the zone – known as an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The congestion zone generally only applies from Monday to Friday, 07:00 until 22:00, and temporarily in operation on Saturdays and Sundays. The current charge is £15.00 daily (If you pay in advance) and you may enter the zone as many times as you wish during that day, you only pay once.

    The London Congestion Charge zone, along with the City of London, now includes St. James's, Waterloo, Borough, City of London, Clerkenwell, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Holborn, Finsbury, Bloomsbury, Soho, Mayfair, Westminster and parts of Marylebone, Lambeth and Southwark.. For further information visit Transport for London (TfL) or London Congestion Charge.

    You will notice that you are entering a congestion charge zone when you see a large red circle, together with a white letter “C” in your lane. Located above there will also be numerous cameras. When you enter the zone, or leave, the overhead cameras will record your number plate. If you fail to pay the amount, a fine will be sent to the registered vehicle owner. If this is a rental car, then the charge will be forwarded by the car hire supplier to you – along with an administration fees.

    If you pay in advance or before midnight on the day you enter the zone, then the charge is £15.00 per day. If you do not, amount will rise to £17.50 if you pay up to three days after the day of travel.

    There are numerous ways to make payment. You may do so online by card - no registration is needed – on the TfL payment website. Do not use a third party website as they will charge you extra for the privilege. You can pay using the TfL Pay-to-Drive App. This can be downloaded via Google Play or the Apple App Store. Lastly, you may pay by phone from 08:00 until 22:00, Monday to Friday. You’ll need to call 0343 222 2222 from within the UK. In all cases you will need to know your vehicle registration, country of registration and have a valid debit or credit card.

    If you do not pay the congestion charge you will receive a fine of £160 at your home address – reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days. In terms of it being a hire car, then this fine will more than likely reach you past the 14 day period, and will also incur administration costs.


    Glossary - Hire a car in the UK

    Renting a car with Auto Europe couldn't be easier, but sometimes the industry-specific lingo may make even the simplest things seem complicated. Here are some quick explanations of some of the terms you may come across.

    Broker - Auto Europe is a car hire broker. This means we don't have our own fleet, but rather depend on the fleets of our partners (known as suppliers). This allows us to have vehicles available at a large number of pick up locations, always at the most competitive prices.

    Voucher - A voucher is the document sent to clients after a booking is made. It includes all the relevant information about the booking, namely who the supplier providing the vehicle is; it also includes the dates, time and location for pick up and drop off. It further highlights what is included in the booking and what isn't. Finally, the voucher also details the Terms and Conditions of the reservation.

    Auto Europe strongly recommends that clients read all the information provided in the voucher.

    Full to full - With this type of fuel policy, the car is provided with a full tank of fuel (for which the client is NOT charged). At the end of the hire period, the client must return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel, so as to avoid any fuel charges by the supplier.

    Full to empty - With this type of fuel policy, the car is provided with a full tank of fuel for which the client IS charged at pick up. The client should then return the car with the tank as empty as possible, as any unused fuel will NOT be refunded. For more information about fuel, click here.

    Excess - All our cars are covered by mandatory insurance, but this insurance includes an excess. This excess is the amount for which the client is responsible in case of accidental damage to the vehicle. The amount of the excess depends on the supplier and on the car category, and can always be found on our booking engine under "Product Information", as well as on the "Terms, Conditions & Local Fees". Normally, the security deposit is the Excess + VAT + Fuel.

    Full Protection - Service provided by Auto Europe that allows clients to claim a refund for excess paid to the supplier for accidental damage. More information on our Full Protection Coverage can be found here.

    Zero Excess - Service that reduces the excess amount to zero. Please note, however, that even with Zero Excess, a security deposit is still necessary.

    Additional Information

    • UK driving licence holders should log onto the DVLA website and obtain a special code which they need to present to car hire companies. The code will enable the supplier to access full driving licence details.
    • Some suppliers may run an Experian Authenticate Check on renters with a UK home address. Should clients fail to pass the check, they will have to provide a paper-based proof of identity, such as a current utility bill, finance agreement or bank statement issued within the previous 4 months.

    Additional Vehicle Rental Options in the UK

    Our quick and easy website allows you to search and compare car hire quotes from all suppliers in the UK. Along with providing detailed information about additional add-ons and fee Info Icon, we also have great offers, such as free additional drivers, complimentary navigation devices, etc. Our large vehicle fleet consists of a compact car category, ideal for city driving, to more robust large cars, perfect for long distance motorway journeys.

    If the UK weather permits, then a convertible car is great for experience the appeal of the lush UK countryside and rugged coastline. Other options are those of compact and economy cars, with slightly stronger engines compared to minis, but with great fuel-efficiency. The large car category is ideal for motorway driving, covering longer distances securely and comfortably. Have a read of our UK fleet guide for more in-depth car category explanations.

    Luxury Car Hire the UK Hire a Van in the UK Campervan Rentals in the UK

    Luxury Car Hire UK - Extremely popular among our business travelers, the luxury car category is for those that love to travel with some glamour. These cars are beautiful inside and out, with all the comfort and on-road security you’d expect from world renowned car manufacturers. In the UK you can expect to hire such luxury cars as a Porsche, Mercedes E Class, BMW 5 Series, Tesla, Audi, Maserati and Jaguar - to name but a few.

    Van Hire UK - If you’re planning on visiting the UK with a group of friends or family, then often a van hire is an ideal choice for getting around. Potentially saving on local transport costs, a van can take everyone comfortably and safely around the UK. Popular amongst those who plan to do some sports during their holiday, such as, surfing in Cornwall or skiing in northern Wales.

    Campervan hire UK - The United Kingdom is an impeccable place for hiring a motorhome. This island nation can be easily explored with a campervan, from the Scottish Highlands, to Land’s End in England’s most southwestern tip; a motorhome will make your journey comfortable. Like a home away from home, stop over where you like, do what you want and experience what you desire effortlessly.

    Useful links

    Travel inspiration and information for your trip in the UK

    Infographic - car hire checklist

    Useful tips when driving at night

    Advice on car hire in Great Britain and Northern Ireland