Car hire conditions
If you hire a car make sure you are familiar with the car hire conditions. Make sure you are able to answer questions such as:
- What is the reputation of the car hire company?
- What are the cancellation conditions of the car hire company?
- What documents should you submit?
- What methods of payment are accepted?
- What about the age and the driving experience of the driver?
- Are there any kilometre restrictions and where am I allowed to drive?
- Who pays for the petrol?
- What are the opening hours of the hire company?
If you are about to reserve a hire car through an intermediary, you must first find a hire company. Make the following checks:
- the full terms and conditions for car hire, of which the intermediary sometimes only provides a summary
- the reputation of the hire company and its accessibility in the event of problems
The law does not provide for a right of withdrawal for the hire of vehicles. Study the general terms and conditions of the hire company. Do they contain a cancellation option?
The terms and conditions for car hire usually mention cancellation charges, based on the time you intend to terminate the contract. The earlier you cancel, the less you pay.
The terms and conditions of all car hire companies require: a driving licence and an ID. These documents must be valid and made out in the name of the main driver. Always check if the terms and conditions mention any other documents, for example an international driving licence or a passport.
If you do not take out an insurance, by which you are covered in the event of damage,the rental company may ask you to block a security deposit on the driver’s credit card.
Check the terms and conditions carefully. The amount of the deposit may be high so your credit card's spending limit may be reached quickly, putting your holiday budget at risk.
Most rental companies accept specific methods of payment. Check this on your reservation voucher or on the company’s website.
Please note: many hire companies refuse prepaid credit cards.
Having a driving licence does not automatically mean that you are allowed to hire a vehicle. Most hire companies operate a fixed minimum age in their terms and conditions for car hire (for example, 21 years).
Hire companies are very strict in this area: if you are too young, you are not allowed to hire a car. The terms and conditions for car hire often contain a supplement for younger drivers (for example, between 21 and 25 years old).
The terms and conditions of many hire companies restrict the number of countries where you are allowed to drive. If you intend to drive in a country where you are not allowed to, you need the express permission of the hire company.
Most car hire contracts allow you to drive as much as you want to. Some contain a maximum distance in your reservation. Each extra kilometre will then be specifically mentioned on your invoice – at an agreed rate.
Car hire companies have different arrangements with respect to fuel in their terms and conditions for car hire:
- You return the vehicle with the same fuel level as when you collected the car. You pay for the petrol at the petrol station and nothing to the hire company. Do not forget to fill up with sufficient petrol; the hire company may charge a lot for the extra petrol.
- You pay in advance for a full fuel tank. This will be fully or partially refunded, depending on the fuel level when you return the car.
- You pay a certain amount in advance. This will not be refunded, irrespective of the fuel level on return of the car.
Check the opening hours of your car hire company. Try to arrange your flight in such a way that you have enough time to check the condition of the car before you return it.