Renting a car abroad?

May 17, 2018

When renting a car, the most important thing to do is to check the terms and conditions on the car rental website. Reading the small print before booking can help to avoid any problems when you go to collect the car, during the rental and when you bring the car back.

To rent a car, you will need a valid driving licence. In most cases you will also need a credit card to collect the car. While you may be able to make the booking with a debit card, you will often have to provide a credit card to pay a security deposit at the car rental pick-up desk. The credit card generally has to be in the name of the main driver

If you are renting a car in another country, you may need an international driver’s permit so check this in advance. You may also need to be over a certain age to rent a car – usually 21. Some car rental companies may charge a surcharge for drivers under 25.

Three things to do before driving away

1.) Check the insurance: make sure you understand the type of insurance cover provided. Think about whether you need any extra cover such as collision damage waiver, theft, loss and personal accident insurance. When you rent a car there will be a basic level of insurance included in the rental price, but that may come with a very high excess. For example, if in the unfortunate event that you crash the car, you might have to pay the first approx. €2,000 of any damage. So, with this in mind, you might want to increase the insurance cover that you have.

There are two ways of doing this, the first option is to buy insurance from the car rental company. The second option is to arrange your own cover independently before you go. It’s worth thinking about this in advance to make sure you have the cover you want.

2.) Ask about the fuel policy: check the type of fuel the car uses and clarify the fuel policy. Does the vehicle come with a full tank and do you have to return it with a full tank?

3.) Check for damage: always check the car thoroughly before driving it away. The rental company should give you a diagram highlighting any existing damage to the vehicle, so check that any existing bumps or scratches have already been noted on the diagram. Remember to check the interior upholstery for wear and tear, marks, scratches, stains, tears or burns. Make sure the rental company notes these before you leave. Check that all lights are working properly and that there are no chips, cracks or other problems with the windscreen.

These checks should help to ensure that you’re not charged for any damage that existed before you rented the car.

Returning the car

The rules around returning the car will generally be outlined in your rental agreement. It’s useful when you return the car that you meet with a rep from the car company so you can actually be there when they check the fuel and the condition of the car.

Check out our travel guide to help you to avoid any nasty surprises while you’re on holiday. You can also check out our videos for further tips on what to think about before your trip.

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