Car Hire Costs Double for Skiers

Travellers heading for the piste this half term face a barrage of extra costs at the rental desk meaning they could end up paying over two times as much as they had bargained for

Hiring a car for the week across the seven locations of Geneva, Grenoble, Turin, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Sophia and Inverness costs on average £240, however once ‘extras’, paid for at the rental desk, are factored in a traveller could be looking at an average final bill of £689. researched seven European ski gateways to see how a traveller’s costs snowballs when picking up their hire car. The hire companies of Avis, Sixt, Europcar, Enterprise, Budget and Hertz were researched for the hire of a medium compact car from February 10 to 17 2018.

‘Extras’, included in the survey, came to an average weekly cost of £116 for Super Damage Waiver, £20 for Super Theft Waiver, £33 for Tyre and Windscreen Excess, £60 for an extra driver (£124 if under 25 years), £86 for a sat nav, £37 for winter tyres (‘winterisation’ cost), £40 for a roof rack and £57 for a child’s car seat – a total of £449 extra paid to the rental company.

Geneva is the most expensive place to hire a car to go skiing this February half term. It costs on average £440 to hire a car, with an additional £515 for the extras paid for at the rental desk.  Sofia is the most reasonable place in the study to hire a car, with rental costs averaging £106 and extras at £285.

If a hire car is damaged or stolen, even if it’s not the hirer’s fault, the hirer is liable for the first part of the claim (i.e. the excess amount) which is around £1000, according to the study.  Buying car hire excess insurance from the rental company for the week is expensive, costing for example £184 from Hertz in Barcelona, i.e., £87 for its Super Damage Waiver, £78 for Super Theft Waiver and £19 for Tyre and Windscreen Excess.

Savvy travellers could save £152 buying an independent excess policy from a specialist insurance company, like, which includes all these elements. A daily European policy from costs  from £3.99, or an annual policy from £39.99, and includes vulnerable parts of a vehicle providing up to £6000 of protection cover.

Additional costs incurred at the rental desk include:

Winterisation (Winter Tyres & Snow Chains): Rental companies often levy a ‘winterisation charge’ during the winter period. Expect to pay around £31 for winter tyres, although a skier hiring from Turin with Sixt could be looking at a £70 bill.

Travellers should research the winter driving regulations of the country they are hiring in, otherwise they (and not the rental company) could face a fine.

Extra Drivers: These are often a necessity for a skiing party, but will add to the bill. In Geneva, Barcelona, Turin, Inverness and Grenoble expect to pay on average between £50 to £60 for each extra driver dropping to just £26 in Sophia, but if the driver is under 25 years the charge could be as high as £240 if hiring in Inverness with Europcar.

Sat Navs:  These cost on average £90 across the destinations, but drop down to £50 in Sophia.

Ski Rack:  Expect to pay between £30 to £40 to hire a ski rack but this could be as high as £60 if hiring from Avis in Barcelona.

Child Car Seats:  The price of child car seats varies from £20 to £100, with Budget and Hertz charging over £115 in Turin, while in Sophie and Innsbruck the cost is a more reasonable £20 to £30 on average.