The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Car Rental: How to Ensure You Aren’t Ripped Off
Are you thinking about purchasing a holiday car rental? If so, you have to read this article to ensure you don’t get ripped off it’s the only way you’ll get the best bang for your buck. Click here for further information!
Going on a holiday sounds fun but booking a holiday car rental often takes that fun away.
Talking to an agent and getting the best price possible is stressful enough, and then run-down cars and hidden charges hit you harder. The last part is such a huge problem that the government is implementing new rules to protect consumers.
However, you have the responsibility of protecting yourself as well.
You can avoid the extra charges, and save money in the process, by being vigilant and prepared. Discover the different ways below to stay ahead of holiday car hire companies and make sure they’re not ripping you off.
Get the Basic Package
Car hire agencies get huge profits off add-ons that come with absurd prices. Before talking to an agent, set your mind on getting only the basic package. Most of the times, it’s all you need.
Don’t give in to pressure when talking to the desk person or to an agent, even when they try to pass off an extra as a necessity.
They may also try to get you to upgrade to a better car, saying that the trunk may be too small for your baggage after all. That may only be a scheme to get you to pay more or it’s because they can’t provide the car you booked.
For the latter reason, a reputable car rental company will upgrade you without an added charge instead.
They may also pressure you into buying an excess car rental insurance, but it’s more expensive if you get it from them.
Buy Your Own Car Hire Excess Insurance
Renting a car usually already includes insurance, but you’ll still have to shell out some money should you get into an accident. Car rental companies often leave you with the first $500 to $1,500 of the bill. That’s why they try to sell you a super collision damage waiver car rental insurance to cover that.
However, you can buy your own car hire excess insurance for much lower than what you would pay for per day at a holiday car rental company. Sometimes, the coverage is even wide.
Some agents will try to still fool you into getting one, though. They might say that your car hire excess insurance is not valid or they might try to sell you other types of car rental insurance.
Review what your insurance covers to avoid buying two of the same thing. Neither the car rental company or the insurance company will refund you.
Bring Your Own GPS and Child Car Seats
Getting the basic package also means foregoing extra charges, such as a GPS and child car seat rentals. A car rental company in Europe, for example, charges ?13 (~$18) a day for the device, which can rack up a huge bill for a week-long trip.
GPS systems covering Europe cost around $70 to $80, less than half of what you’ll pay for 7 days of rental. A major plus is that you can use also use it for future trips.
Besides, Google Maps or other navigation apps on your phone is as good as any. A smartphone is smaller than a satnav as well and the app itself is free.
Child car seats are also a common extra, but why not bring your own instead? Companies in Europe can charge as much as ?80 (~$111), while a low-cost airline like RyanAir may only charge you ?10 (~$14) for the extra baggage. Some airlines won’t even charge you.
The downside is that you’ll be lugging around the child car seat with you starting from home. Some tourists buy it at the destination instead.
Check the Holiday Car Rental Company’s Fuel Policy
Full-to-empty policies are starting to gain ground outside of Spain, where it is particularly prevalent. The idea is to get the car with a full tank, which you pay for at almost double the price, and you return it empty. Holiday car hire companies usually offer this if you’re renting for three or more days.
However, this isn’t as great as they make it sound. According to tourists, it’s hard to use a full tank of fuel, thus, they end up paying more.
Reputable companies also offer a full-to-full fuel policy, so you only pay for what you use. This might increase the basic cost, though. Some recommend getting short rentals instead to avoid having the full-to-empty policy.
Take Photos Before and After the Rental Term
Before even getting in the car, take a photo or a video and note every scratch, dent, and any other damages, no matter how minor. Make sure to check the following areas with an eagle eye:
- Four sides of the car
- Door lock
The door lock scam is relatively new, but it is hitting a lot of renters because of how overlooked it is. Also, check if the following items are present and are in good condition:
- Spare tire
- Warning triangle
- Spare bulbs
- High-visibility jacket
- Other items that the country requires
Have a person at the desk sign the rental agreement to avoid getting the blame for the damages or the “missing” items that weren’t even there in the first place. After using the car, take photos again to prove that you didn’t do any new damages and that you kept your mileage within the agreed restrictions (if any).
Lastly, keep all the paperwork and the receipt of the gas station from where you filled up the cheap rental car.
Review the Car Rental Contract
This is crucial: before signing any papers, review it then review it again. Sneaky companies might try to charge you some extras you didn’t agree to.
If there’s anything on the contract that’s not clear to you, don’t hesitate to ask. Dispute items that have added to the total without you knowing, else you’re not getting out of paying for these.
If the contract states that the car rental company will return some charges after the trip, keep an eye out on your credit card statement on the following days. This is also to make sure they didn’t charge you for damages you didn’t incur.
Read More Traveling and Life Tips
Traveling is a way to unwind. It shouldn’t be stressful, so it’s better to prepare yourself for possible hiccups along the way.
Visit our blog to read more tips about travel, auto, and other areas of life, we’ve got more than holiday car rental tips. For any inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us!