When you pick up your hire car, you need to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Whether it's your first time hiring a car or you've done it a hundred times, not all car hire companies have the same terms and conditions.
Read our top tips to ensure you're fully prepared for any eventuality...
| Not all car hire companies have the same terms and conditions...|
1. Terms and conditions
Always read the terms and conditions of the car hire company's website carefully.
2. Car type not what you ordered?
Most car hire companies will illustrate a particular type of car or 'similar', therefore, the car your pick up might not be the exact make and model that you selected from the website - just a similar size.
Before taking the car away, check the petrol situation. Have you paid for a full tank? How much is actually in the tank? How much needs to be in the tank when you return the car? If you need to return with a full tank, check where the nearest petrol station is to where you need to return the car to.
Clarify the excess situation. Even if you pay to reduce the excess to zero you may still be liable for damage to certain parts of the car e.g. tyres/windscreen. Ensure you're FULLY briefed what the excess situation is BEFORE you drive the car away.
Check the insurance covers you for all aspects of your trip, especially if you plan to take the car off-road or on un-surfaced or gravel pathways.
Make sure the paperwork states exactly what you have paid for i.e. insurance, taxes and charges for additional drivers, car seats etc.
7. Car size
Ensure you book the right type of car for your needs i.e. is there enough space for your luggage, pram child seats etc.
When you pick the car up, make thorough checks for any damage, to ensure you're not blamed for them when you return the car. If you spot anything, even tiny scratches, make sure these are verified by the car hire company before you drive the car away.
9. Contact details
Ensure you keep the car hire company's contact details with you in case of emergencies. Check if there is any breakdown cover or who to call in the event of.
10. Returning the car
Check where you need to return the car to. If this is off the airport site, make a note - it may not be from the same place you picked the car up from. Make sure you have enough time to drop the car off and get it checked over.
11. Late drop-off
Most car rental agreements are made on a 24 hour hire basis. Therefore, returning your car late may incur an extra day's rental to be added to your bill.
12. Check your credit card statement
Check your credit card statements after you've paid for your car hire to ensure that no unauthorised extras have been charged to your card. If they have, request a full explanation of the charges immediately via the car rental company or broker, keeping a record of any correspondence.