If you intend
doing significant mileage in a hire car in France, a diesel vehicle will be
cheaper to run and, as long as it is not more expensive to hire, will be a
better deal than a petrol one.
One way in which car-hire companies increase their income, but conceal the fact, is by including insurance that leaves you exposed to a hefty excess charge if you damage the car – and then offering expensive 'Top-up' insurance to waive that excess. You can reduce these costs by buying top-up insurance yourself from a specialist insurer (at costs that are much less than the amounts charged by car-hire companies).
Try Insurance4carhire.com; Questor Insurance Services Ltd; Worldwide; and Icarhireinsurance.com.
Changes to the UK Driving License come into force from the 8th June 2015, from that day onwards the paper counterpart to your licence will no longer be valid and no new ones will be issued from that date. This means that henceforth details of fines, penalty points and restrictions will only be held electronically.
You can view your licence at www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.
This change is almost certainly going to affect you if you turn up at French or any other destination to pick up a hire car because you are going to have to make arrangements for the car rental company to be able to access your online driving record by getting a DVLA-issued code.
The code is a “onetime only” pass code number that can only be used once so if this isn’t set up before you get to the hire company desk you may face long delays. Moreover, the code is only valid for 21 days and then lapses so you are probably going to need internet access of some sort if trying to hire a car while already overseas. Beyond the 21 days time limit, you have to start the process again.
It is by no means certain that all car rental firms will accept a printed PDF of anyone’s driver record since you may have driving offences recorded between the date of printing of the pdf, and the date of car hire.
The new system allows you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared. To log into the system you will need to know your National Insurance number and postcode, so it makes sense to take them with you (if you don't know them by heart) in case you need to log in to the DVLA website while abroad. To access your online driver record you need the last eight digits of your driving licence, plus the special pass code.
Apparently you will also be able to call DVLA (on a premium rate number) and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.