Car rentals – read before you proceed

Mar 14, 2017 9:12 AM|

A credit card, ID, driving license and being 21 or older are the requirements of renting a car abroad. Obviously, we also need money. How much? The price depends on the standard of the car, type of insurance and when and for how long the car is rented.

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It is worth booking the car online before you travel. This way, we can sort out the details faster and cheaper and we can analyze the conditions of the contract slowly. During the hottest period of the tourist season, we will also avoid the disappointment of other people beating us to the punch and being left without a car.

First – the decision

Car renters are most frequently tourists from abroad. They travel to their holiday destinations by plane. They want to rest, but also sightsee, get to know the area, and see more than just the inside of a hotel and an overcrowded beach. The attractions in nearby places; outdoor parties, outstanding monuments, national parks and solitary places by the sea or the ocean – any place that is farther than own legs can take a traveler, are more achievable if one can comfortably drive there and back. Additionally, for a family of four or a couple of friends, moving around in a rented car ensures freedom and independence, will be cheaper than taxis or even local buses and trains, not to mention the fact that it is more comfortable.

It also happens that our profession or pace of life forces us to move around by car on a daily basis. During holidays, all we want is to rest from driving a vehicle. Time spent on the beach, swimming and taking walks makes up for all the leisure time. After couple of days of sweet indolence, however, vacationers can get restless. In this case, a decision on using car rental services is a spontaneous one. The companies or middle men that make a living from this aren’t hard to find. Most large hotels are in cooperation with car rentals. One has to understand, though, that this lack of planning is expensive. Usually, the cost of this service is higher than if we had approached the rental ourselves.

Secondly – research

Renowned car rental chains – Avis, Budget, Europcar, Goldcar, Gertz and Sixt – offer their clients fully operational and the cars are often almost new. They apply the rule that can be summarized as: the more expensive the model, the higher cost of the rental. The differences are significant. To give an example: a 7-day package for using a small car with basic equipment costs around 75 euro, whereas the same company will offer a large, luxurious limousine for a week for as much as 1250 euro.

The rental packages comprising of a couple of days are the offers worth looking into. Even if we assume in our vacation plan that three days will be enough to visit and see all the nearby attractions, it might turn out that getting a fixed promotional offer for 5 days will be cheaper. Car rental clients are eager to share their remarks and describe their experiences in various countries in internet forums or blogs and on open facebook profiles. They list advantages and disadvantages of particular companies. Before we make up our minds on a particular offer, it is worth acquiring important details from these descriptions. It happens that e.g. the price presented on the website of the rental is to lure customers in - appearing decent - but once we read in the terms in detail, we learn that the price does not include all the necessary components for renting a car and settle the payment. This is why it is worth taking some time and analyzing several various offers. GPS systems or car seats for children aren’t usually included in the basic offer, so such equipment needs to be paid for additionally.

We often leave for places we don’t know very well, where we’re not familiar with the roads or the customs of the local drivers and we are additionally driving a car we are not used to. It becomes reasonable to assume that these factors constitute a situation of higher risk. This is why it is worth considering purchasing a full-coverage insurance option in the car rental, without the so-called own input. We will pay around 10 euro per day more than purchasing the option with own input, but what we get is peace. What is the difference? The insurance with the own input will protect you from serious road damages, of value that exceeds 1000-2000 euro. However, if the car mirror is broken off, we get a flat tire, the window is broken or the car is scratched at the parking lot, the rental will charge the client with the cost. The full insurance without own input protects from any responsibility. Having purchased it, we can drive and park with no stress at all, and return the car without the presence of the rental employee, simply by throwing the car keys in a special post box.

Thirdly – action

A credit card, ID and driving license aren’t enough to use rental cars abroad. What is also important is the age of the client. Some companies are suspicious with young drivers. They rent cars to people over 21 years of age, but will also require additional insurance, which means that the cost of the rental increases. In their eyes, we have become a trustworthy client when we reach 25.

If the transaction is prepared online, we pick a car, the term of the service, the type of insurance, time and place of pick up and provide a credit card number. The rental will secure the deposit on the account (usually 200-250 euro) and unlock it after settling the transaction.

The next steps come when getting to the rental. After getting off the plane, we set the pick-up at the airport, sign the contract at the car rental airport kiosk, get the keys and acquire the location of the car. If we didn’t decide on the option with full insurance, before starting the engine and entering the road, it is worth thoroughly examining the car. In the case of noticing any dents or scratches on the body, it is better to let the rental representative know.

Fourthly – the final refueling

- Fuel is more expensive in many countries than it is in Poland and in the Western European Countires in particular. Despite oil’s recent declines, this raw material remains clearly more expensive than it was at the beginning of 2016. Moreover, the resource prices are expressed in the dollar, which has been relatively near its historical maximum. As a result, both diesel oil and unleaded fuel have been relatively expensive – explained Marcin Lipka, senior analyst.

Fortunately enough, the client of a car rental doesn’t need to start his journey looking for a gas station. Rented cars are usually filled up or half-filled, which is described in the provisions of the contract.

Let’s not fool ourselves, though – this is not an extension of goodwill or an added bonus to the service. The used fuel needs to be given back. There are two ways to settle this. Either we fill the tank before returning the car – which is a better option if we care for our account balance – or the employees of the company will refuel the car at the most expensive gas station nearby, add a service fee and as a result, charge our credit card with an amount that the client will remember as the most expensive refueling of their life.


Mar 14, 2017 9:12 AM|

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