Friday 28 November 2008

Advice on car rental before you collect the hire car

Before you leave home - Ensure thay you are carrying both your picture(credit card style) and paper driving licences. The paper licence is essential as it shows any endorsements you may have.

When you collect the car:
Check the vehicle for damage if it is night time make sure that you can properly view the car's bodywork. If it is raining borrow an umbrella from the hire company assistant.

Check the spare tyre

If it is really too dark or wet, let the company know any defects as soon as possible.


  • Most car rental locations require a credit card

  • Most car rental locations will not accept debit or switch cards

  • You must have held a valid driving licence for one year

  • British licence holders should note that many car hire outlets will not release the rental vehicle on sight of a photocard driving licence without also seeing the paper licence counterpart.They may also ask to see the paper licence counterpart of all named drivers.

  • Always ask what is included in the rates quoted

  • Never initial or sign an agreement without asking about each item

  • Do not over insure. If you have travel insurance you do not need personal effects or personal accident insurance

  • Do not be bullied by car hire companies saying the annual insurance or daily insurance you purchased at home is not adequate and you must buy their product.

  • Pre-purchase or Pre-reserve your car rental

  • Purchase from agents within your own country in case you need refunds or assistance

  • When you pick-up your vehicle determine where the drop off point is for your return

  • Ask if the return area has an attendant. If not, who do you return the car to?

  • If you leave the vehicle without check-in, examine it for damage and photograph it from every angle.

  • Drink drive laws vary from country to country - for example in Italy if you have a glass of wine and a grappa with dinner and you are stopped by the police - you will be fined.

  • Know your speed limits - these vary from country to country.

  • Speed / Radar cameras certainly apply to rental cars as well! The rental company will be notified and the renter contacted by the authorities. Speed traffic camera information is now being sent from one country to another. e.g. someone caught speeding with a French registered car in Italy will find that the fine will be reported to the French authorities if it is not paid.

  • Check with the Hire company if you can take the car out of the country you are renting in.e.g. Going from France into Italy or if renting in Ireland can you take the car into Northern Ireland or into the Republic of Ireland?

Additional Warning: Many car hire companies encourage the hirer to return the car empty. If you were to refill this yourself before taking it back, it is more than likely it would cost you less than the fuel deposit you paid when you took out the rental.

If you are renting a car via a company like Holiday Autos you will be provided with a voucher that you will have paid for in advance on line.

You then present the voucher to the car rental company. Some car hire companies will "swipe" your credit card so the details are stored on their computer, but will not actually debit your card at that stage. This is rather like when you book into a hotel.

They are taking your card details in case of accident, or any additional charges that are levied at the end of the rental like - out of hours collection - fuel charges - insurance etc.

Other companies will immediately debit your card as either they do no have this "swipe" and store facility or it is their policy to debit the account to cover a deposit, fuel charge etc. The downside to this is, if you are in a different currency e.g. renting in a "euro" currency country, but coming from the UK, Switzerland or the USA for example, your bank back home will charge for the conversion onto your card. On top of this exchange rates vary, so when you return the car and they "credit" your card again apart from being charged an exchange commission by your card/bank provider, the rate of the dollar, euro, Swiss franc might have gone up or down.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about this and the system does vary from company to company.

For more information car hire excess insurance visit

No comments: