Hiring a car abroad can be risky business, with unscrupulous operators ready to separate you from your cash. In the United States, hiring a car is easy. Not so in many other countries, where consumers consistently complain about opaque policies and aggressive sales practices.
If you are thinking of hiring a car in Europe, use these tips to get the best deal and stay safe. First of all, it’s best to book online in advance to find the cheapest prices, and be aware you may be charged a premium for picking up and dropping off at an airport. Try to find an off-airport site if you are on a budget; they will often have a shuttle bus that will take you to your vehicle from the terminal.
When it comes to choosing a rental company, check the costs of add-ons such as extra drivers and satnav systems. The cost of adding an extra driver varies hugely from company to company, with Hertz sticking an extra €13 per day onto your fee if you add a second driver. If you are worried about getting around, download the Here app on your smartphone. It’s a free app that even works offline.
The same goes with optional add-ons. Most companies offer damage waivers for an extra fee, protecting you if you crash the car. However, these policies are often expensive, and you can get the same protection for less if you arrange your own insurance cover.
Don’t let the sales team pressure you into any unwanted extras at the sales desk. Decide what you want and stick to your guns. Do your research online before you fly and you’ll be less likely to succumb to the pressure.
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