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10 Point Check List for Booking Car Hire Abroad

We want to make booking a hire car a straight forward and trouble free process.

We have attempted to gather together as much information as possible to answer all your questions and some points you may not have thought of.

Even if you have hired cars in the past, our check list below may help you to avoid any unnecessary problems and save you some money.

Generally, the main consideration when hiring a car is cost.  Everyone wants to find a bargain. A little research before you book can save you a lot of money and headache.

We have compiled together a 10 Point Check List when booking a Car Hire Abroad.

10 Point Check List
1. Book Ahead. You will save money booking ahead of time.
You will save money booking ahead of time.

If you want to get the best Car Hire offers you need to book in advance.

The best deals for hiring a car and saving money even at busy times like school holidays can be found if you book in advance. You can still get great savings booking in advance during the peak season.

By booking in advance also ensures there is more car availability to book the car of your choice. At peak times there will be limited choice of cars available. Larger family cars may not be available during school holidays.

By making arrangements to book your hire car in advance you also have time to check the car hire company’s Terms & Conditions. Compare car hire prices on different dates.

If you have not already made your travel arrangements can you fly a day earlier or a day later? Can you collect your hire car on a different date? Great savings can be found by changing your pick up and drop off dates by just a day.

2. Car Type. Decide What Type of Car Best Suits Your Requirements.

Decide what type of car best suits your requirements.

When hiring your car it is easy to get carried away thinking of the open road, driving in a soft top car with the roof down.

The type of car you choose to hire can make a great difference to the end price you pay. Think before you book your car which car best suits your requirements.

Cars are grouped together in Classes and the type of Class you choose will depend on the price you pay. It is not always the case that the larger the vehicle the more you will pay. It is a case of availability and demand. Sometimes larger estate cars can work out cheaper than compact cars due to demand.

Vary your search requirements and see which deal works best for you.

Hire Car Classes

Mini:  Accommodates 4 passengers, 3 doors, 1 large cases

Economy:  Accommodates 5 passengers, 3 doors, 2 large cases

Compact:  Accommodates 5 passengers, 4 doors, 3 large cases

Minivan:  Accommodates 5 passengers, 5 doors, 4 large cases

SUV:  Accommodates 5 passengers, 5 doors, 3 large cases

Estate:  Accommodates 5 passengers, 5 doors, 6 large cases

3. Fuel Policy. Check the Car Hire Company's Fuel Policy

Check the car hire company’s fuel policy.

The various car hire companies have different Fuel Policies which can be very confusing and you may wonder which policy is the best.

Having to pay up front for a full tank of fuel when you arrive at the airport can be a shock if you are not expecting it. It is important therefore to read your car hire company’s policy regarding fuel before you book with them.

Full to Empty Policy
  • This means you will collect your hire car with a full tank of petrol.
  • You will be charged for this petrol when you collect your hire car. The cost of fuel you will be charged for will be at a higher rate than you would expect to pay at a local petrol station.  You will then return the hire car with an empty tank of fuel.
  • If you will be using the hire car just for short runs and to get you to and from your accommodation and do not anticipate using all the fuel in the tank,this policy may not be the best policy for you.
  • You may be refunded for the unused fuel by the car hire company, however they will charge you an administration charge for this.
  • All the car hire offers on our site clearly state the car hire company’s Fuel Policy, so you can easily see which Policy best suits your requirements.  You can also filter your search on our website by choosing which Fuel Policy you prefer.
Full to Full Fuel Policy
  • Your hire car is supplied with a full tank of fuel and you return it with a full tank of fuel.
  • As with all the Fuel Policies where your hire vehicle already has fuel in it, the rate you will be charged for the fuel will be higher than the rate at the garage.
  • Sometimes the tank may not be completely full but you simply return the car with the same amount of fuel as you collected it with.
  • Ensure you inform the car hire company before you drive away if you have paid for a full tank of fuel and there is not a full tank in the car when you collect it.
  • You will still need to leave a deposit with the car hire company to cover the cost of any re-fueling if you have not re-fueled before you return the hire car.
  • Your deposit will be refunded when you return the car if the car does not require any fuel.
Pre Purchase Fuel Policy
  • Your hire car is supplied with fuel in the tank and you will be charged for this when you collect your hire car.
  • You have already paid for this fuel and you simply use as much as you want and do not need to re-fill before returning the hire car.
  • If you do not use all the fuel you may be offered a refund but generally with this policy you will not be offered any refund.  If they do offer a refund you will be charged an administration fee.
  • The Pre Purchase Fuel Policy is a good choice if you know you will use all the fuel.
Pre Purchase (Partial Refund) Policy
  • With this Policy the hire car will be supplied with a full tank of fuel.  You will be charged for this fuel when you collect your hire car.
  • When you return the hire car any unused fuel will be refunded to you.
  • Any refund to be credited to you will be minus an administration fee.
  • This Fuel Policy will probably work out best if you know you will use all the fuel in the tank.  A refund for unused fuel minus the administration fee can work out more expensive.
4. Insurance. Check the Hire Company's Policy Regarding Excess Insurance

Check the hire company’s policy regarding Excess Insurance.

There has been a lot of confusion about Excess Insurance and Collision Damage Waiver and what is and is not included when you hire a car abroad.

When you are looking to hire a car via our website you will clearly see what is included with the different car hire companies. The majority of hire car companies include Collision Damage Waiver.

What is Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)?

It is an insurance cover for any damage or collision which may occur to the vehicle whilst you are hiring it.

Although Collision Damage Waiver Insurance will cover if the vehicle is stolen, damaged, or in an accident, there will be an Excess payment to be made for any claim. This Excess payment is the first part of the claim which will be made against the insurance company. The amount of the Excess payment varies with the different car rental companies.Collision Damage Waiver also may not cover you for any damage to the windscreen, tyres or the under-carriage of the vehicle.

For the above reasons your car rental company will recommend that you take out an Excess Insurance to cover the above possibilities.

Car Hire Excess Insurance

The Excess Insurance which your car rental company will offer can work out very expensive.

However, in order to avoid having to pay for the Excess on any claim against damage or loss of the vehicle we would recommend that you take out an Excess insurance. Punctures to tyres and damage to the under-carriage and cracked windscreens can easily occur and can work out very expensive if you have to pay the Excess.

Your car hire company will strongly recommend that you take out their Excess insurance when you collect your hire car.

You also have the option of choosing Damage Refund Insurance to cover any excess when making your car hire booking online with our website.

It is possible to choose and take out your own car Excess insurance beforehand.

You can buy an annual policy if you travel frequently abroad and hire a car, or alternatively take out a policy for a single trip. Buying your own policy will work out cheaper than the rental company’s policy.

There are various car insurance comparison sites online to check for the best offers. Shop around and check their Terms & Conditions. Make sure before you choose your policy that it includes breakdown recovery. Some policies do not cover this and it can work out very expensive if you have to pay for breakdown recovery.

If you have taken out your own Excess insurance your car rental company may demand that they hold a larger deposit on your credit card. This is to cover against any potential loss or damage to the vehicle. The car rental company will require a credit card to hold this payment. The payment will be refunded to you if the car is returned undamaged.

The majority of companies will not deduct this payment from your card but simply “hold it” in case of a claim. However some car rental companies will actually deduct this payment from your card and then refund it when the car is returned in an un-damaged condition.

Due to fluctuations in currency rates, especially at the present time with the U.K. voting to leave the E.U., you may be credited with a lesser amount than was debited from your account.

If your vehicle is damaged or stolen

If you do have an accident or there is damage to the vehicle or it is stolen, the rental company will take the Excess payment which they are holding against your credit card.

In order to make a claim against your Excess insurance you will need to ask for all the documentation from the car rental company to enable you to make the claim. Once your insurers receive your claim they will credit you with the amount of the Excess payment.

5. Age. Is there a minimum or maximum age requirement to hire a vehicle?

Is there a minimum or maximum age limit imposed by the hire company?

Minimum Age:

  • As a general rule the minimum age requirement to hire a car is 25 years of age.
  • Drivers under the age of 25 are able to hire a car but will be charged an extra fee per day to hire the car. There is usually a maximum total fee that you will need to pay as an extra payment.
  • If you are under 25 years of age the car hire company will require the driver to have held a full driving licence for a minimum of 12 months. Some car hire companies requiring a full driving licence to have been held for 24 months.
  • Any driver surcharge fee will be paid for when you collect your hire car from the counter of the car rental company.
  • Check before your book your chosen car rental company’s Terms & Conditions.
  • Click on the link on “Terms & Conditions” on our website and then “Driver’s Age” to see what their requirements are.

Maximum Age:

  • As a general rule, the maximum age to hire a car is 99 years of age.
  • If you are over 75 years of age, as with a young driver, you will be charged an extra fee per day to hire the car.
  • Some car hire companies extend this age restriction to 80 years of age.
  • There will be a maximum total fee that you will need to pay.
  • Each car hire company varies in their maximum age and you will need to check their “Terms & Conditions” before you hire.
  • Any driver surcharge will be paid for at the counter when you collect your hire car.
6. Charges. What is the Supplemental Charge for an extra driver?

What is the supplemental charge for an extra driver etc?

  • Your car hire booking will only include one named driver.
  • If you want an extra driver to be added, your car rental company will charge you for this.
  • Depending on which company you book your hire car with will depend on the amount which you will be charged.
  • Charges for adding an additional driver vary but in general start from approximately 7 Euros a day upwards.
  • There is usually a maximum amount to pay in total.
  • Check your car hire company’s Terms & Conditions for their specific charges for adding an extra driver before confirming your booking.
7. Extras. What extras do you require e.g. child car seat etc?
What extras do you require e.g. child car seat etc?
  • The price of any extras which you require will vary depending on what you require and which company you book your car hire with.
  • Extras include; baby seat, child car seats, booster seats, GPS (Satellite Navigation System), ski rack and snow chains.
  • Booking the above added extras depend on availability so we would recommend booking in advance.
  • All of the above can be added to your booking at the time of making your reservation.
  • Although you will select your choice of added extras when making your booking, you will pay for these when you collect your car from the car hire desk.
8. Payment. What form of payment will the car hire company accept?
What form of payment will the car hire company accept?
  • Car hire companies will only accept payment in the form of a credit card and not a debit card.
  • All major credit cards are generally accepted but check with your selected car hire company which credit cards they will accept.
  • The credit card must be in the name of the named lead driver.
  • The credit card will need to have sufficient credit limit to cover your booking, extras and any excess payment which needs to be held.
  • If your credit card does not have sufficient funds to cover all of the above, the car hire company may refuse to release the hire car.
9. Documentation.
Documentation
  • Make sure you have a current valid driving licence.
  • If you hold a Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland driving licence these are both valid in all EU countries including Spain and the Canary Islands.
  • Your car rental company will require sight of the leading driver’s full driving licence.
  • You will need to have held a full licence for a minimum of 12 months.
  • There should be no major endorsements on the licence.
  • You will need to present a photocard licence.
10. Condition. Check the condition of the car before you drive away.
Condition.
  • Check the condition of the car before you drive away.
  • When you collect your hire car you need to make a thorough inspection of the car before you drive away.
  • Ensure any marks, dents or scratches are brought to the hire company’s attention.
  • Make sure the car rental company make a note of these on the rental agreement.
  • It can be a good idea to take a photograph of any marks etc which are on the car when you collect it.
  • Check that the hire car has the necessary breakdown equipment in the boot of the car.
  • The following items are required by law in Spain, high visibility jackets, 2 x warning triangles, car rental agreement and breakdown recovery documentation.

 

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