Fancy a city break? The government advises that travelling by car is the safest way to get around the UK during the coronavirus (COVID-19). And if you don't own a private vehicle, you are still able to rent one. Car rental companies are considered essential services and are operating at a reduced capacity, but with enhanced cleaning procedures, to contain the coronavirus. Still nervous about renting a car amidst the pandemic? Read ahead. . .
The four rental companies we've chosen have exceptional cleaning standards, are flexible with cancellations and modifications, and have special protocols for responding to a renter that is suspected to have COVID-19. In addition to great reviews, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, and Europcar are using social distancing and limiting the number of employees at their locations, frequently disinfecting surfaces, minimising customer interaction at vehicle pickup and delivery, and employees are frequently washing hands, wearing face coverings, and encouraged not to come into work if they are feeling ill.
What Do I Need to Rent a Car?
• A valid driver's license for at least one year at the time of rental and/or an international driving permit.
• A minimum age of 30 for all rentals (including heavier vehicles and exotic cars), or age 25-29 for car categories of mini, economy, compact, intermediate, standard, and vans. Drivers age 23-24 might have to pay a young driver surcharge, while drivers age 19-22 with a full driver's license, for at least one year, can access some car rentals with select companies — like Enterprise.
• Rental prices for automatic cars start at around £200 for three days.
How are Car Rental Companies Protecting Drivers from COVID-19?
To figure out how car rental companies were containing COVID-19 in the UK, we reached out to four of the top-rated service providers. Here's what each company is doing to protect the heath and safety of drivers and employees . . .
Enterprise: "On top of vacuuming and general wipe-down cleaning, we are using a disinfectant to sanitise key areas between every rental. We also have measures in place to immediately isolate and quarantine any vehicle if needed. Employees working in open branch locations are following the best practices recommended by the World Health Organization, and other health authorities, to help protect and reduce risk during this Coronavirus outbreak."
Hertz: "We have enhanced our cleaning methods at our locations and our shuttle buses, including using approved disinfectant to regularly wipe down high-touch areas such as door handles, counters, kiosks and other hard surfaces. We've added more alcohol-based hand sanitisers and are asking employees to take important hygiene steps, including frequent hand washing and staying home if unwell. For our vehicles, we are reinforcing our rigorous cleaning process which includes priority areas such as door handles, steering wheel, dashboard, console, seats, etc." If a renter is suspected of having COVID-19, then Hertz has "implemented new cleaning protocols that include removing the vehicle from circulation and disinfecting through a third party."
Sixt: "Some of the measures we are taking to ensure the highest standards are: Intensively cleaning our branches to minimise virus transmission, ensuring that our employees follow the recommendations of the WHO, such as washing their hands intensively on a regular basis, and professionally cleaning all vehicles in our SIXT fleet in a multi-step process."
Europcar: "All our vehicles are cleaned before hire and we have implemented additional cleaning measures including sanitising surfaces within the vehicle."
How Can I Further Sanitise a Car Rental?
The car rental companies we've chosen stand out from the rest because they have exceptional cleaning standards for rentals, but you can also protect yourself by wearing a face covering. If you fancy sanitising your vehicle further, then you can use antibacterial cleaning products to wipe down these high-contact surfaces:
• Key and key fob
• Steering wheel
• Steering column
• Centre console
• Accessory panel
• Door interiors
• Door pockets
• Seat Belts
• Seat surfaces
• Seat pockets
• Interior Door handles
• Exterior Door handles
• Areas between seat/console
• Areas between seat/doorjambs
• Instrument panels
• Rearview mirrors
• Visor mirrors