The following points we are going to cover in this article:
- Tips for booking, pickup and return
- Additional costs: Unnecessary insurance, tank filling or winter tires
- Renting a car abroad: pay attention to the minimum sum insured
Be mobile on holiday with a rental car, rent a car with driver in Dubai, moving truck or take a short trip over the weekend with a rented convertible. What you should consider when booking, where additional costs are lurking and who pays for damage to the rental car.
Six tips for booking
- Take your time: Once the vehicle has been reserved, the contract cannot be canceled free of charge. There is also no right of withdrawal when booking online.
- Compare prices: Ask about extra costs for e.g., one-way rentals or airport rentals.
- Specify age when booking: Many car rental companies require a minimum age for the driver, sometimes there is a maximum age. Make sure that the age of the entered drivers fits these age limits.
- Read first, then sign: Ask for the general terms and conditions (rental conditions) and read them through before you sign. The rental contract only comes into effect with your signature at the car rental counter, regardless of whether you reserved the rental car on the Internet or booked it in a travel agency.
- Take out fully comprehensive insurance: Pay attention to the amount of the deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the rental price. However, your financial risk is then also higher in the event of an accident that is your fault. Before signing the contract, think about the risk you want to take.
- The scope of the insurance cover should be specified in the rental agreement.
- Adhere to the agreed rental period: If you return the car too late or too early, depending on the rental conditions, there may be additional payments.
Avoid additional costs
Again and again, members report that the local landlord is forcing them to take out additional insurance, wants a surcharge for winter tires or there is trouble with the fuel regulations.
Unnecessary additional insurance
Some rental car brokers refund the deductible of the comprehensive insurance (so-called tariff with reimbursement) in the event of damage. The local car rental company may offer you additional insurance. Be careful not to double-insure the deductible. You do not need to take out an additional “Super Comprehensive Insurance”. The additional costs for this will not be reimbursed by the agent.
The lessor may not charge any additional costs for summer tires if they were not expressly ordered at the time of booking. He must provide you with a roadworthy and drivable vehicle, which means that he is not allowed to rent a car with winter tires in Sunny Road conditions. Ask for a car with summer tires when you make your reservation.
Before you start your journey, find out whether you need to return the car with a full tank. Beware of providers who do not want to provide any information before booking.
Car rental companies often charge exorbitant fuel charges if the car is not returned with a full tank. Some let their customers pay for the tank filling in advance at an inflated price.
Pickup and safe return checklist
Examine the rental car before driving and have the rental company log any previous damage. This will prevent you from being liable for previous damage.
Check and record the condition of the car in the presence of an employee even when returning it. Insist on a return protocol, even if the car rental agent doesn’t think it’s necessary. Make sure you get the credit card receipt or deposit back when you return the vehicle.
Tip: Return the car during the rental car company’s opening hours and at the agreed rental car station. Photograph the car upon return if you leave the vehicle at the rental car company outside of opening hours.
Damage to the rental car – who pays what?
In the event of an accident, always notify the police and the rental car station.
If you as a renter culpably cause an accident, the motor vehicle liability insurance pays for the damage to the opponent’s car. The fully comprehensive insurance pays for the damage to the rental car if you have taken out one. You are then liable up to the amount of the agreed deductible.
Note: According to many rental conditions, the deductible is also due immediately if the renter is not responsible for the accident or damage. This is especially true abroad. In such cases, the renter will only be reimbursed if the opposing liability insurance company has paid.
Who pays for unexplained damage upon return?
When renting in UAE, the renter is only liable for damage that he is responsible for. The landlord must prove this fault. If the cause of damage cannot be clarified, the tenant does not have to be held responsible for the damage.
Tip: Describe as precisely as possible why the damage cannot have been caused by you if you are asked to pay for damage that was not your fault.
Eight tips for renting a car abroad
Book from home: When renting a car abroad, foreign law applies to the rental agreement and any disputes. This also applies to bookings made via the Internet. Book the rental car from home. This leaves more time for a price and service comparison, and you have a contact person in UAE if you have problems at your holiday destination.
Please note minimum sums insured: The minimum sums insured for the travel country apply to liability insurance. These are often significantly lower than under UAE law.
The “Traveler Policy”: Applies worldwide and usually offers coverage for property damage and personal injury. Some credit card companies offer comparable additional policies when paying for the rental car with a credit card.
Fully comprehensive insurance: It is best to take out fully comprehensive insurance without a deductible. Pay attention to the scope of the insurance. Damage to tires, rims, underbody or damage caused by stone chipping is often excluded. Theft insurance is worthwhile if it is not included in the comprehensive insurance.
Beware of the flat-rate fuel charge: before you start your journey, ask whether you need to return the vehicle with a full tank.
Payment: Payment is usually made by credit card or debit card. The credit card serves as security for the landlord. The credit card holder is usually entered as the main driver in the rental agreement. Some landlords require a credit card PIN. Do not sign a blank credit card slip!
Do not blindly sign the contract: Put all agreements in writing and only sign the contract after you have read it. You need to compare the content of the rental agreement with your voucher or booking. Ask if there are any discrepancies or if you do not understand clauses. Once the lease has been signed, it is too late to make any changes. The rental contract should be written in English in addition to the national language.
Pickup: Before picking it up, check the car carefully for damage with a rental agent. Record defects in writing and have them confirmed. Take photos of the condition of the car.
Take care of the car key: if you lose the key, you will have to pay the cost of replacing the key and having the rental car towed (to protect against theft) yourself. You cannot cover these costs with fully comprehensive insurance. If the rental car is stolen with the lost key, there is gross negligence and you will have to pay for the rental car in full. Some car rental companies offer additional insurance for spare keys. However, these do not cover theft of the rental car.
Cheap rental car providers at a glance
There is probably no general answer to this question. A very important factor is of course the travel period. In the high season, customers in very popular tourist destinations can quickly pay many times the price they would pay in the off-season. It also often plays a role how early or late you book the rental car. On the one hand because of the well-known early booking discount, which some providers also offer for rental cars. On the other hand, due to the limited contingent of certain vehicles, it can of course happen that many vehicles are already fully booked for the period of your stay. Of course, the cheapest vehicles are always affected very quickly, so that you have to switch to more expensive alternatives for better or worse. A very good way to compare the prices of the above-mentioned rental companies are the many comparison portals for rental cars.
Help in a dispute with the car rental company
If, weeks or even months after your holiday, you suddenly receive a letter with claims from the car rental company, you can contact an arbitration or conciliation board: they will help you in a dispute with the car rental company or the intermediary.
Hiring Chauffeur with the rental car
While renting a car it is extremely beneficial for you if you hire a chauffeur along the car. It saves your time, energy and makes your entire journey more relaxing and comfortable. Moreover, hiring the chauffeur service along with rent a car reduces the risk of damage of vehicle from your end as the one who drives is the one who is responsible for the damage.