Car Rentals in London - Hire a Car in London

London is one of the leading tourism destinations in the world. The city attracts more than 20 million tourists every year. In terms of international visits, London is one of the world’s most visited places. It is home to some of the great architectural works and buildings. River Thames, Big Ben Tower, Oxford Street,  Tower Bridge, Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St.Paul’s Cathedral and more places in London city attract tourists from all around the world. London’s tube service and local bus service are available for tourists to explore the world but some groups or families prefer hiring a car and driving on their own. It is a convenient option too and is also the best way historic sites and countryside. 

Car Rental Costs in London

There are over 100 locations to pick up your hired car in London and the most popular location is Heathrow Airport. St Pancras and Waterloo are other top locations where you can pick up your rental car. However, you can pick up the vehicle at any location as per your convenience and preference. They accept payment in their local currency, Pound Sterling (GBP). 
1. Vehicles are available for all budget rates in London.
2. To help fight climate change and to cut down emissions from vehicles, a congestion charge of 11.50 Pounds will be charged while driving within the congestion charge zones of the London city.
3. Some car rental companies offer great discounts if you hire a car for longer periods of time.
4. Booking a car online long before your trip can help you in availing many offers and discounts that are not available when you book a vehicle on spot.
5. Per day costs of a vehicle that you book also depend on the location of the pickup and the type of vehicle like the mini, standard, luxury, etc. It can also differ from hiring at an airport and in the city downtown.

Per Day Average Charges Based on Car Type

TypeRental Cost (GBP)
Mini car 14.50
Economy car17
Compact car20.40
Standard car30.20
Intermediate car31.00
Premium car cost46.05
Luxury car70.00

Per Day Average Charges Based on the Pickup Point

Pickup LocationRental Cost (GBP)
Heathrow Airport19.60
Luton Airport or Gatwick Airport17.50
Stansted Airport16.60
London City Airport22.60
Edgware Road22.90
Victoria Station25.80
Kings Cross23.70

Major Car Rentals in London

Like any other major tourist destination, London has many car rentals to choose from during your visit to this city. While choosing a car rental company, it is good to check the reviews and ratings. Europcar, Hertz, Keddy, Inter Rent, Zoo Cars Ltd, Humming Bird Motors, Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, and more. These are the options one has while choosing your car among the major car rentals in London. They have branches and centres available in all major locations in London. Their services are available everywhere and it is also easy to contact them.

Procedure for Renting a Car in London

Step 1: Know the Requirements

  1. Various companies follow different minimum rental ages which range from 17 to 25 years. Researching car hiring companies is important before booking a vehicle. You should decide what vehicle will be comfortable regarding your preferences. 

  2. Go through the driver’s license requirements and make sure you have what you need. If you are travelling from a different country, you will be asked for an International Driving Permit. It is required only for those who have a non-EU driver’s license. 

  3. If you decide to drive, more often than not, you need to be 21-years-old to hire a car from any UK company and a Young Drivers Surcharge will be applied to anyone aged between 21 and 24. 

  4. Some car hire suppliers in London might also request that you submit documents proving your address. This can either be a utility bill or credit card/bank statement. Online statements are also acceptable but you have to make sure that the required information is clearly printed without any smudging.

  5. If the vehicle goes through any damage while it is in your possession, you will be liable to pay an extra amount to the car hire company. The same excess payment made to the company will be mentioned in your car rental agreement too. Research about the excess reduction insurance so that you can buy it and can reduce the excess amount in such cases.

  6. DVLA code is another requirement if you are hiring based on a UK license which allows you to share your disqualifications, endorsements and penalty points with the supplier.

 Step 2: Compare Different Deals and Add Extras That You Need

  1. There are many websites, apps, and companies that display offers of different hiring companies in one place. You can go through that information to compare various deals available and it makes your process of hiring a car easy and simple. 

  2. Sometimes, you might need a child seat or GPS device if they are not already there in the vehicle. You can easily ask for such facilities by contacting the company’s customer care team. If not, you can also contact the supplier directly or send them a message.

Step 3: Go Through a Final Checklist

  1. Check the specified time on your booking confirmation. Make sure you arrive at the depot to collect your hire car at that time. Carry your booking confirmation along with you to avoid confusion and also take your driver’s license along with other required documents.

  2. Read the terms and conditions of your rental agreement and ask questions to the supplier if you do not understand anything or if you want to confirm anything else. 

  3. It is also very important to check the vehicle for any damage before leaving the depot. Some minute damages might not be listed in the report and it is a good idea to take some photos of the car if you find any such damage. Ensure you report any damage to the company so that it can be added to the report.

Step 4: Know the Road Rules and Toll Charges

Toll roads are everywhere in the United Kingdom. When you reach any toll road in London, you will have to pay in order to go further. You can pay in either in cash, card or with a special pass if you have one.

Step 5: Fill the Fuel Tank and Pay Extra Charges If Necessary

  1. If you want to avoid any additional charges, make sure the vehicle’s fuel tank is full before you return it to the depot. If you have pre-purchased fuel, you will not be required to do this. 

  2. If any extra damage is caused to the vehicle under your care, you will be charged additionally. You might also have to make another additional payment if you have exceeded the mileage limit.

Insurance Policies in London

1. Third-Party Liability Insurance

Unlimited Third-Party Liability Insurance, also known as Third-Party Cover (TPC) is a compulsory legal requirement in the United Kingdom. It is actually included in the pre-paid price of most of the car rental companies. Third-Party Liability Insurance provides protection from any kind of liability resulting from property damage, injury, or death caused to anything or anyone outside your rental car. Most of the rental cars also include Fire Insurance in addition to Third-Party Liability Insurance to cover any fire-related damage to the rental vehicle.

2. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) ensures insurance coverage that deals with the amount of the deductible. It is the amount the driver is required to pay if there was an accident and with a CDW, the deductible is reduced to a more manageable amount and it also typically includes theft protection. With this, if your rental car is stolen from you, it protects you by reducing your deductible to what your CDW might require. 

3. Additional Insurance

Drivers can purchase additional insurance to supplement their CDW like either a zero deductible rate or a refundable deductible. In cases of a zero deductible rate, you won't be responsible for any damages to the vehicle but will have to pay a damage administrative fee which typically is around £50. If you have a refundable deductible, you will be held liable at the time of returning the vehicle to your supplier but the rental company will reimburse you after you provide them with all the necessary paperwork including a filed police report if required.

4. Theft Insurance

The advantage of hiring a car in some of the companies in London with major US credit cards like MasterCard, Visa, and American Express is that they offer collision and theft insurance for your rental car in the United Kingdom. However, to take advantage of your credit card rental car insurance, it is important to pay for the rental with the card that you want to accept coverage from. As you have to decline the insurance from the rental company in order to opt for the credit card coverage, you have to provide written proof from your credit card company. The rental companies have all the rights, to refuse your rental if you fail to provide proof of coverage from your credit card company. Vehicle Theft Cover or Theft Protection is optional insurance that you can also accept from the supplier to cover the cost of replacing the vehicle or its parts in the event of theft. 

Inclusive Facilities with the Insurance Policies

  1. Most of the car rental companies in London offer various inclusive facilities besides the basic services. 

  2. Insurance policies can be easily taken through your supplier who assists you and makes sure you are not at loss.

  3. Like any other vehicle, you will get high-quality cars, well equipped with airbags, air conditioner, music system, GPS, and many more.

  4. Pick and drop facility is also provided by the rental companies to put their customers at ease.

  5. Some rental companies give discounts on fuel rates along with basic insurance policy services, especially for customers who hire high-end vehicles.

  6. If you are travelling with a baby, you might need a baby holder or baby safety seat belt which can be arranged easily by your supplier.

Tips While Renting a Car and Driving in London

  1. As car rentals in the airport include a kiosk fee, you can look for rental locations outside the airport to avoid the kiosk charges. 

  2. Sometimes airlines offer reward programs for passengers. So, when flying to London, check if your airline ha such a program that includes discounts at car rental companies in the city. 

  3. If you are a UK citizen, you can join a loyalty rewards program with a car rental company to have some perks by earning points. 

  4. Congestion Charge is compulsory if you drive in the charging zone in London between 7:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. 

  5. Rules are very important while driving on the city roads. Left turns on red lights are prohibited and seat belts are mandatory. Drivers must not use a handheld phone while driving or in traffic which is illegal. 

  6. Motorways have variable speed limits and they are shown in miles like distance. Overhead digital signs keep showing the speed and drivers have to check the revised limit. 

  7. If you are used to driving on the right or a car with a right-side driver seat,  it will not be the same in London. In the United Kingdom, it is mandatory to drive on the left side of the road and the driver’s seat is to the right side of the car. 

  8. Roundabouts can be confusing in London. Drivers who are not used to the roundabouts in the city find it challenging to go through them. So, you have to drive with extra care.

  9. It is better to book a car with a full-to-full fuel policy to avoid hidden fuel costs. However, it is important to deliver your car back to the supplier with a full tank. 

  10. Make sure you do not put the wrong type of fuel in the tank. Almost all petrol stations in the UK are self-serve, so you will have to be attentive. Also, fuel is sold by the lier but not gallon.

This post was published by Sravya Ronanki

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