Of late, the newspapers have been full of horror stories about car hire companies fleecing their clients for hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds, seemingly for no reason whatsoever.

But here is one key thing that you can – and should do – the next time you hire a car.

Take out separate insurance with one of the internet-based companies that offers full cover for collision damage and local excess fees, then all your hire car heartache will go away.

Stay with me on this one because, although it might sound like an advert for the insurance industry, it’s not. And the best part is, it could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.

I use Protectyourbubble.com, but there are lots of other companies that offer virtually identical cover. You can buy cover for individual events or for a year.

Twelve months in Europe costs me £42.48 and covers me for £5000 of excess, £5000 of windscreen and tyres, £10,000 of personal accident and so on – but it’s the zero excess, the tyres and the windscreen cover that’s crucial because this is where the hire companies try and, more often than not, succeed in taking your money.