An update on car hire following the DVLA changes

New rules
The following information is a summary of the DVLA advice site. This information does not apply to people living in Northern Ireland.

Since 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence isn’t valid and is no longer issued by DVLA. The paper counterpart was introduced to display driving licence details that could not be included on the photocard.

A new computer system has now taken over from the paper counterpart, which includes some vehicle categories you are entitled to drive and any endorsement/penalty points.

Since 8 June 2015, new penalty points (endorsements) are only recorded electronically, and won’t be printed or written on either photocard licences or paper driving licences.

If you are hiring a car on holiday, the hire car company will need to see your driving licence. Some companies will also want information on any endorsements/penalty points too.

You should check with the hire company what they need to see when you hire a vehicle. If you’re asked for evidence of what vehicles you can drive or confirmation of any penalty points, you can request a unique code from the government’s website which allows you to share your driving licence details, or you can download a summary of your driving licence record. The code lasts for up to 72 hours and will allow the hire companies to make any necessary checks.

If you cannot generate a code online then you can call 0300 083 0013 and DVLA will provide you with a code.

Alternatively, you can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated hire company. This also applies if you have a paper licence that was issued before 1998.

Not all vehicle hire companies will ask for this information and we advise that you check with your hire company.

Useful links
For full details, see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes
To generate your code, go to: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

Our conclusion and simple advice:
The BBC has reported that some people have had problems using the new system.

Our advice is simple:

1. If you’re hiring a car, then just before you set off on your holiday, generate a code just to be on the safe side in case your car hire firm asks for it. You’ll need your driving licence number, your National Insurance number, and the postcode associated with your driving licence. BE CAREFUL! The code only lasts for 72 hours, so do this as close to when you leave your house as you can.

2. There are lots of pitfalls for the unwary when hiring a car abroad. You can find out more on this below, and at our sister site CHEW Insurance.

Special offer: 10% discount on Car Hire Excess Waiver Insurance
Most car rental companies charge an excess if you have an accident. This means that you will be responsible for the first part of the claim.

The part you are responsible for is called the “excess” and it varies from one car hire company to another. However, it’s usually between £500 and £2,000 depending on the vehicle type you rent – but it can be substantially more on high-value cars.

You can protect yourself against these charges by purchasing an excess waiver, sometimes known as a Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW). Some companies will try to sell you a waiver when you book the hire car, often with hard-sell tactics, but it can cost over £20 a day! It’s better to buy your policy in the UK before you travel: you’ll save money and get more comprehensive cover too.

So if you’re hiring a car when you travel, go to CHEW Insurance and use discount codeJUL15 for a 10% discount.