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Car Rental: What Happens in Brexit No Deal?

The UK is set to leave the European Union on 29th March 2019, should it leave without reaching a deal with the EU, the ramifications on travel plans, both booked and yet to be booked are largely unknown at this stage, but terms such as ‘chaos’ and ‘jeopardy’ are often used in the media. We want to cut through the noise and let you know what will happen to your rental car in the event of a no deal Brexit.

car hire brexit no deal

Firstly, there is huge uncertainty around how the Brexit debacle will conclude, there is still the ‘will we / won’t we’ leave question hanging over all of us, possibly another referendum. One thing is for sure, the majorty commentators on either side of the fence agree that a no deal Brexit will be a very bad position, not only for the UK, but also for the EU. As a member of the EU we enjoy frictionless travel across Europe, whilst the UK is an island, so we travel to mainland Europe by air or sea, hard borders (the English channel aside) do not exist. However, should the UK leave without a deal (whatever form that might be), it’s not only the passport control queue that might change. Airlines operating routes within the EU have various agreements and financial arrangements under the EU banner, all of which could be thrown up in the air (excuse the pun) and permits could be removed meaning UK flights simply cannot land at EU airports, or at least under very different terms.

Will I need an international driving license after Brexit?

We don’t know for sure at this stage, however in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s likely that UK citizens will need to present an international driving permit when hiring a car in Europe, much like other non EU citizens. Although, often simply being printed in the roman alphabet is enough to satisfy rental agents.

Will my rental car be available after Brexit?

There is no reason that we are aware of as to why a rental car booking made before (or indeed after) 29th March 2019 would no longer be available. The main concern at this stage is a possible delay / cancellation of flights that could lead to no-shows at the rental desk. The biggest risk to car rental cancellations will be disruption to flights between the UK and Europe.

Hiring a car in Europe after Brexit?

The UK’s largest collective tourist destination; UK citizens will still flock to Europe for their holidays and hiring a car will remain an integral part of that, so nothing should change once the dust settles. However a recent law introduced by the EU that affects hiring cars in Switzerland will affect UK travellers. The EU law introduced in 2016 restricted non EU registered cars being driven within the EU by EU citizens, this affected Brit’s and other nationalities hiring cars in Switzerland and driving into the EU. Car hire at Geneva Airport is a very popular pick up location for many travelling to the French alps and although this affected Brits, when the UK leaves the EU this will no longer apply as Brit’s will no longer be EU citizens.

Whilst there remains much uncertainly around Brexit and car hire, our advice is to continue making travel plans as normal and to monitor updates from your airline regarding any changes to your flights. You can cancel or amend your car rental with no charge up to 48 hours prior to pick up with Rhino by which time your airline should have notified you of any changes to your flight. If you’re considering hiring a car with an airline, we looked at why this might not be the best idea and why whilst convenient, you’re unlikely to get the best deal.

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Chloe Demaret
Posted: October 29, 2018 by Chloe Demaret
About the Author -

Travel writer, social media guru, Chloe keeps our readers and customers up to speed with all the car rental and travel trends on our blog. Favourite destination: Dubai.

Last updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019
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