Car rental in Europe: Experiences
I’ve never actually rented a car before. I’ve looked at the various websites for all the tips. Just wondering from anyone who does it often: should you go with the big names (Hert, Avis, Budget etc) or the lesser known ones? I’m going to get excess insurance through a third party, as it’s far cheaper.Posted 2 months ago
Get a SUV. A big diesel one.Posted 2 months ago
If you can – read the consumer mags re european car hire firms. There are some very shonky operators. Go with the big names who have a desk in the airport. You get what you pay for!Posted 2 months ago
Depends where you’re going. Most places it’s best to stick with the big boys I think but Greece is the opposite, find a good local company.
Edit: id also recommend putting ‘tripadvisor *insert place name* forum’ into Google and reading the advice on there….Posted 2 months ago
I use a comparison site (like Rentalcars) and use them to book with a big chain. Usually cheaper than booking direct (though sometimes worth checking) and can include some optional extras in the price. I also get 3rd party excess cover, Questor I think I used recently & had to claim but was painless.Posted 2 months ago
I’ve always used the comparison sites, it’s usually 20% cheaper or so.
I think we used rentalcars.com, before, they’re ‘okay’ we had a problem with excess damage waiver insurance (which seems to be the up-sell they all use to hide costs) there’s a page asking if you want it, I did, paid the extra and it’s only after then they let you know it’s rentalcars.com insurance and not Hertz or whoever, and the rental co will likely want to take a lot of money on a credit card – I think it was £2k. If you’re not a credit card users, you might need to have a good couple of grand at your disposal for a deposit or pay them the full “bend over” on the desk damage waiver cost.Posted 2 months ago
After being stung when using an online booking agent and a budget big name car hire place in Cyprus I always now look on TripAdvisor for a regarded local company and book direct.
The online agents drive prices down so the companies can’t update at the prices they charge so they look for other ways of making the money back. The company may be a big name but the local operators are just licensees.
Always always take photos of the car when you collect. And return.
The place in Cyprus had no lighting outside when you collected but was well lit on return time. They basically run a scam.Posted 2 months ago
Hmmm, that’s interesting. I have found a car carrentals.co.uk and they offer excess insurance for 5 quid a day, but maybe that’s going not sit well with Budget (the rental company)? But of course Budget will presumably charge 3/4x the price?Posted 2 months ago
This might be useful for tamper-proof photographs when starting and returning the car to avoid the magic scratches that might appear. OTT maybe but its absolute proof…
And its free.
I got quite a good deal via Jet2 once – you booked the car with their agent (the big orange one – Avis?) but you could buy much cheaper collision damage waiver insurance from Jet2. That was in Italy.
Always get insurance before you go the stuff the companies sell on the day is ludicrously expensive.Posted 2 months ago
Hmmm, that’s interesting. I have found a car carrentals.co.uk and they offer excess insurance for 5 quid a day, but maybe that’s going not sit well with Budget (the rental company)? But of course Budget will presumably charge 3/4x the price?
It’s worth checking with Budget, Rental Cos. seem to have 2 prices for everything, the pre-booked and ‘on the counter’ – the on-the-counter costs seem massive, I assume for Business types who just rock up asking for a car and don’t care too much. I’m sure you can book with the comparison site and book the damage waiver separately.
As above, it wasn’t too much of a bother, I have plenty of headroom on the credit card, but it would have rather just bought it direct and not had the hassle, especially they’re quite clear (after you buy it) that if you do have an accident, the hire co will take the full deposit and argue about it later.
Frankly the whole idea of a damage excess seems utterly stupid to me, it’s their asset not the customers so they should insure it and work it into the rental costs – I guess it’s a way of displaying a lower cost online.Posted 2 months ago
Rented loads in Spain, France and Norway. I always just googled for the airport and went from there. Must have a desk, pick up/drop off at terminal to make life easy. Never had a problem, took out extra insurance before arriving as they will charge a lot more at the desk on the day.Posted 2 months ago
We always use a local company in Portugal, book online in advance, sort out paperwork on arrival. Never had a problem in 10 years of using them. Never taken out additional insurance.Posted 2 months ago
OP, Where are you going?Posted 2 months ago
Enterprise (who I used as they were the cheapest after comparing at Holiday Autos) have a policy (here) where they have a measuring guide for what is and what isn’t fair damage upon return.
Unfortunately, as I found out, the local agents will still try a fast one on you in the hope you didn’t know about it. When I returned a car on an island in Greece last year they found several marks that they wanted to charge for – the minute I asked about the company policy and asked to see the guide that is used, they shut up and accepted it without charge (the marks were all there when I collected the car BTW).Posted 2 months ago
Unfortunately, as I found out, the local agents will still try a fast one on you in the hope you didn’t know about it. When I returned a car on an island in Greece last year they found several marks that they wanted to charge for – the minute I asked about the company policy and asked to see the guide that is used, they shut up and accepted it without charge (the marks were all there when I collected the car BTW).
Always my concern..
Quite often we’ve returned our car out of hours and just left it with the keys inside, worried that they might “find” an issue, but luckily never had a problem in 10 years of doing this.Posted 2 months ago
Go with the big names who have a desk in the airport.
Avis, Charles de Gaul airport asked me to sign for non existent damage on return because I “had all the insurance and it wouldn’t cost me a penny”.
I declined!Posted 2 months ago
I’ve rented loads of cars. Car rental is about the most irritating and stressful service to deal with. It is an industry in desperate need of regulation, and a non-voluntary code of practice. The big players are a bit better than the really cheap outfits, but they still suck. Everyone knows that they cannot be realistically renting you a car for £150 a week and making money. They just do you over seemingly at random to make up the difference.
My advice for you:
-Use one of the big players – deffo don’t go with the cheapest.
-Get the excess damage insurance. Don’t go too cheap on this either, in my experience there is around a 30% chance of having to use it.
-Make sure you’ve a couple of grand headroom on the credit card.
-Make sure your license is up to date.
-Make sure you get that code they use to check your license.
-Be prepared for pressure selling nonsense at pick up and the “you’ve scratched it there (while indicating vaguely) , that will be £600” people at drop off.
If you loose the “we’re taking money for damages/cleaning/invisible scratches/because we want to” roulette, just claim from the insurance. Don’t even bother trying to fight it, unless you want to be dealing with it for the next year.Posted 2 months ago
-Use one of the big players – deffo don’t go with the cheapest.
Not sure this is always the best idea, one of the worst offendors was GoldCar, always in the papers for fraudulent damage claims. Just seems to be company policy to rip customers off…Posted 2 months ago
@footflaps – you’re completely correct, GoldCar are terrible, as are europcar.Posted 2 months ago
I just use the big names with a good rep. I do not include Goldcar in that list. I can’t be bothered doing too much research. Europcar have been fine for me. One time I went budget they had cancelled my reservation without telling me, so I needed a last minute rental from a different company.Posted 2 months ago
I used Cicar recently in Gran Canaria. Went on Tripadvisor reviews and requested full cover with no excess. Cost me about £30 for a day hire, no excess on the CC, no inspection when I returned the car. A++ would use again, etc.Posted 2 months ago
In Iceland I used a company called SAD cars, best rental car ever, they described it as ‘experienced’, it had 160k on the clock, there were bumps and scrapes on it, so they didn’t care about the body work, they just said “don’t crash”.
Portugal outside Lisbon airport was one the scariest times ever getting the car back in 1 piece, that roundabout was lawless!Posted 2 months ago
I’m going to Malaga/Granada.
“-Make sure you get that code they use to check your license.”
What’s this then?Posted 2 months ago
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