The car rental companies are typically very good and will explain what is needed and the process. However, if you have not hired a car before, there are some items to pay close attention too, particularly the pick up and drop off.
There are aspects to the pick up of the hire car that the rental provider will explain to you when collecting your car. If new to the car hire process, it is wise to be prepared so that you do not feel pressured into making a quick decision.
So, to make picking up your rental car nothing but positive here are some tips to help.
When you have booked online, you will be emailed your reservation details. This contains important information about your car hire booking, including date and time of pick up and drop off, the insurance included, all documentation required. It would be useful to bring your reservation details with you when collecting your hire car.
The documentation required at the time of pick up is vital. If this is not correct, you will not be able to pick up the hire car or sign the rental agreement, it's as simple as that. Depending on the country where you are hiring the car, it is vitally important that you pay attention to what documentation is required, as different countries may have different rules.
In generally you will need the following:
This is an important document that you must read, and not just glance over. You will need to sign this document when picking up the hire car. The agreement specifies the full terms and conditions about your rental, including:
It is an important document that you should keep with you during the period of your car hire. If you have any questions about its content, the time to ask is at the pick up, prior to signing the document.
It is normal for the car hire company to require a security deposit. This amount is clearly displayed when your vehicle search results are displayed. The amount of deposit will vary hugely, based on the rental company, hire period, vehicle type, etc.
The security deposit is simply a sum of money held by the car rental company, just in case anything happens to the vehicle during the hire period. However, the full amount is returned to your card once you return the car in the same conditions (see car inspection) as you picked it up, unless you do not return the hire car after the agreed drop off day or have an accident, for example.
The car inspection is a two-way process and is done before you drive the car away. The rental company will check the car for any scratches and dents and record their location. But you must also check the vehicle yourself, to ensure that nothing is missed, as you could be charged if the rental company thinks you are responsible for them. If you find any dents or scratches that aren't registered on the damage form, then you definitely need to make sure they are marked up on the sheet before leaving the pick-up point, even if they are hardly noticeable.
Should you drive away and subsequently notice some damage or something not working (e.g. radio, air-conditioning), you should take photos (if relevant) and immediately call the hire company to advise them; certainly DO NOT wait until it is discovered when you drop off the car.
When returning the car, it should be reasonably clean (inside and out), no litter and with no extra dents or scratches. Plus, thoroughly check the car (glove box, boot) to ensure you have collected all your personal items.
The car hire company will typically start of the car while you are there to review the amount of fuel in the tank and perhaps record this on the inspection form. It is important to pay attention to this, as you will need to return the hire car with a similar amount of fuel. If you return it with a half tank, when you needed to full, you may be charged for the refill.