Hiring a car abroad – what do you need to know?

Car rental sign

On the 8th June 2015 the paper counterpart to the photo card driving licence was abolished and you can now access this online, however, many drivers are unaware of this change.

What does this mean for car hire abroad?

For some countries, you and any additional drivers will each need to bring a copy of your Licence Summary, in the form of a specific code obtained from the DVLA or printed out, when renting a car.

This is not only necessary in Great Britain, but also in countries such as Angola, Bahrain, Balearics, Botswana, Canaries, Croatia, Namibia, Oman, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and Tunisia.

This code must be requested from the DVLA within 21 days of the collection of your vehicle as it will be expire after this date.

Keep in mind that car rental companies will need to see the code while it is still valid. The codes are case sensitive, so we advise you write it down exactly as it is shown, to allow you to view your licence summary online.

As this is a new process it can take a little while longer than it has in the past, so be aware the car hiring company may take a little extra time at the counter for this process.

What will you need to bring to pick up your hired car abroad?

To hire a car abroad you need a full valid driving licence and some companies want you to bring another form of ID such as your current passport or a utility bill, with your name and address shown.

Don’t forget to bring the exact unique code generated 21 days before pick up, or the licence summary printout if required by the rental company.

In case you want to share the car with other drivers, make sure the additional drivers bring their permits, the code or licence Summary, and additional ID if required by the rental company. In addition, don’t forget to bring your reservation details and a credit card in your name.

What happens if you have a car accident abroad?

If a car accident happens abroad, make sure you:

  • Get the right contact details of the other driver, his registration as well as the name and policy number of his insurance.
  • Contact your hire care company as well as your insurance.
  • If you have witnesses of the accident, write down their details such as last name and exact phone number with the dialling code, to be able to get in touch with in case there is a claim.
  • Make sure you take pictures of the scene and vehicles involved.

Similar to accidents in the UK, it is helpful to get the police involved, especially if there are any injuries. Make sure you know the correct police number of the country you are travelling in.

We hope you drive safely on your holiday, and enjoy your hire car. However, if you are hurt in an accident occurs that is not your fault, we are here to help.

If you would like to discuss your circumstance, call Digby Brown on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our online enquiry form and a legal advisor will contact you.