As good pirates we are more comfortable at sea, however since you often have questions about the choice of car rental agencies, I decided to look into this subject.
If you are on the lookout for good deals, you will probably start your search with a comparator, like the one we use for our research.
By indicating where you want to pick up / return the car and your dates, this search engine will offer you a large number of offers, and the associated car among different booking sites. This is the ideal way to find the best price because you will find proposals from intermediaries specialized in the rental trade, from traditional agencies cheap rent a car At the end of the day, you will pick up your vehicle from classic Sixt, Avis, etc. rental companies. going through them.
But beware of abnormally low prices! Although they come from search results for a very serious price comparison, we can not personally test the reliability of all the booking sites that come out. For example, it is possible for some to apply significant payment fees, as we have been able to tell in some cases.
From a more global point of view, whether you search via search engine, price comparator or directly in an agency, let’s
1- The contract / terms and conditions
Of course it is long and tedious, but read carefully the rental agreement / terms and conditions. Be sure to check with the renter for the included items, or not, in this one. For example, most agencies exclude border crossing from their leases, which could result in significant costs to pay out of pocket in the event of an accident or breakdown. The insurance will not work, and we will not send you a tow truck in this case.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, also think about the special conditions: the minimum age , the amount of fees for young drivers, the rate to insure a second driver , a possible supplement if you return the car in a car. other agency than the departure, the need to have an international driving license etc.
2- The kilometric package and the options
It is quite easy to find cheap rental cars on the internet. Be careful to ensure mileage conditions before booking! Look closely at the packages and choose the most suitable for the route you have planned. I recommend the unlimited mileage if you plan to do a road trip for example. You will avoid unpleasant surprises if you exceed the package initially selected. This can encrypt very quickly!
Check that you have not been added an unwanted option , such as a GPS for example, which is often very expensive to rent. Little trick in some countries where the network allows, take a SIM card with data to use your smartphone (if you have one) and Google Maps, for example, for navigation. You can also use it to send your holiday photos to your friends to taunt them. Tested and approved !
About gas, it goes without saying, but do not forget to refuel before returning the vehicle if it was specified in the contract . Otherwise you will have to pay extra. Be especially careful when asked to make the tank empty or full. If it is empty, the renter himself filled the tank and bill at a high price! You have this information quickly visible on the comparator we use (see below)
3- The category of vehicle
As a rule of thumb for car rentals on vacation, easy to park and inexpensive to rent, city or compact cars are the most popular. The compact car (Volkswagen Golf type) is slightly more expensive than the city car (Citroën C3 type for hire) because more suitable for the road. Of course, it is usually necessary to go ahead to book them, especially if you go in high season tourist.
If you manage to book this type of car, be careful when it is removed. Arrived on the spot, it is quite possible that the renter did not pretend anymore the model reserved to you and tries to propose you another model, of another category or more expensive. This happened to me in the United States at the beginning of the year. I was offered a 4×4 much less economical and more complicated to park in the city. I would not have been missed for the deposit if I came back with a scratch picked up on a parking lot.
In this case there is no stress! Be firm, and do not hesitate to ask the cancellation of the reservation if need be , you will see that the renter will have to find you an alternative solution as if by magic.
4- The choice of insurance
Inevitably, the renter whoever he is, will offer his insurance at the time of rental. The question will be to know for you, if you must take it and which one to choose. In a basic lease, third party insurance and theft / damage are usually included. You must therefore pay the franchise in case of problems, which can quickly quantify (more than 500 euros). An insurance all risks, even if more expensive can be interesting to avoid any unnecessary stress on vacation.
On the other hand, according to the bank card that you use during the payment, you can be refunded for the franchise in case of glitch . It’s up to you to check with your bank if this insurance is included with your credit card. For Gold Mastercard, Gold Visa or American Express, you can be automatically from this franchise after sending a detailed report with all the elements and supporting documents to them. The refund should then be made starting from one month.
5- The deposit
Whatever happens, it will be requested at the time of rental. It should not be charged (or retained virtually) if you have not encountered any problems. Nevertheless, even if it is rare, check that it has not been debited post refund of the vehicle in the days that follow under a false pretext.
The most common scams with regard to bail are those held in cash . Whatever the reason, if you are asked to pay a cash deposit, there is no guarantee that it will be returned to you. If the rental agency says do not take the card, run away!
6- The inventory of fixtures
This is obvious, but it remains a point on which you must be extremely vigilant when renting a vehicle. If the scene was done in 30 seconds, it is possible that you realize after the fact that some damage that may b attributed to you was not your fault. In order to avoid any problem, take the time to thoroughly study everything before you hit the road . Personally, I also take the time to photograph the car from every angle, including some scratches or fears that may be there. I even take it too, just before the return of the vehicle, we are never too careful!
The timestamped photos in your smartphone will attest that you have nothing to reproach you if you request repair for scratches or other at the time of the return of the vehicle.
7- The payment
It is often at this stage that unpleasant surprises can happen. We were reassembled some scams including abroad, at the time of withdrawal of the vehicle to the agency (airport or other) and payment.
Some people were forced to pay extra insurance on the spot, to withdraw their car even if they did not need it. Another element to take into account, depending on the type of card you will use to pay (debit / credit) additional fees may apply , like some booking sites for flights.
Feel free to ask the renters / booking sites before booking to clarify these points, and have a written record by email, for example.
8- Reviews on the interne
Do you still have doubts? Do not hesitate to consult the notices on the sites / agencies that you have pre-selected. To give you an objective opinion, choose the certified opinion platform , which ensures that real customers have given their opinion and a rating (Verified Reviews, Trustpilot, Ekomi, Trustedshops, etc.).
You will find other Custplace open notice platforms, or even Facebook, on which everyone can freely post a notice. Overall ratings may tend to be negative, as one will always take the time to express dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction on the internet. Conversely, certified platforms where the gathering of opinions is proactive, give satisfied customers (or not) the opportunity to quickly give their post-transaction opinion.
I have tried here to go through the different pitfalls to avoid, through my personal experiences, those that I could read or that we were reassembled. This should not scare you so much, most of the time everything goes very well! However, not being a real specialist car rental issues, I invite you to share in comments, your feedback so that all pirates can benefit.