Beware winter car rental charges and fines

8 January 2014

If you are going skiing this winter make sure you know the rules on snow tyres when renting a car, as you could be hit with a €5,000 (£4,100) fine if you don't.

Winter gear requirements for snow tyres and snow chains differ from country to country.

For example, between 1 November and 15 April driving without winter tyres in Austria could result in the driver facing a €5,000 fine and having the car impounded.

And break the rules and you will be responsible for paying the fine if you break the rules, not the rental company – according to

The online insurer has also warned holidaymakers of rental companies' these so-called 'winterisation' charges, which can be compulsory charges, and usually have to be paid when collecting the car.

Consumers should, on average, pay around £40 to £45 on 'winterisation' charges but some hire firms charge as much as £75, the insurer found.  

It recommends consumers do their research before they book a hire car and shop around to find the best deal.

Ernesto Suarez, founder of, said: "It's frustrating that the rental companies use winter as yet another opportunity to make money from their car hire customers but unfortunately it's your responsibility, and not the rental company's, to make sure that you're driving with the correct equipment for wintery conditions."

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