Rent A Car Abroad: The Survival Guide
People like to spend their holidays in different ways: while some people prefer to limit their travel between the beach and the hotel bar, others are happy to travel hundreds of kilometers in a week.
Experienced travelers will tell you that cheap rent a car is one of the best ways to fully experience the experience once you’re there. But there are some pitfalls, however. And that’s why – with the holiday season fast approaching – we have decided to prepare a list of simple tips to minimize the risks if you decide to rent a car abroad.
Choose a rental service
Choosing a car cheap car rental agency can be as easy as problematic. Some popular travel websites make available to their customers the best tools to compare prices and see the average rating of each rental agency according to the opinions of their customers.
However, a high score and a renowned brand are not enough to give her confidence. Most of the major rental companies are franchised. As a result, if you have ever been very satisfied with the services and vehicles of a rental agency in Germany, do not expect the same services or the same quality of service in a car rental agency. the same sign, based in Sicily for example. That is why we advise you to look at the ratings of the car rental agencies located in the area where you plan to travel.
The ‘ art of pricing
In order to display very competitive prices, some tricky rental agencies have more than one trick in their bag that allows them to advertise to the customer a price much higher than the one originally announced.
One of these most common techniques is gasoline. As a general rule, when renting a car in a Western country, it is made available to you with a full tank of gas, and you must – in turn – return the vehicle to the agency with the tank full. But if you could not get to a gas station on the way back (which is often the case when you rent a car in the center of a big city), you will have to pay for it. And this obviously represents a huge extra cost set in the good faith of the head of the agency.
In order to display very competitive prices, some tricky rental agencies have more than one trick in their bag that allows them to advertise to the customer a price much higher than the one originally announHowever, in the Eastern countries, the opposite approach is used. The vehicle is at your disposal with a quantity of gasoline allowing you only to go to the next petrol station. Then you will have to return the vehicle with an empty tank. It is naturally difficult to predict exactly how many liters of gas you will need to reach the rental agency. You will certainly offer a few liters of fuel to the rental agency, which is quite unpleasant in itself.
Some rental agencies charge a surcharge when the mileage limit is exceeded, or the vehicle is returned to another agency, or for cross-border travel (even in the European Union, where there are no borders) .These details must be taken into consideration when calculating the total cost. Therefore, it may well be that once all these supplements are applied, an initially affordable price is no longer really worth it.
In the United States, some rental agencies do not include insurance (not including taxes that are only applied once the calculated subtotal). This can be a problem since in some cases the price of insurance may exceed the cost of the rental itself.
Uncertain about the ‘ insurance
By the way, let’s talk about insurance. Choosing a good insurance plan is paramount. In most cases, basic liability insurance and a small deductible ($ 1000 for example) are included in the proposed insurance.
So, if any repairs – in case of damages – amount to $ 2,000, you will have to pay at least half of it. The last part is important in the event that you will not be able to influence the estimate of the costs of the damages caused since you will certainly be back home when this estimate will take place. The basic insurance does not cover damage to the windshields, tires, roof and lower part of the vehicle. In addition, the insurance includes many exceptions mentioned, as usual, in lowercase at the bottom of the lease
“Five lessons I’ve learned from having my credit card hacked” https://t.co/TQHBbK0Oqw
– Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) November 13, 2014
The rental agency will surely offer you to pay extra fees to get a refund of the deductible from your own insurance plan. But do not fall into the trap by accepting this offer. First, this supplement may reach an amount that may exceed the rental price itself. Second, this kind of “comprehensive” insurance plan may not cover some type of damage such as damage to tires, windshields, etc.
Specialized insurance companies will certainly offer you more advantageous options regarding the repayment of the franchise. They can also be found on Google – by typing “car rental refund franchise”. This will allow you to pay less and get better coverage. This type of insurance even includes an option for the least surprising that will cover you in case of aggression that may damage your vehicle.
Bank cards and ‘ money
Obtaining full insurance coverage through a rental company has only one advantage: when your lease is completed, the agency can pre-authorize the automatic withdrawal of a sum (the repayment of the deductible and the costs of the rental) on your credit card. However, some agencies reserve the right to charge a larger amount, just in case.
When picking up the vehicle, make sure you have a second credit card with a large amount of money.
If you return the car and everything is in order, the deposit that has been taken from you will be returned. However, this operation may take several days. Hence the fact of using a credit card with extended grace periods.
Besides, here are some helpful tips egarding credit cards. When you pick up the vehicle, make sure you have a second credit card with a large amount of money (taking into account the cost of the refundable deductible and so on). Some banks may also refuse foreign transactions for security reasons, despite the fact that you have already spent a certain amount of money on your trip.
Contacting your bank is not always the best solution. Moreover, I myself experienced this experience at Barcelona airport: the transaction made to the credit card account issued by one of the largest Russian banks was not authorized. After an hour of hectic phone conversation with the bank in Moscow, I had to give up, eventually, to rent a car using my fellow traveler’s bank details.
The ‘Cache-cache’ of scratches
When you are about to rent a car, be sure to take a few minutes to carefully examine the vehicle for any damage or scratches. Also make sure that the slightest scratch is indicated on the documents. The more scratches listed on the document, the better. This could possibly save you in case you happen to scratch the vehicle slightly on the road.
It would not be too much, especially in the Eastern countries, to take a picture of all the sides of the rented vehicle, then to check the tires. Indeed, if a tire bursts after a long journey, it could be a very bad surprise.
It can be very difficult to get out of an airport, especially if it is an international airport. Therefore, if the car you are renting is provided without GPS, make sure you have studied the question first. Being equipped with a smartphone and a fixing kit is more than enough. Plus, any free GPS application running offline will be able to guide you properly.
A lack of attention that can cost you
Before renting a car, find out about all the traffic rules of the country in which you are traveling. But fortunately, many signs and ground rules are universal (except for US travelers to Europe). However, you may find yourself in a situation where you come face to face with a sign on which it is written in the local language in tiny “limited traffic zone”; which could have serious consequences for non-residents.
Here are some tips based on my personal experience: Even if you are a skilled and experienced driver, make sure you have studied the principles of recording an accident before the trip. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation where you will have to study the matter at high speed with someone who does not speak your language and who has no sympathy for you. And as Murphy’s law shows , this situation will always occur in a deserted area, without the Internet to help us.
There is one rule that I would call “rule # 1”: never leave your belongings in a car in plain sight. One day, my friends who were traveling in the Canary Islands, have shown such negligence, to leave a wallet with money and two iPhones in their car. Their business obviously disappeared in no time.
My friends were about 100 meters away, and took a few minutes to take some pictures, before surprising thieves escape with their belongings. And here is a very sad story that I lived in California.
The power of documents
And the last tip I could give you is to never get rid of documents after the end of your trip. The rental documents signed by the agency stating that you have returned the vehicle in perfect condition could prove useful in the event that a penalty of 700 euros for “scratches and damages found unexpectedly” would arise out of nowhere. In addition, parking tickets could, for example, prevent you from paying a fine for wrong parking issued in error.
Rent a car abroad: #guide of survival
Do not hesitate to dispute any additional cost or fine issued after the event that you consider unfair. It is important to note that most rental agencies are franchises of major car rental companies. The rental agencies themselves, will not hesitate to pay you a fine, knowing that this represents a source of additional income for them: it is therefore worthwhile to lay some traps for customers.
In case of dispute, it is recommended to contact the parent company directly and not the franchised agency. These people struggle to maintain the reputation of their business, and want positive feedback from customers, which makes them much more flexible when negotiating a dispute.
Of course, the rental procedures should be seen in advance: renting a car on the spot would result in much less affordable prices. Moreover, knowing that we are in the 21 st century, all booking processes can be managed online.
When you rent a car online, you will be required to provide a lot of personal information such as a credit card number, your driver’s license information, your passport number, and other personal information. That’s why, when booking a car rental online, we recommend you to be extremely vigilant about phishing sites that perfectly imitate the websites of major car rental companies.
So take no chances, and if any element of the site does not inspire you, find another web page. Finally, in order to fully secure your online payments, try the Safe Money module available on Kaspersky Internet Security.