Ten “often asked” questions about car hire.
Question: Can I collect my car from one location and return it somewhere else?
Answer: Probably. Most hire car companies probably have a depot at your drop off location but you’ll usually have to pay a drop off fee. In some states/countries (e.g. Florida or Spain) you can often drop off at a different location without charge (or for a nominal fee). Remember though that if you want a “one way rental” between –say- different European countries then the charge may be very high.
Question: Can I use a debit card instead of a credit card to rent a car?
Answer: A very few companies will accept a debit card – check with your supplier – but its better to play safe and make sure you take a major credit card in the name of the lead driver.
Question: What if I have blemishes (points) on my license? Will the company check for drink/driving, etc?
Answer: Usually they will not run a background check on your driving history but you will need a valid drivers license. Some companies check driving records when customers arrive at the counter. You may be disqualified from renting from an agency that applies this policy because of your driving record even with a confirmed booking! If in doubt it is always best to check with the supplier in advance.
Question: Are there age limits to rent a car?
Answer: Yes. Most suppliers require that you are at least twenty-five. However, if you are under 25 but over 21, you may be allowed to rent at some locations. You will, however, be charged a substantial extra daily fee (notable exception is Spain where you usually just need to be 21 for most suppliers’ requirements. Some suppliers/countries cap the driver’s age at 70 or 75 – if in doubt please check with your supplier (although the quote forms used by most car hire brokers ask this information before providing the quote).
Question: Do rental car rates I’m given cover all of my costs?
Answer: Not normally. On top of your rate you may have pay for airport surcharges applied to some locations, insurance if needed, mileage if not unlimited and of course sales tax. However, most cars hired outside the US or Canada are rented on a “fully inclusive” basis – but read the small print to ensure it is “fully” inclusive.
Question: Will my credit cards offer car rental insurance or coverage?
Answer: Some Premium credit cards (gold, platinum) will provide secondary collision coverage and in some cases primary collision coverage when hiring a car. Check with the supplier to make certain the CC is acceptable. Remember, most countries outside the US and Canada most suppliers will NOT accept your own insurance and insist you take their insurance.
Question: Do rental car companies provide or offer infant or child safety seats with my car rental?
Answer: Nearly all the major hire car companies offer both infant and child safety seats. Be sure to reserve these in advance to insure you have one during your trip. The quote you get from a car rental broker should tell you the price and availability.
Does the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) offered by the hire car supplier cover the damages made to another vehicle (third party damages)?
Answer: No, not in most cases. Your personal or company car insurance normally covers your liability in damages to another car. However, you should check to see if this is the case. If you don’t have your own coverage you should buy the liability coverage offered by the hire car supplier. Note: Outside the US/Canada “fully inclusive” rates will almost certainly include this liability.
Question: Is everything covered with fully inclusive insurance?
Answer: Even if you think you have everything but the kitchen sink covered – beware! Most car hire suppliers do NOT cover glass, the underside or the interior of the vehicle. However, it is now becoming more common for suppliers to offer reasonably priced “top up” insurance to cover most or all of these items. Where available (e.g. Spain) this can be purchased at the time of pick up.
Question: Do suppliers charge for “extra drivers”?
Answer: Yes, some do. Generally, California does not charge for spouses (by law) – and, in Europe, Spain is notable for not normally charging for extra drivers. Otherwise, extra driver charges can be quite high – so check it out at the time of booking.