Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is it to drive in Scotland?

We don’t think it’s difficult at all!  However, we do appreciate that if you drive on the right and have never encountered a single track road or a roundabout, you might find the thought a bit daunting.

Instead of writing lots of reassuring words about how you will be fine and will get used to it quickly, we came across this lovely wee video which gives you lots of tips.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

We do not have a cancellation policy. You pay for your vehicle when you arrive to pick it up and can cancel at any time before that, at no charge.

We feel that it is punishment enough if you have to cancel your vacation to our beautiful country, without being charged for a vehicle you do not use or need.

We would appreciate it however, if you can give us as much warning as possible.

What happens if I get a parking, or speeding ticket, or a bus lane infringement penalty?

If you get a parking ticket, it will normally be put on your windshield and you should be able to pay it straight away.  If this is paid straight away, they usually cut the price by half.

If the parking ticket is not paid straight away, the local authority who issue the ticket will send a copy to the rental company, who will charge the credit card used to pay for the rental.

If you incur a speeding fine or bus lane infringement penalty, they will send the notification to the rental company, who will charge the credit card.

If such a payment is taken, the rental company should send you a copy of the ticket or charge notice.

When you sign the car rental agreement, on picking up the car, one clause on the agreement is an authorisation to the rental company to charge for any penalties incurred.  The rental company will add £30 administration charge to the cost of paying the penalty charge.

If you are charged for something after your rental and you do NOT receive a copy of the charge notice, please contact us and we will investigate and get a copy of any charge notice for you.

There are a number of bus lanes in both Glasgow and Edinburgh where customers are regularly caught out.  The one that causes most people problems is in Nelson Mandela Place in Glasgow – avoid this at all costs.
Can I sleep in the rental car?
You are not allowed to sleep in your car, except in an emergency.

If you use your car for sleeping, the insurance will be void.

Driving a car without insurance is against the law and if you have an accident, you will be liable for the full value of the car and any amount over this, which the accident incurs.

Please do NOT  sleep in your car!

Cars are not ventilated suitably for sleeping in them and such practice could be extremely dangerous!

Can I get a left hand drive car?

We only have right hand drive cars and we are not aware of any company in the UK which rents out left hand drive cars.

Are there any toll roads or bridges in Scotland, England or Wales?

There are no toll roads or bridges in Scotland.

If you are in England and Wales there is a single major road, the M6 Toll. There are also a small number of bridges and tunnels where tolls are collected.

Should I get a GPS/Satnav?

Road signs and directions are good almost everywhere in Scotland.  Good maps and road atlases are available in most garages and book shops quite cheaply.

However, if you are looking for a hotel or an address, especially in a city, GPS can be invaluable.  Some city centre maps will appear in road atlases, but they won’t show hotels or sites and attractions. That’s when the GPS can be a great help.

We do not charge for GPS they are free with every booking.  Some rental companies can charge up to GBP20 a day!

Most cars will come with a built in GPS otherwise a free standalone GPS will be supplied.

Do you provide Dashcams?

Yes, a Dashcam can be provided for £5 for the duration of your rental. At the end of the rental you can buy the SD card from the Dashcam for an additional £5.

These are primarily a security device. They record continuously through the front windscreen of the car and if you are unfortunately involved in an accident, they stop recording (so they do not get recorded over). This accident footage can provide proof of who is responsible in an accident.

The micro SD cards in the dash cam can usually record over 2 hours of footage. When the card is full, it will start recording over the previous footage.

Some clients use the dashcams to record scenes of their trip. If you are doing this, it is important to download footage regularly, before it is recorded over.

Further information about the Dashcam’s provided can be found here.

How do I keep the cost of my car rental down?

There are a number of things you can do to keep the cost down when renting from us.

1. If you are picking up a car and/or dropping it off at an Airport try to keep your pick up and drop off times within branch opening hours. Particularly the pick up.

2. In July and August it can cost more to pick up a car at Edinburgh and Inverness Airports.   So, if you are planning a few days in the City, make it before you head of on your road trip and pick up the car in the City before you set off.

3. Avoid one-way rentals. The cost is not huge but there is a charge unless the pick up and drop off are in the same City. For example an Edinburgh Airport pick up and Edinburgh City drop off would not be considered a one-way rental.

4. Manual cars are generally cheaper than Automatics so, if you can drive Manual, they are much better value for money.

5. If you are spending a few days in Edinburgh or Glasgow, you won’t need a car, and unless your accommodation has parking, it will be a liability.

6. We allow a free one hour overlap so you can pick up your car at 08:00 and drop it off at 09:00, for example, and not pay for an extra day.

What’s included in the rental price?

Unlimited Mileage on all rentals with no distance restrictions

Value Added Tax (VAT) @ 20%

Insurance Cover (view details here)

Roadside Recovery


Will my age impact on whether I can rent a car?

Drivers aged 21 and 22 years are subject to a £25 per day additional charge and can rent cars in Group 2. Excess cannot be waived and you must have held your licence for a minimum of 4 years.

Drivers aged 23 and 24 years are subject to a £25 per day additional charge and can rent cars in Groups 2, 4, 4A, 4MP and 4MA. Excess can be waived and you must have held your licence for a minimum of 12 months.

Drivers aged 25 to 79 years can rent all vehicles. Excess can be waived.

Drivers aged 80+ can rent cars in Groups 2, 4 and 4A. Medical proof of fitness to drive will be required in the form of a doctors letter dated within 6 weeks of the hire. Excess cannot be waived.

These limitations are the requirements of the insurers and there is no discretion.

Can we choose whether our vehicle will be petrol or diesel?
The fleet consists of over 9,000 vehicles.  With some car groups, we are able to say with some certainty that it is petrol or diesel, but others are not so easy.  Group 9 minivans will be diesel.  Usually group 6 4×4 SUVs will be diesel and groups 1, 2 and 3 will be unleaded petrol.  In between, they can be either.  If you have a preference, ask us. The rental branch staff will ALWAYS try their best to provide what you ask for, but sometimes, it just is not possible.  Did I mention there are 9,000 vehicles??  Spread across 40 rental branches, it makes it difficult to always supply the one or the other.
Which is the best month to travel to Scotland?

Scotland has something to offer all year round, the massed ranks of Rhododendrons in the spring, the snow covered hills and mountains in winter and the beautiful scenery at any time!

It’s usually busiest in July, August and September when the weather should be better but the accommodation may be slightly more expensive and schools in the UK are on vacation. If you decide to come then, it’s best to make arrangements well in advance to get your first choice of where to stay. Actually, that’s not bad advice at any time.

Spring is beautiful and May and June are quiet months of long days and often very good weather. The autumn (fall) is a season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ (yes we did steal that line but it is true, so…).

How do I get to Scotland?

If you are coming from America, you ether take an expensive cruise or you fly.  United and Delta fly direct into Edinburgh and Delta also fly into Glasgow.  Icelandair fly via Reykjavik, with free stopovers to tour beautiful Iceland. Aer Lingus fly via Dublin and you can fly through most major European cities – Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt and of course, London.  Heathrow is such a big place, that it can be no fun to come through there, so you may get more enjoyable journeys and better deals, through other cities.  However, a lot of airlines use London as the hub for the UK, from all over the world.

If you are coming from Europe, you can fly direct to Edinburgh and Glasgow from most European countries.  Prestwick has flights from several European countries and Inverness and Aberdeen Airports now get flights from 15 European Countries, between them.

Emirates now fly into Edinburgh and Glasgow and Turkish and Qatar both fly into Edinburgh, so you can fly from anywhere in Australasia, Asia or Africa, via Doha, Dubai and Istanbul.

Check pricing carefully.  It is often quite a bit less expensive to fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow, than to the other smaller airports in Scotland.

How difficult is it to drive on single track roads?

It’s pretty straightforward really. A single track road is wide enough for one vehicle including buses and trucks. Passing places allow vehicles to pass each other – this wee video gives some really good advice.

Do I have to buy haggis and a kilt before I leave?

No, surprisingly, you won’t see many Scots wearing haggis or eating their kilts (oops), sorry, eating haggis and wearing their kilts. Kilts are kept for more formal occasions like weddings. While people do eat haggis quite regularly nobody likes to admit it.

What is haggis?

The haggis is a small, very round, three legged bird which lives in the Highlands of Scotland. They generally live on the sides of the mountains and because of this have 2 legs longer than the other to prevent them falling down the hills. This means they can only run one way, so they are very easy to catch. All you need to do is force them to turn round and with the long legs uphill and the short one downhill, it quickly falls down the hill and into your waiting net. Simple. It is so easy to catch haggis that they have become quite rare and many people now eat vegetarian haggis which tastes just as good without the unnecessary slaughter :o)

Is a deposit required?

There are no deposits for cars in Group’s One to Nine.

For cars in Group’s Ten and Eleven there is a £500 security deposit.

When and how do I pay for my car?

You pay for your car when you pick it up from the rental branch. No payment or deposit is required in advance. (*)

The best method of payment is by credit card.

We DO NOT accept cash, prepaid cards or MAESTRO debit cards.

We do accept some other Debit Cards but these must have a 16 digit card number, an expiry date, a 3 digit Security Code and your name printed on the card.

If in doubt let us know what kind of card you have and we can let you know.

The card holder must be present when the car is picked up.

If you have a Debit Card you may find the best option is to book and pay, in advance, online. That way you know right away if your Debit Card is accepted. You can do this via this link to Arnold Clark.

(*) Payment is only taken in advance when you will be picking up the car after closing time (this must be pre-arranged)

Is there sales tax on my purchases and can I claim it back?

There is something called Value Added Tax (VAT) on many items you will buy and as a non British citizen, you can claim much of this back when you leave the country. Check with the Customs authority when you arrive and they’ll give you details. The most important thing is to obtain receipts for everything you buy. VAT is at 20% now so it is definitely worth having back!

Unfortunately car rental is considered as a service and you can only claim back the VAT on goods, not services.
Is there a fuel policy?

We supply the car FULL of fuel – for no charge. You return it FULL at the end of the rental and there is no charge.

If you return it needing refuelled, you will be charged for the pump price plus a 10% surcharge for the staff having to take the car to be filled.

How safe is Scotland for visitors?

Scotland, we are glad to say, is one of the safest countries in the world to visit.

People are generally friendly, helpful and welcoming and public transport is clean, safe to use and usually, almost on time! Although there are broad areas of the country (The North, North West and West Coast and many of the islands), where there is very little public transport and services may be confined to one or two buses a day.

Police Scotland have issued guidelines to help make the most of your visit to Scotland and ensure all goes well.  This includes warnings to beware of bogus accommodation providers and advice on how to avoid them. As well as planning your journey ahead so you do not spend half your time looking for accommodation and paying far more than if you had booked it in advance.  The Police Scotland web page with their advice is really helpful!

Police Scotland

One thing Police Scotland make very clear –

It is illegal to carry weapons of any kind in Scotland.  Even the few people licenced to own guns, have to obey strict guidelines for their safe storage and use. Their use is restricted to certain forms of hunting and target shooting.  As a result very, very few people in Scotland own guns!

This is a major reason why Scotland is such a safe destination to visit

Do I need travel insurance?

As you do not NORMALLY pay for the car until you arrive you will not NORMALLY (*) need insurance to cover the cost if you HAVE to cancel your trip. However, it is absolutely essential that you have travel insurance to cover any other costs that may be incurred in the unlikely event that your trip is cancelled. Travel insurance would also cover you if your flight was delayed and this impacted on your ongoing travel or accommodation arrangements.

In the unlikely event that medical repatriation was needed, the costs can be high – US$150,000 upwards for medical repatriation from Europe to the USA. For more information on what this means and what is involved, read this (we do not recommend any particular company for cover, just this article to see what is involved) –

(*) Payment is only taken in advance when you will be picking up the car after closing time (this must be pre-arranged)

What is ‘excess’?

This is the question we are asked most often.

Put simply, if you hire a car and it is damaged or stolen, the ‘Excess’ (sometimes called the ‘Deductible’ or ‘Franchise’) is the maximum amount of money you have to pay the rental company, to cover the damage or loss.

Car hire excess waiver is an optional payment, which protects you against any excess charges you may incur, should your hire car be damaged or stolen.

Other terms commonly used to describe car hire excess include deductible, franchise and Super CDW.

When you hire a car, the vehicle comes with standard car hire insurance included (referred to as the collision damage waiver, CDW, or loss damage waiver).  As is the case with most personal motor insurance policies, it’s likely that you will still be liable to pay an excess, before the rental company cover the rest of the cost of any accident or damage. This means that you are liable to pay the ‘excess’ if anything happens to the hire car, regardless of whether it was your fault or not, unless you have bought the Excess Waiver.

Are there any dangerous animals or creepy crawlies in Scotland?

Not really. There are wild cats in the northern Highlands but these are very rare and very rarely seen. These are slightly larger than a domestic cat. You may also see foxes or more rarely badgers but these will keep well out of your way and are nothing to worry about.

There is only one poisonous snake, the Adder which can be found up in the hills.

It wants to meet you even less than you want to meet it so, it’s liable to be well out of the way by the time you blunder along. If you should encounter one don’t try to stroke it! Their bite rarely kills but if you are unwell or have any previous medical problems it can be serious. They have a clear ‘V’ on the back of their heads.

That’s it, no creepy spiders, no horrific insects, although the tiny midge and the quite large cleg or horse fly can make you itch in the summer months.

Should I return the hire car with a full tank?

Yes, you should return the car with a full tank. Please also ensure when you pick up your rental car that the tank is full.

What if my hire car breaks down?

The car hire fleet is generally replaced within 3-6 months, so it is extremely unlikely any vehicle will breakdown, but in case of any problems, roadside recovery cover is included in your rental costs and full contact details will be provided in your rental folder.

Can I take the rental car on a ferry?

Yes you can take your rental car on a ferry to any of the Scottish islands. There is no extra cost.

When you book your ferry you might be asked for the make of car and registration number.

As you won’t have that information, just tell them it is a RENTAL. The important information they want, is the height and the length of the vehicle. All the vehicles are less than 5 metres long and 2 metres high. Except the group nine vans, which are approximately 5.25 metres long and 2 metres high.

Can you supply wheelchair accessible car rentals?

We are able to supply wheelchair accessible rental cars via a partner organisation, enabling us to offer a wide range of wheelchair accessible vehicles for hire, from smaller wheelchair cars to larger vans and people carriers. Both manual and automatic options are available.

What driving licence will I need?

It is very important you understand this one.

EU drivers must possess a EU driving licence and either a passport or ID card.

Drivers from outwith the EU must possess a valid domestic driving licence with English translation if necessary. If an English translation is not available, an international driving permit is required in addition to a domestic driving licence. A passport must also accompany a domestic driving licence.

The holder of an overseas driving licence may, for a period of up to one year, drive a motor vehicle in Britain.

If you are resident in the UK for more than one year, you must, by law, obtain a UK licence. This should not mean passing a test. Please see You exchange your licence for a UK one, with a payment (usually GBP43) on completion of a form ,which you submit with your licence. This normally takes about 3 weeks.

WARNING During the pandemic, waiting times have increased a great deal, so make sure to apply very early! If you do not have a UK licence, but have been resident in the country 12 months or more, your own non-UK licence is not valid! If you drive with your old licence, your insurance will not be valid and you are driving illegally. If you are 67 or over when you become resident, you can drive for 3 years without changing your licence.

If in any doubt please ask and we can advise.

Automatic or Manual transmission?

Visitors from countries where you drive on the right might like to consider automatic transmission, on the basis that it’s one less thing to think of. “Bad enough driving on the wrong side, without changing gears with the wrong hand too!” Our experience tells us it really takes very little time to become used to the change, but if you feel it’s going to make things harder, we have a range of automatic vehicles. The roads in most of Scotland are not as busy as many countries, so driving is generally more relaxing here.

What are the speed limits on the roads in Scotland?

In urban areas, the speed limit is generally 20 or 30 miles per hour (mph), which sometimes goes up to 40 mph on dual carriageways (these are four lane roads with 2 lanes going in each direction). On roads outside town, the speed limit rises to 60 mph on normal roads and 70 mph on dual carriageways or motorways.

Is it difficult to drive on the left?

Not really. It’s all about paying attention to what you’re doing. We recommend you stick a little arrow on the windscreen of your car, pointing to the left. With this always in view, it’s hard to forget which side you’re on. In the rural Northern areas and on many of the islands, the roads are single track with passing places, so there is no right or left. That makes it pretty easy. Scottish drivers are generally very courteous and tolerant and will often give way to other traffic. If you hire an automatic, you’ll have one less thing to think about.

What if I should have an accident?

In the unfortunate, and hopefully unlikely event you should be involved in an accident while driving your hire car, you will have been given full instructions to follow and contact telephone numbers to use to obtain support.

What will the weather be like?

This is the difficult question! I think we can safely say it’s changeable and suggest for more information you take a look at the UK Met Office site which gives pretty comprehensive information about the weather throughout the UK. In our experience May and June are the best months but you can never be sure.

What kind of clothes should I bring on my trip?

Whatever season you visit the trick is to wear layers of lighter clothing, rather than a couple of heavy items. It’s easy to take off and put on layers as the weather demands. A light weight, wind and water proof top is probably a very good idea, too, at any time of year. For that cozy in the middle of winter feeling bring along your favourite fleece and woolly hat.

Can I use my own country’s disabled permit in Scotland or England?

The UK Department of Transport advises that people with disabled parking permits from countries outside the UK, should bring their disabled parking permit with them, when travelling to the UK and check with the local authority in the areas they intend to visit, to find out if their permit will be recognised. The following link will help in finding the relevant councils:

Can I take my dog in a rental car?

Yes, dogs are allowed in cars. You can order covers to protect the seats but these must be requested at booking stage. If the dog damages the inside of the car or, any special internal cleaning needs to be done, the insurance will not cover this and a reasonable charge will be made.

If the car is returned back in normal condition then there would be no valet charge. However, if there was a lot of hair to be cleaned up and it would take a lot longer, then a valet charge would be applied.

Depending on how much hair there was this would cost anything between £30 – £100.

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