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Hiring a car abroad - it's not just the car insurance you need to worry about

Whilst soaking up to sun on the Costa del Sol you're a world away from the stress and troubles of normal working life. No deadlines, no road rage and no commuter traffic making you late for work.

However, if you decide to hire a car there's more than just your driving license and car insurance to think about, you could be putting yourself in more danger than you would at home. In Spain there are twelve times as many fatal accidents as the UK for the number of vehicles on the road. And the figures aren't much different in other holiday destinations such as Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Italy.

With these shocking statistics - you need to make sure you hire a safe and reliable car. Following a survey by 'Holiday Which?', two out of every five hire cars inspected in the Costa del Sol were unsafe. Problems include:

•Under-inflated tyres - can seriously affect road handling •Bald tyres - can be lethal at any time •Cut or bulge on tyre - increases the risk of a blow-out •Faulty airbag - which fail to operate in an emergency •No parcel shelves - a danger when luggage is in the back of car

As a result of these dangers it's vital that before signing the car hire contract you check a number of things. duck2water Car Insurance (, who specialise in car insurance for drivers with over 4 years no claim history, offer ten useful tips:

1.Car insurance Make sure you have adequate car insurance - does it include unlimited mileage? Does it have sufficient CDW (collision damage waiver)? What is the excess? Is the car covered whilst driving off-road (e.g. to get to a remote beach or picnic spot)?

2.Emergency number Ensure you have a contact number for the hire company in case the car breaks down or is involved in an accident.

3.Tyres Are the tyres flat? Do they have bald patches? Are there

cuts or bulges in the side walls?

4.Brakes Drive the car around the car park and check the brakes work properly.

5.Airbag Is the airbag warning light flashing?

6.Lights Ask the representative to stand outside the car to confirm all lights work including the reverse lights and indicators.

7.Bodywork Point out to the car hire representative if there are any dents, scratches or other damage - to be sure you are not charged for it when you return the car.

8.Seatbelts Tug sharply on all belts to check they lock properly.

9.Controls Familiarise yourself with the controls and ask the representative if you are unsure.

10.Windscreen wipers and washers Make sure all are in good working order.

Rebecca Pearson, Customer Services Manager at duck2water Car Insurance said:

'Car hire companies should valet and carry out a maintenance check on all vehicles they hire out. Sadly some car hire companies don't even bother emptying the ashtrays before handing over the keys to a new customer. Holidaymakers need to be cautious of all car hire companies; whether they are a local firm or multinational company.'

'If you have any concerns about the condition of a hire car, ask for another one. You're the customer, it's you paying the bill and you and your family that are at risk if anything goes wrong. Above all make sure you have adequate car insurance to cover you if you have an accident.'
About the Author

Contact: Rebecca Pearson Customer Services Manager duck2water Car Insurance

duck2water Car Insurance was established in 2004. As an online only insurance provider we are able to offer premiums up to 60% cheaper than other companies. Plus all our policies include free legal expenses insurance worth up to £50.

Written By: Paul Johnson