Renting a car for your next trip to Europe is arguably the most convenient and affordable way to explore Europe's finest vacation destinations, but make no mistake, if you aren't prepared for and knowledgeable of rental guidelines and expectations, there are series of issues that could arise, potentially costing you both time and money. Fortunately, these are very easily avoided as long as you aware of the rules and expectations laid out by most car rental companies.
Take advantage of Auto Europe's sixty years of travel industry experience in order to avoid the following situations at all cost and maximize the likelihood of a hassle-free rental experience.
#5: Returning Your Rental Late
Most car rental suppliers will usually give a little lee-way in regards to returning a vehicle less than an hour late, but any longer than that and you'll find yourself paying locally for an additional rental day. If you're running late and don't think you'll be able to return the car in time, contact Auto Europe toll-free and arrange to have your vehicle dropped of at a later time.
Although you may have to pay a little extra to extend your rental by a day, it's likely a fraction of the cost if you were to have to pay the car rental company locally for an additional day.
#4: Booking the Cheapest Car Rental
Instead of shopping for the cheapest car rental, look for the best value related to your travel needs. If you're traveling with four passengers with at least one large suitcase each, a compact class isn't going to fit everyone, and you'll find that if you need to upgrade at the pick-up location, you'll be charged an arm and a leg as opposed to if you had just reserved a larger vehicle in the first place.
When booking the cheapest car rental, sometimes you get what you pay for. Fortunately, you don't have to sacrifice safety or service in order to get the cheapest car rental rate in the industry. Brokers like Auto Europe guarantee the best rates on comparable rental cars, and typically offer better prices than if you booked directly through the car rental company. A broker also ensures that you won't be waiting longer for service, or be pressured into purchasing additional insurance locally, or given an old, beat-up car.
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#3: Paying for Damages You Didn't Cause
Although it may not be your car, it can very easily turn into your problem. The best way to avoid paying for damages you didn't cause is to inspect the vehicle with an agent at the pick-up counter before driving off the lot. The agent should be filling out a report detailing any pre-existing damage, so point out even the slightest scratch and dent, and to further protect yourself, snap a few pictures with time stamps of any pre-existing damage while inspecting the vehicle with the agent.
If the rental agency is attempting to give you a vehicle with pre-existing damage, insist that an agent fill out a damage report BEFORE you leave the rental lot, and take pictures of any damage. Alternatively, request a different vehicle, or contact Auto Europe and speak with an agent who can look for alternative options to get you a different vehicle.
#2: Not Reading The Terms and Conditions of Your Rental
This should be more of a no-brainer than it seems to be. Now, we don't blame anyone for not reading the sixty-four-odd page terms and conditions of the latest iTunes update, but when you're being held financially responsible for a $50,000 rental car, it's important to understand exactly what you'll be held responsible for in the case of collision or damage to the vehicle so you can purchase the correct insurance. Especially in the car rental industry, there are almost always fees that need to be paid in local currency in conjunction with what you may have paid for the actual rental. These fees are things like excise taxes, location pick-up charges, and one-way rental drop fees. If you don't carefully review the terms and conditions of your rental, you might be suprised when you're paying double what you had originally pre-paid for the entire rental because you neglected to review any applicable local charges.
Additionally, the car rental company you're renting with may have specific requirements, such as a minimum age to rent a vehicle, or a specific amount that will need to be blocked on a credit card to cover your rental. It's absolutely imperative you thoroughly review your terms and conditions before you plan to pick up your vehicle so you know what to expect and what questions to ask the agent before taking your vehicle off the lot.
#1: Not Understanding Your Credit Card Insurance Coverage
A credit card is always an asset when renting a vehicle, but the coverage that card offers you may or may not be. Depending on the credit card you're thinking of using to receive rental car insurance, it might be worth paying an extra $15 or $20 a day for additional coverage, or it might not. It's important you reach out to your credit card company to clarify any and all coverage you may be receiving if this an option you choose to pursue. This is because some cards won't cover things like "loss of use", which is when the car rental company is holding you financially responsible for the amount of time their rental car is out of commission due to being repaired.
It's also important to clarify the type of rental you're arranging with your credit card, as some waivers offered by credit card companies may exclude SUV's or large vans, for example. If you're finding that you'll be held liable for damages not covered by your credit card's waiver, it might be worth dishing out a few extra bucks per day for additional insurance and some peace of mind.