Category Archives: Van Hire News

News and special offers from other UK van hire and rental companies.

Car ferry

Heading abroad in a hired van? Missing paperwork could prove costly

Car ferry

Anyone driving in mainland Europe is required to carry a vehicle registration document. That’s easy if you are in a vehicle you own, but what if it’s hired or leased?

The hire or lease company which owns the vehicle won’t provide the vehicle registration document. Instead, what should happen is they will issue a VE103 document to the driver of the vehicle. This  contains details of the vehicle taken from the V5, along with the name and address of the hirer.

This is the only acceptable substitute for the V5C, and enables the authorities to verify that the person driving the vehicle has permission to do so.  Photocopies of the V5C or letters of authority are not accepted. 

The penalties and inconvenience resulting from failing to carry a valid VE103 document can be considerable, warns the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).  Drivers caught without the correct documentation can face long delays which can be time consuming and costly. The consequences will vary according to the country, but a driver may be fined and the vehicle could be impounded.

The BVRLA has been told of drivers being stuck at border control for four days while the VE103 document is sent through to them. There are even examples as close to home as Dublin where drivers have encountered issues following minor parking infringements.

BVRLA Director of Member Services Nora Leggett says:

“Whether it’s because they are not aware of the rules, or they decide to take the risk, there are drivers who travel abroad in a leased vehicle without the correct VE103 documentation. And we aren’t just talking about company cars; there are a significant number of commercial vehicles that leave the UK without a VE103 too.  It is essential that businesses understand their responsibilities and educate drivers to avoid significant disruption.”

What do you need to do? If you are planning to take a hired van abroad, you must arrange this in advance with your hire company. That includes driving into the Republic of Ireland in a vehicle hired in mainland UK.

There will be an additional fee, in return for which the hire company will normally provide you with a VE103B document plus European insurance and breakdown cover. You should also check whether any extra equipment is required, such as reflective yellow (hi viz) vests or breathalysers.

European use is not normally included in hire agreements. Anyone taking a hired vehicle abroad without the agreement of their hire company may also find that they do not have insurance or breakdown cover. 

Europcar van hire

Lincoln Wickes offers hourly van hire this Easter thanks to Europcar

Europcar van hire

Europcar vans will be available for £17 per hour at Wickes in Lincoln this Easter weekend.

Europcar is one of a handful of big hire companies which offer hourly van hire in the UK (another is Hertz).

This service is very popular with customers, but is harder for hire companies to operate profitably — hence its limited availability.

Hourly hire comes into its own for short distance moves in towns and cities.

Picking up large furniture or DIY purchases is a good example. To try and capture some of this market and presumably trial a new service, Europcar is making two VW Crafter vans available at the Lincoln branch of Wickes this Easter weekend.

Europcar’s research shows that nearly 20% of 35-44 year olds have admitted to driving an overloaded car. This is surprisingly easy to do when purchasing DIY supplies, given the weight of quite small items. A standard bags of gravel, sand or cement weighs 25kg. Tiles and paving are also very heavy for their size.

The vans will be available for just £17 per hour, according to Europcar UK boss Ken McCall. Commenting on the Wickes initiative, Mr McCall said:

An overloaded car presents visibility issues and could compromise vehicle handling, not to mention being uncomfortable and probably requiring multiple journeys.

If you are planning a big DIY job or house move this weekend and will be hiring a van, Europcar has also provided the following tips to help make sure that you and your load arrive safely at their destination.

  • Remember to distribute cargo evenly to ensure the van handles correctly
  • Load the largest, heaviest items first such as appliances or furniture and keep them upright
  • Use padding to protect corners or wooden surfaces – this will help you slide heavier items into the van
  • Use spare mattress protectors to cover sofas and mattresses and place them on their sides against the walls of the van to save space
  • Dis-assemble bed frames, tables and desks but making sure you tape the pieces together
  • Roll-up rugs and carpets and tape these at each end and in the middle and place these on the bottom on the van
  • Put heavy boxes at the bottom then stack the lighter boxes on top
  • Slide long items such as floor lamps in along the sides of the van
  • Place odd-shaped items on the top of your load if they are light enough or place them last in the van ensuring that they don’t move around when being transported
  • Pack all items as tightly as you can to prevent anything breaking whilst on the move

If you’re still worried, check out our guides on driving a van for the first time and how to do a DIY removal job. van

Hiring a van for the first time? 5 essential tips van

Hiring a van for the first time can be quite daunting. However, you’ll find that in most cases the rules are the same as for hiring a car.

In this post I’ve provided answers for five of our most commonly-asked questions.

However, remember that these are a general guide: each hire company has its own rules, which may be slightly different.

Q: Driving licence & ID requirements

A: You’ll need a valid UK photo card driving licence or an old-style paper licence.

Remember that the paper counterpart to the photo card was abolished on 1 June 2015 and is no longer valid.

To enable the van rental company to check your driving record online you will need to provide an access code from the DVLA. These are available free of charge at Codes are only valid for 21 days. If you are able to, you should also print out the driver summary page from the website.

Drivers with non-UK licences may need translations or an International Driving Permit. Some restrictions apply for drivers with non-EU driving licences. GOV.UK has more information here.

IDENTIFICATION: Most hire companies will require a proof of address, e.g. a utility bill. If you are visiting the UK you may be asked for details of where you are staying and your planned departure date. Some companies require

Q: Will I need a deposit?

A: You will normally be asked to provide a deposit when you collect your hire van. Most hire companies will ask for a credit or debit card on which they will reserve the deposit amount. This will then be released when you return the vehicle undamaged.

Cash and cheques are not normally acceptable for deposits.

Q: Will the van come with a tank of fuel?

A: Different companies operates different fuel policies. One possibility is that you pay for a tank of fuel up front and can return the van without refilling it.

Other options are that you must return the van with a full tank or with the same amount of fuel it had when you collected it.

Q: Will I get unlimited mileage?

A: Some companies provide unlimited mileage, but some operate daily mileage limits.

It’s important that you ask the company you are hiring the van from as excess mileage payments can be quite high.

Q: What about insurance?

A: Most hire companies provide comprehensive insurance. However, you will still be liable for a substantial insurance excess charge if the vehicle is damaged. This is often more than £500.

To reduce the excess and include additional protection, such as windscreen cover, you must purchase additional insurance. This is often known as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). Another alternative which may be cheaper is to buy van hire excess insurance from a third-party insurance firm (see here for details).

More questions? Try our Van Hire FAQs page or our Guide To Van Jargon.


Budget Van Rental Citans

Budget Car and Van Rental takes 100 Citan vans for UK hire fleet

Car and van rental giant Avis Budget has bought 100 Mercedes-Benz Citan vans to add to the UK fleet operated under the Budget Car and Van Rental brand.

Budget Van Rental Citans

Budget Car and Van Rental has taken delivery of 100 new Mercedes-Benz Citan vans.

Supplied by Dealer S & B Commercials, all are 109 CDI models and powered by smooth and efficient 90 hp engines that deliver outstanding fuel economy of up to 61.4 mpg (combined cycle), as well as low CO2 emissions of 123-130 g/km.

Avis Budget has opted for the long-bodied version of the Citan, which offers a cargo volume of 3.1m³ together with intelligent load-securing rings for tensioning straps on the load compartment floor to protect the cargo.

Budget Car and Van Rental UK has over 50 years’ experience of providing rental services to value-conscious customers. It is emphasising its “National network – local relationships” offering, with the Citans now available from over 80 locations nationwide on flexible, cost-effective terms, including short- to long-term hires, and numerous options to bespoke the specification so they are fit for purpose.

Alan Olivier-Smith, Head of Commercial Vehicles at Avis Budget Group, stressed the importance of the Mercedes-Benz image:

“Budget is about providing our customers with exceptional value, without compromising style, comfort or safety. The Citan and the Mercedes-Benz brand offer exactly that.

“We have seen a very broad appeal for our van rental service, from small business owners requiring a temporary addition to their existing fleet, to private consumers looking for a convenient and cost-effective option for moving home.

You can find out more about Budget’s van hire service at

Thrifty van rental Stirchley branch

Thrifty Car and Van Rental opens new branch in Stirchley, Birmingham

Thrifty van rental Stirchley branchThrifty Car and Van Rental has opened a branch in Stirchley, which is a few miles south of Birmingham in the West Midlands.

The Stirchley branch offers a full range of car and van hire and is located on Fordhouse Lane (A4040) in Stirchley. Adnan Mohammed, Stirchley’s new branch manager, said:

“Since opening our doors, we have been very busy and have enjoyed a high turnover of rentals on both the leisure and commercial side. We have a very experienced team here at Worcester, so customers can expect a knowledgeable and friendly service with every rental.”

Steve Sandford, director of regional operations for Thrifty Car and Van Rental, added:

“Our network continues to grow from strength to strength and we’re delighted to open our latest branch in Stirchley. Whether you need vehicles for work or pleasure please give our Stirchley location a call or visit our website and we can help you choose the best car or van for you.”

The new Thrifty branch is located at 163 Fordhouse Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham, B30 3AG. Thrifty Car and Van Rental operates nationwide and currently has 96 branches within the UK.

BVRLA RISC system screenshot

New BVRLA system could help blacklist troublesome van rental customers

BVRLA RISC system screenshot

The BVRLA’s RISC system can be accessed by all BVRLA members and flags up problematic renters.

Rental customers who cause problems for van hire companies could find themselves blacklisted by rental firms across the UK, thanks to a new system.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), which is the trade body for UK vehicle rental companies, has released a new version of its risk management software, RISC.

This enables BVRLA member companies, including the majority of UK van rental firms, to search for information about new renters and to record and share problems with existing customers.

For example, the names and details of customers who provide fake ID, such as fictional utility bills, or who cause damage to vehicles may be added to the RISC system.

The BVRLA says that the most common reasons for a rental firm to log a report on RISC are non-conformance with terms and conditions, lack of payment, damaging the vehicle and abusive behaviour towards staff.

Commenting on the revised RISC platform, BVRLA Director of Member Services Nora Leggett said:

“RISC is now an even more powerful loss prevention tool for our members. Opportunistic fraudsters and high-risk customers have become adept at sharing information to exploit vulnerable businesses. The collaborative environment of RISC will harness the power of the BVRLA community and help safeguard valuable assets.”

Other features include a heat map of the UK, showing members where risk activity is being reported in real time.

The BVRLA can also monitor incidents to issue general alerts on problems that may be spiking, such as identity fraud or large numbers of renters showing up with authentic-looking utility statements from bogus websites.

DVLA licence check code now valid for 21 days — good news

View your driving licence infoThe DVLA has extended the validity period of the check code generated for motorists to share their driving licence details – making it easier for customers to arrive prepared for their van rental pick-up.

The one-use code is now active for 21 days, unlike the previous validity of 72 hours, which meant that motorists had to visit the View Driving Licence website and generate a code less than three days before they intended to hire a car.

“We’re pleased that the DVLA has listened to industry feedback that the code lifespan was too short,” said Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

“This common sense approach will reduce queues at rental desks and give millions of renters more time to plan and arrive prepared ahead of their journey.”

On 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence was abolished.

Motorists can now view up-to-date driving licence information using the DVLA’s View Driving Licence website, which includes a Share My Licence service. This generates a code enabling hire companies and other third-parties to check for any endorsements.

To see our step-by-step illustrated guide to generating a licence check code, click here.

This service is free to use but drivers will need their National Insurance number and driving licence details to generate a code.

Drivers with old-style paper licences (issued until 1998) can continue to use these licences but should note that they will not be updated with penalty points or details of convictions.

Van hire customers beware: Driving licence changes from 8 June

View your driving licence info

Click on the image for more details on how to get a driving licence check code before hiring a car or van.

Starting from today (8 June 2015), the paper part of the UK driving licence has been scrapped.

One of the first groups of people to be affected are van and car hire customers, who will now need to provide online access to their driving histories when they collect hire cars.

The reason for this is that your driving licence photocard, which remains valid, does not contain any information about licence endorsements or convictions.

From now on, when hiring a vehicle you will need to provide your photocard and an online check code to enable the hire company to access your licence details on the (DVLA) website.

This is available through a new ‘View your driving licence information’ service.

We’d also suggest printing out the licence information report from the website when you generate your check code, in case your hire company is unable to check the information online.

To generate a licence check, you’ll need your driving licence and your National Insurance number:

>> Click here for the driving licence check service <<

This is FREE but the check code is only valid for 72 hours, so needs to be generated within three days of your car hire pick-up date.

To help you get started, I’ve produced an illustrated guide to generating a driving licence check code, here.

I’ve also written more extensively about the new rules, here.

How to get a UK driving licence check code for hiring a car or van (illustrated guide)

On 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the UK driving licence is being scrapped, and will no longer be accepted by vehicle hire companies in the UK or abroad.

This is being known as the paperless licence change — your licence will now be made up of your Photocard and the DVLA’s online records of your entitlements and convictions.

As the Photocard doesn’t carry details of penalty points, hire companies will have to carry out an online check on every driver to see if their licence is valid when they pick-up a hire vehicle. This will require a driving licence check code.

Hire companies are advising all drivers to obtain a driving licence check code from the DVLA using a new online service.

I thought I’d give it a try to see how well the new system works. The answer, happily, is that it’s quick and simple, assuming you have internet access.

You will need your driving licence number and your National Insurance number to get a licence check code.

How to get your driving licence check code

Here’s an illustrated guide showing how to get the code you will need for a hire vehicle licence check from 8 June 2015:

(please note these images were taken on 19 May 2015 — the actual pages may change as the system develops)

1. Start here:

View your driving licence info

Click the View now button to continue.

2. You’ll then be asked to enter your driving licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode on your driving licence into a short form:

Enter licence and NI details

That’s it!

3. You’re then shown a page with several tabs, on which you can view your licence details, your current penalty points and disqualification history, and a complete list of vehicles your are entitled to drive.

Click on each tab to see the information:

View your full driving licence info

4. However, the fourth option (right-hand side) is the one you will need for hiring a vehicle: Share your licence information

How to get driving licence check code

Click on the Create a code  button to create a licence check code to use when hiring a vehicle.


  • These codes are only valid for 72 hours (3 days) 
  • You will still need your driving licence photocard when you collect your hire vehicle

Here’s what you get:

Example of a UK driving licence check code

5. I’d suggest you use the ‘View, print or save your licence information‘ link to print out full details of the check. This opens up in a new window as a PDF file (Acrobat Reader file).

You can then print this out and show it to the hire company, who can choose whether to go online and use the check code or accept your print out.

Who needs to do this?

If you are planning on hiring a vehicle using a UK driving licence after 8 June 2015, you need to do this. This applies whether you are hiring in the UK or abroad and for all types of vehicle.

All hire companies will ask for this information unless they already have a computerised alternative system in place (most don’t, yet).

Will Your Audi Automatically Open Up For Parcels When You’re Out?

Audi connect easy delivery service with DHL & Amazon Prime

Would you trust your Audi to unlock itself and accept parcels for you?

Missing parcel deliveries can be a major pain in the neck: long trips to the nearest depot, failed redeliveries — or worst of all, parcels that have been left somewhere ‘safe’, but somehow get damaged or disappear.

Audi, DHL and Amazon Prime have come up with a solution, which will allow you to specify the boot of your Audi as a delivery destination.

The delivery driver will be provided with a one-time access code that will be available for a fixed period of time, allowing them to unlock the boot without a key, before closing and locking it again with your parcel inside.

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that this sounds too far-fetched — or too damn risky — to be attractive, but the reality is that cars are becoming increasingly connected, and services like this could become commonplace.

Starting in May, this service is going to be trialled in Munich, Germany. If it goes well, I’d expect it to expand — although in reality this may simply be one of those experimental services that provides data for future ideas but doesn’t take off in itself.

After all, let’s face it: modern cars are now computers with an engine and wheels. In a world where self-driving cars are already technically possible, having your boot unlock itself for a couple of minutes doesn’t seem that far-fetched, does it?