Tourist Information UK

UK Car Hire

The UK is relatively small with an excellent network of roads. Hiring a car is therefore a brilliant way of sightseeing at your own pace and allows you the freedom to go wherever you please.

There are numerous car hire companies in the UK and each company will have different policies so don’t assume that they all operate in the same way.

You will be offered a choice of car type for hire, ranging from a small economy car to an MPV. It is advisable to spend a bit of time researching the types of car on offer so that you can choose the right one for you. For example, an economy car will have 4 seats but it may not have a large enough boot to carry the luggage for a family of four. You also need to be aware of high petrol prices and consider whether you really need a vehicle with a large engine that will use more petrol.

To hire a car in the UK you will be asked to produce a valid driving licence, your passport, a credit card and some documentation with your name and address on it. Your passport or driving licence may be sufficient proof of address.

To get the best deal you need to shop around. You probably won’t get the best deal if you decide to hire a car from the airport when you arrive so try and book ahead to get as cheap a price as possible.


Car hire firms will offer you their own insurance but this is usually at an inflated price. Specialist insurance companies like and can save you a lot of money and offer a better insurance package without the high excesses.

Car hire companies will also offer you personal accident and theft cover but check your own travel insurance as you may already be covered for this.

Read the small print!

When hiring a car, there are several things that you must do:

  1. Ask about additional costs. This might include insurance and excesses.

  2. Check the policy on fuel. Do you need to return the car with a full tank or a near empty one. Check the fuel gage before you leave in case you do not start with a full tank.

  3. Check over the car for any scratches or dents so that you are not blamed for them later.

  4. If you need to make any on road repairs, keep the receipts to give to the car hire firm on your return.

  5. Check the policy for fines. These can be for returning the car late or not putting enough petrol in. There may also be extra costs incurred for high mileage so check to see if there is a limit before you drive from London to Scotland!

Hiring car seats

The law in England states that all passengers in a vehicle must wear a seat belt (where one is fitted). Children under 135cms must use a child seat or a booster seat and you are liable for prosecution if you do not comply. You can hire childrens car seats at the same time as hiring the car or you can bring your own.