Home-owners visiting the Alps should take care when hiring a car

Posted on 11 January 2013

Skiers travelling independently to the French Alps, typically those staying in privately rented accommodation or home-owners visiting their apartment or chalet, should take special care when renting a car from the airport this season, as this year’s heavy snowfall has made driving in and around resorts especially treacherous.

And it’s not only the difficult driving conditions on mountain roads that visitors to the Alps should look out for, but also the unexpected extra costs that can come with renting a car during a winter holiday.

Hidden charges that you might not see at the point of booking a car for a ski strip can include the cost of winter tyres, snow chains – which alone can add around £60 a week – and roof racks for skis or snowboards, as well as the price of excess car insurance. Considering the higher risks that come with driving on icy or snowy mountain roads, skimping on excess insurance is an unwise gamble. Drivers should note that it is they, and not the car hire firm, that are responsible for ensuring the car they are driving meets local regulations.

It’s not unusual for owners of ski homes in the Alps to buy and keep a left-hand drive car at their property or leave it somewhere convenient near the airport until their next trip over. Ski homes typically come with covered or underground parking, to avoid cars becoming buried in snow or freezing over, but always check the situation when choosing a property.