Posted by Carter | Under Travel Tips
Friday Jun 6, 2014
Better Know a European Car Rental
Renting a car in Europe is arguably the most ideal, economical means to transport your friends, family, and luggage while on vacation. If you intend on reserving a car, familiarizing yourself with the process is conducive to an enjoyable, carefree vacation. Knowing the guidelines and stipulations will help you to make calculated choices that satisfy your personal preference as well as your budget. It is beneficial and highly recommended to research the products and services offered by the rental car companies to avoid unexpected surprises and unexplained costs. Consider these tips when planning your next European holiday.
This may seem like a simple question, but with so many tour operators, brokerages, and third parties conducting business it is easy to confuse which party is actually supplying your car. The rental car companies own, register, and rent cars. Tour operators consolidate worldwide rental car companies under one roof to give the consumer countless vehicle options at discounted rates. The daily rate is paid to the tour operator, but the car will be supplied by the car company at the designated pick up location.
Choose Your Car Category
The industry standard for advertising rental cars is to categorize based on the size of the vehicle or the engine, rather than the make or model. When you book a cheap car in France on the web or over the phone, you will quickly become accustom to the respective classifications identified as mini, economy, compact, mid-size, standard, full-size, luxury, and specialty car. Vehicles also retain a subset of features within the same category, such as number of doors, diesel vs. gas, with or without A/C, manual or automatic transmission, etc. You will very regularly see car descriptions as “Chevrolet Spark or similar, Mini Class, 2-door, manual transmission, A/C, four passengers, with luggage space.” In the event that you reserve a mini vehicle, the car supplier will provide a vehicle that meets the specifications of the mini category. The best way to determine if a car is tailored to your needs is by comparing the example car in an individual category to your own car. Find out which category your car falls under, then go from there.
Unfortunately, suppliers are unable to guarantee the make or model for standard categories, unless a specialty vehicle is reserved at a premium. By renting a specialty vehicle, the preferred luxury car will be guaranteed. to choose from, including BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, or Porsche. If a specialty car is in your budget, the sky’s the limit.
There are several different types of insurances that are either included in the rate or that can be purchased for an additional cost at the rental car desk. Basic rates do not include collision or theft insurance, but they are a good choice if you are seeking coverage through your credit card company. Depending on the country, collision and theft insurance is mandatory by law. Italy is on the list of countries that require coverage for every rental car, regardless of coverage through your credit card or third party travel insurance. Inclusive rates include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP) with a varying deductible, or excess, that will be paid to the rental car company in the event of new damage to the body or theft of the vehicle, and for each ascending car category the amount of deductible increases. In order to waive liability, look for a zero excess rate at the time of a booking or purchase excess waiver insurance, or Super CDW, at the rental car desk to reduce the collision deductible to zero. While Collision Damage Waiver covers potential damage to the body of the vehicle, it excludes coverage for damage caused to the windows, tires, undercarriage, and interior, keys, and incorrect fuel put into the car. A third available supplemental insurance designed to cover aspects of the vehicle not covered by CDW can be purchased through the rental company directly. Be on the look for a zero excess rate when shopping for a rental car and purchase any supplemental insurances locally to be fully covered, or choose a basic rate and confirm insurance coverage offered by your credit card company.
It is a standard policy for rental car companies to hold a deposit equivalent to the deductible, or excess, plus fuel and VAT as collateral in the event of damage. All rental car companies require an authorization on a major credit card at the rental car desk, and debit cards are rarely accepted due to its limitations. The deposit is released back to the credit card upon completion of your rental period less applicable taxes, fees, or additional services.
Additional Products and Services
Rental car companies offer additional products and services that can be purchased for an extra cost at the discretion of the renter. During the booking process, you will have the option to select child seats, a GPS, and ski racks, which are provided by the agents at the rental car desk. In the winter, snow-tires are required by law in several countries due to potentially hazardous conditions. The cost of snow tires can either be included in the rate or paid at rental car desk, depending on the terms and conditions of the hire. Some restrictions and additional fees may apply when you book a one way car rental in Europe. Agents will also offer supplemental insurance. Knowing the insurance policy of your rental car will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase extra coverage. Remember to review your rental contract before agreeing with a signature. Make any modifications as you see fit.
Each rental car company’s fuel policy is disclosed at the time of a booking under the terms and conditions. You will frequently see two types: full-to-full and full-to-empty. The full-to-full stipulates a vehicle be rented with a full tank and returned with a full tank. If the vehicle is returned without a full tank, you are subject to the cost of fuel plus a refueling service. The full-to-empty policy requires payment for a full tank of fuel at the time of pick up and the rental car must be returned as empty as possible, with no refunds for unused fuel. Hold onto all gas receipts showing the amount of fuel added to the tank on your drop off date as a proof of cost.
You can never be too careful when borrowing a piece of equipment owned by someone else. With that in mind, although rental cars are inspected by agents before and after rental periods, it is advisable that you check the car for pre-existing damage as a precautionary measure. If pre-existing damage notated on your rental agreement form matches the actual damage on the car, you should be fine. But if damage on the rental car is not represented on the rental agreement, it would be wise to return to the rental car desk to ask an agent to make note of all pre-existing damage.