A Guide To Car Hire In The UK

by : Shaun Parker

Car hire is the term that is used to describe the renting of a vehicle from a company. It usually takes place over short periods of time from a couple hours to a few weeks.

Most car rental companies have comprehensive websites that allow the potential clients to view, reserve and pay for their vehicle hire online.

Typically car hire UK companies are based in airports or busy city areas and they often deal largely with the tourist or business markets. There is also a big market in vehicles that would ordinarily be out of the purchase price range of the hirer.

A large proportion of the British car hire market is made up of vehicles that are hired whilst the hirer's car is being repaired. There are also a vast number trucks and vans rented out to people that want to move house.

Each company that offers car hire in the UK provide the service with different conditions. Some companies allow the hirer to pick up and drop off the vehicle they hire at different places in the UK. This makes it possible to take a vehicle on a one-way journey and return it near to your destination. Many companies include insurance and roadside assistance as part of the price they quote which makes it easy to manage your budget. Some deals cost more depending on the number of miles the vehicle is driven but an increasing number of companies offer agreements with unlimited mileage.

The history of car hire is said to trace back to the introduction of the first economical version of Ford's Model T. A Nebraskan man named Joe Saunders is said to have been the first to hire out a vehicle when he lent out his Model T to a travelling salesman that wanted to take a girl out on a date.

Walter L Jacobs opened a car rental business in Chicago in 1918. By 1923 the business was generating $1 million a year and was ultimately bought by John Hertz. Prohibition facilitated a growth in the industry. This was positive for the profitability of the industry however hire vehicles became associated with bootleggers, prostitutes and bank robbers. The reputation has improved greatly since then.

There are two types of car hire company.

Companies such as Alamo and Europcar own the vehicles in their fleet. The other type of company operates like a broker and has access to other companies' fleets of vehicle. Many car rental companies impose a strict minimum age bracket on their vehicles. Often this means drivers have to be over 25 to rent a hire car.

Many companies also require payment via a credit card. This makes it easier for them to trace the person in event of theft or if the hire company finds faults with the vehicle after the hirer has returned it.