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Car Rental and Car Hire

Car rental (car hire) is a complicated business and you are very likely to either pay much more than necessary or to pay useless car rental insurance that will not cover the damage in case of accident or theft. Please follow strictly these rules:

1. Your personal insurance.

Check well what is your personal insurance covering. You are likely to be covered by your credit card, personal car insurance or some additional insurance product.

2. Best price guaranteed?

Think again. Many car rental/car hire companies claim to give you best prices (usually meaning that you won't get a better price through a third party). This is almost always misleading. Car rental agencies just guarantee certain price under certain conditions. The catch is that the third party can give you slightly different conditions (even better) and prices as low as 50% of the "guaranteed best price".

3. No hidden costs.

Some car hire companies (mostly car rental brokers) claim to include everything in the quoted price. Think again. There is no such thing as "final price". Every car rental contract must be tailored to your needs and wishes. May be you are covered for same liabilities but want to be insured against others? Maybe the "all inclusive" price includes insurance coverage for third person liability up to $20,000 and you want much higher coverage? Maybe the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) included doesn't cover windshield, tires and roof (it almost never does) and you want to include it? Maybe you are under 25 or over 70 and will be charged age surcharge? Maybe you need some extras like childseat or navigation? Every rental contract is individual and you should read the smallprint very carefully.

4. Geographical limitations.

Check where you are allowed to travel with the rented car. You are almost surely limited to some countries or territories.

5. Check the car.

Before accepting the hired car always check it for scratches and minor damage. Have every scratch marked in the blank form attached to your agreement. Otherwise you may be charged for the damage (and as these are minor damages they won't be covered by insurance but in the deductible, meaning your responsibility).

6. Get the final account before you leave.

If you don't, car rental agency can later claim you damaged the car and charge your credit card.

7. Drivers License.

Most international car hires accept only your valid Drivers Permit issued in your country of origin. Some car rentals require International Drivers Permit and still others will accept both. Check with your car rental agency what drivers license is required. For instance, Enterprise car rental in UK requires International Drivers License.

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