The abolition of the paper counterpart to the UK driving licence is threatening to cause travel headaches for holidaymakers planning on hiring a car abroad during their holidays – but there are solutions to hand.
From 8th June 2015, only the photocard licence will be valid in the DVLA’s shake-up of driving licences, which will mean all points and endorsements will now be recorded centrally on a computer database. Police, insurance companies and car rental agencies in the UK will be able to access driver data via an online service, by telephone or by post.
However, concerns exist that vehicle rental companies in foreign locations such as airports and hotels, which are extremely popular with British holidaymakers, are unaware of the changes and will still require customers to produce their paper counterparts before releasing hire cars.
Important steps to take before leaving the UK
If you plan on renting a hire car during your holiday abroad, there are some important steps you should take before departing for the airport:
• Log onto the DVLA website (www.dvla.gov.uk) with your driving licence number to obtain a code which you should give to the car rental agency when you arrive to collect your vehicle. However, this code is only valid for 72 hours, which is fine if you are scheduled to collect your hire car on your arrival at the airport or hotel.
• If you aren’t collecting your car until later in your holiday, you’ll need to log onto the DVLA website while abroad to obtain your code. Watch out for roaming charges: use an internet café, if available, or check with your mobile phone provider if a bundle can be added to your account so that you can browse the internet at a competitive rate.
• Retain your paper counterpart and take it with you on holiday, even though it has no validity in the UK. If the car rental agency insists on seeing it, you can produce it, irrespective of whether it is needed at home.
• Log onto the DVLA website and access your driving licence record, which will summarise any convictions, points or endorsements held against you. Print it out and take it with you abroad, so that you have more evidence of your right to drive if needed.
By taking these simple steps, you can depart for your holiday reassured that you have all the necessary paperwork to be able to rent a car, without worrying whether news of the driving licence changes has filtered through to your destination country.
You might also want to consider Car Hire Excess Waiver Insurance. Get a quote at our sister site CHEW Insurance and get great value cover today.