Long-term hire: a realistic option?

Is it possible to hire one for four or five months for summer trips? Is long-term hire a realistic option?

22 January 2014

"OUR car is aging and is not a motorway cruiser. Is it possible
to hire one for four or five months for summer trips? Firms do not seem to recognise length of hire in the rate per day." C.R.

The problem is that this period falls between the short periods usually associated with “tourist” hire, but is shorter than usual for long-term hire contracts, which are used as an alternative to buying a car (this is usually for around 1-5 years).

However one firm, loueruneauto.fr operating around France, said they can do six month contracts at rates which will be considerably cheaper than daily
tourist ones.

As a general rule with long-term hire, the longer the contract, the lower the prices. This is known is known as location longue durée or leasing.

Loueruneauto managing director Freddy Hirel said with them you keep the same car until the end of the contract, when you may renew and change it, or you have the option of returning it before and signing a new one earlier.

Some firms offer the option of buying the car at a preferential rate after the lease contract ends.

Contracts specify an agreed number of kilometres per year (after which there will be penalties) which also affects the price.

You have to bring back the car in good condition, though Mr Hirel said they allow leeway for wear and tear.

Studies show monthly costs are typically a little cheaper than having your own car.

Benefits include no initial capital cost (though in certain cases firms may ask for a deposit) and expenses are predictable – including car cost, insurance and possibly maintenance (though in some contracts you need to pay to maintain the car yourself).

You do not have the uncertainty of trying to sell it later and the arrangement can allow you to change for a new (or in some contracts a recent second hand) car more regularly.

Check the contract details, for example, is there insurance to cover your payments if the car is stolen or destroyed?

Note also that it may be difficult to cancel before the end of a contract even if your circumstances change.

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