What to do when hiring a car abroad

Hiring a car abroad W

As of June 2015, the paper part of British driving licences is to become defunct. On Monday 8 June, the endorsements and fines that are currently recorded on these paper counterparts will become computerised. In today’s digital world, this sounds like a sensible step forward by the DVLA, but it could also spell out problems for drivers looking to hire a car when abroad.

What will you need to hire a car abroad?

Motorists are being warned that they may need a special code if they are looking at overseas car rental options. This code would flag up details of any previous convictions or offences the individual has clocked up.

This is being seen by many as yet another challenge when hiring cars abroad. Motorists are already faced with a variety of fuel and mileage policies, insurance excesses, and damage charges. And from 8 June, drivers must also ensure they present a special DVLA code at the car-hire desk.

To do this, drivers must log onto the DVLA website to be issued their unique code. However, the code will then only be valid for the next 72 hours. As a driver, you will be required to log your driving licence details and national insurance number in order to be issued this one-time code.

Better to be safe than sorry…

However, logging these codes is not an official requirement for car rental companies, meaning some smaller car hire businesses may not be aware of the changes. To avoid disappointment and confusion, the AA is advising drivers take their paper counterpart as well as the code when travelling abroad. This contradicts the advice being issued by the DVLA to destroy all paper counterparts after 8 June.

But it’s not just car hire companies that may be in the dark regarding these changes, the same may be true of some drivers. Speaking on behalf of the RAC last month, Simon Williams stated: “Our research shows that with just over a month to go before the paper counterpart to the photocard licence disappears, 55% of drivers are not aware of the planned change.”

For drivers who still have an old-style paper licence, these will remain valid, but a code will be needed to certify them.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) states that the situation needs to be made clearer.

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