Self drive van hire: our top tips
When it comes to self-drive van hire, there are a multitude of things that you need to remember and consider before making your final decision. It’s especially important that everything is taken care of in advance, so it’s vital that you’re aware of everything before you book.
That’s why this month we wanted to share some of our top tips for when you’re hiring a self-drive van from your chosen rental company.
Choose your vehicle carefully
When it comes to renting a van, it’s important that you chose one based on your specific needs. For example, if you’re moving house then you may want to consider an extra long wheelbase Transit van.
Alternatively, if you’re only moving a few smaller boxes and pieces of furniture, then why not pick a car-derived van? Each vehicle will have a different cost, so make sure you check before making your final booking.
Check the terms and conditions
Each vehicle rental company will have their own unique terms and conditions, so make sure you check with the sales team to see if there are any restrictions. These could include:
- Age restrictions on who can drive the van
- Specific mileage terms, including excess mileage payments
- Where the van can be used (in the UK or abroad)
- Deposit amounts and what cards are accepted
- Rental payment terms
If you’re unsure, then just give the rental company a call and speak to a member of their team. They’ll be more than happy to help in any way they can.
Check your documentation
When you’re collecting your vehicle, make sure that you check all the documentation through carefully before signing. The rental team will walk you through each step of the contract; so if you do have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
What licence do you need?
Depending on when you passed your driving test, you may not be able to drive vehicles over specific sizes. It’s important that you check before booking to avoid disappointment. The most common guidelines are listed below.
If your licence was issued before 31st January 1997:
- You’re able to drive a vehicle up to 3.5t on a standard Category B licence
- If you have a Category C licence, you’ll be able to drive a van up to 7.5t
- With a Category C, you’re also able to tow a trailer up to 750kg
If your driving licence was issued after 31st January 1997:
- You may have to take an additional test to be able to tow a trailer
- You may have to take additional tests to be able to drive a van over 3.5t
If you’re unsure about what kind of vehicle you’re able to drive, or simply want to learn more about the categories, you can check the gov.uk website here.
Remember to take everything with you
When you’re going to collect your van, it’s important that you take all the documentation you need with you. This will include your driving licence and a debit or credit card for the excess deposit.
Some companies also ask that you provide a current utility bill to show your home address, but if you’re unsure, just call ahead of time and double check.
It’s not like driving a car
If you’ve never driven a van before, it’s important to remember that it’s not like driving a car. Vans are taller than cars, so you need to keep your eyes peeled for low-hanging branches, lights and other obstructions.
The van won’t be as light as a car, especially if it’s loaded, so make sure you slow down at corners and increase your braking distance in heavy traffic. At the same time, the blind spots are bigger, so make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, especially when turning left.
The speed limits do change
We all understand that different roads have different speed limits, but some people don’t know that these speeds change depending on what type of vehicle you’re driving.
For example, if you’re driving on a single carriageway in a van, the speed limit is 50mph compared. A normal car or a car-type van can drive up to 60mph on a single carriageway.
Check your drop off times
As with most vehicle rental companies, there are specific times that you’re able to drop off your van. It’s important that you adhere to these times so that you aren’t charged for another full day on top of your existing bill.
However, some companies are able to make exceptions if circumstances beyond your control happen. For example, if you’re on the way to drop your vehicle off and there’s an accident that closes the motorway, pull over at the next safe place and give the rental company a call.
As long as you give them enough notice that something has happened, they may be able to make an exception for you.
So there we have it, our top tips for self-drive van hire. What do you think? Is there anything that we’ve missed that you’ve noticed in the past? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so make sure you let us know in the comments below.
If you’re looking for a specific van, then don’t forget you can get in touch with us at any time. Our team of experts are always here to help you choose the right van for your needs.