Warning over age-based car hire surcharges

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Car rental broker Economy Car Hire has issued a warning about some operators who are charging elderly clients hefty additional fees to offset insurance costs.

Research by the firm has found differing policies are in place across Europe highlighting how customers need to be aware of any hidden costs.

Many operators have an upper age limit to rent a vehicle and levy an additional charge to those customer above that limit.

Economy Car Hire, which limits the upper and lower age limits to cut out age-related surcharges, picked out Spanish car rental firm RecordGo which has an upper age limit of 69.

Anyone older than this has to pay a surcharge of €58 per day up to a maximum of €192, which includes 21% tax. Based on current exchange rates, this would add around £136 onto the cost of a holiday.

The Avis age limit is 69 and it charges 70 to 99-year-olds €6.32 per day, excluding tax. Rentis in Poland has a limit of 75 years-of-age, so anyone older than this has to pay €5 a day including 21% tax.

Economy Car Hire points out there are car rental companies which do not charge extra for older drivers.

These include Alamo in France, Spain and the US, Maggiore in Italy, Thrifty in Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand and South Africa. Many car rental suppliers in Portugal do not charge for older drivers.

Economy Car Hire advised holidaymakers to shop around when booking as terms and conditions vary between, brokers, suppliers and countries.

Even if the company you book with doesn’t impose extra charges, if you’re over 75 clients may need a note from their doctor stating they’re fit to drive in some countries. This needs to be dated within a month of departure.

Rory Sexton, managing director of Economy Car Hire, said: “Some car hire brokers will ask for your age but still show a vehicle, even though the supplier prohibits rentals for older customers.

“Always make sure that you check the terms and conditions, to make sure that the supplier you have selected will actually rent to you.

“Get in touch with the company or broker you’re booking with via phone or email to confirm this information if you are concerned.

“In most countries, with most brokers there will be an option where an older driver surcharge is not applicable.”

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