Is it cheaper to reserve a rental car in Scotland from the US before I go or from England where I'll be before heading to Scotland?
Internet is internet.
Is there any discount offered for booking a car early? Even if you don't get a discount, the earlier you reserve, the better chances of getting the car class you want, especially if you're renting from a smaller company or in a more remote location.
"Internet is internet" is not actually right. If you are in America and put simple words like car rental scotland - you will get the american websites of companies like Avis and Hertz. Sure, you may get some Scottish ones come up, but in the case of the multinationals, you do NOT come to the UK websites. That makes a major difference, because the majority of those multinationals do not include insurance (CDW) in their quote on their US websites. When asked the reason, they say that so many of their clients have credit card insurance, they no longer include it in their quote. If you come to a UK website, they all include insurance - even Avis and Hertz, because by far the majority of Brits do not have card insurance. So, it would seem better to book it from the US, but only if you have credit card insurance cover. Otherwise, your quote will at least double when they add insurance cover and can even triple. Then they will add extra driver's daily rates, one way rental charges of you pick and drop in different places, daily GPS rates, etc.
Booked when you are in England, you will bring up the UK sites of those multinationals and they will still offer you the option of reducing the rental by using the card insurance. It is only an option though.
Now we get to the real problem. The rates these multinationals charge, without insurance, are often higher than local companies charge and the local companies all include insurance. When it comes to add ons, the multis are outrageously expensive. We are a Scottish company with a fleet of over 6000 cars (I don't think they would let me tell you who, on these pages :o) and we let you have up to four drivers for FREE! Hertz charge GBP84 per week, per extra driver. The deductible on our insurance is GBP500 and it costs GBP50 per week to reduce that to zero. Hertz deductible goes from GBP900 up. It charges GBP160 (and up) to reduce it to zero.
I use Hertz as the example, but the words Avis, Enterprise and Budget, Dollar or Alamo could all be entered in place of Hertz, but I do think that Hertz charge the most for extras.
Extras are where the multinationals make their profits, even if you have credit card insurance. Try looking for local companies - we do that wherever we travel, in whatever country and it is surprising how many there are out there. Local people are also more likely to be helpful in giving any tips about the local area and their country. Good Luck, Willie Wallace
We just rented our car from Europcar for our upcoming , month-long trip to the UK. We checked multiple rental agencies, and Europcar offered the best price, allowing us to have just what we wanted.
By pre-booking, online, we saved $50+ versus paying at the London Olympia p/u point.
We'll p/u at London Olympia, drop-off at Edinburgh Waverly.
We added car insurance onto our trip insurance policy through USAA and it was way cheaper than using the Europcar insurance available.
We’ll have the car for 22 days.
What we rented: a standard-size car (a VW Passat, which we had on our trip last year and was a fine fit for us and the UK roads!); 5-door, seats 5 (there are just 3 of us, but two are 6’ and 6’5”); AUTOMATIC transmission; one-way charges (p/u in London, drop-off in Edinburgh), one driver; we’re bringing our own GPS (with a UK SD card purchased from Amazon for $30); unlimited mileage; licenses & fees; VAT.
Price EXCLUDES: Value Cover (WWI), Theft Waiver (THW), Personal Accident and Baggage Cover (SPAEC), STAND LIABLE, Peace of Mind Cover (POM), Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).
Our total cost: $748.01 (£433.63) Paid, in advance. Would be over $800, if we paid when we get the car in London. $50 will buy us more than a few snacks for the road!!
Too much thinking.
The only thing you don't want to do is walk up to the desk blind.
I booked four cars out of Turnhouse last year. One was booked the day before departure, one was at the initial departure gate and one at the layover in Amsterdam. The fourth one I'd forgotten about, so I did it while slurping a coffee after clearing immigration - - and then walked out to the rental shed. Three were for about twenty or twenty-one bucks a day, one was a bit more since I dropped it down at Manchester. They were all small cars with whatever kind of transmission they threw at me at the cheapest price.
The credit card covers my insurance, so I don't much care about the pricing structure for anybody else.
I've also stood away from the counter and booked cars on the internet before walking over and gotten a much better deal than the dude who walked up in front of me having done nothing. You can do the same thing if there's a phone somewhere that's a direct shot to the agency's central reservations number.
What Willie Wallace says about his company is gospel. My wife and I spent four weeks in the Highlands and Islands last June in a car that we rented from Willie. I did a pretty thorough internet search and I could not find a cheaper price. The transaction was as hassle-free and a deposit was not required to book the car in advance.
I've mentioned this a few times elsewhere, but when I rented in Inverness two years ago and used credit card insurance coverage I was required to show up at the counter with written proof of coverage from the card issuer. That meant a letter outlining coverage guarantees addressed to me, not a generic pamphlet. (As Willie said, buying coverage would have more than doubled the cost.)
I don't know if this was an anomaly, the policy of that shop, or what. But, I'm glad I called the shop directly after booking online to check on things.
My advice, then, is no matter who you book with, if you book online, call the specific shop you will be dealing with to verify that both of you are on the same wavelength about price, insurance, etc. Surprises can be expensive.
Our cost for a Ford Fiesta for four weeks from Celtic Legend which is affiliated with Arnold Clark, one of the largest car dealers in Scotland, was 473.75GBP which at that time was $763.52 Cdn. That price included the CDW coverage but we did not reduce the deductible to zero.