Europe Hotels Articles

June 18, 2010

How to Avoid Hidden Costs on Your Next Car Rental in Spain

The first and most important advice is that you should never be blinded by a cheap, fabulous day rate for the rental vehicle you’re planning to book. Depending on your travel destination a lot off extra charges may apply, like airport surcharges, insurance, sales taxes, licensing fees, local and state taxes, concession recovery fees, customer facility charges, mandatory theft protection, young driver fees to name just a few.

By the time all the extra charges are added onto your bill, you may find yourself paying almost double the cheap car rental base rate you were quoted.

How can you avoid paying almost double that fantastic base rate?
Read the following tips on the surcharges and tricks for how to cut the expenses you’re most likely to face at the desk of the local car hire company.

Airport Taxes
If you have booked your car hire rental at an airport location, in many cases the car hire agency is contractually required to pay a concession fee to the airport. It does not matter if you collect the vehicle when you get of the plane or if you go to an airport location when you’re already staying in town. So don’t try to be smart by not picking up your rental car as soon as you get off the plane, go to your hotel first and then return to the rental office at the airport to pick up the car. You will have to add up the additional expenses (taxi or any other local transport) to the price of the rent a car.

Make sure to check if the concession fee (sometimes called airport tax) is included in the quoted price, some online car hire booking engines do not mention this charge at all until the moment you’re almost ready to confirm the car hire booking online.

Local and state taxes
In Europe local and state taxes, sometimes also called sales tax vary considerably from country to country. Depending on the country of origin you probably can’t avoid European value-added tax (VAT), which can be as high as 25 percent, depending on the country you’re travelling to. In some cases you will be charged a small fee which is used by the local governments to fund local development projects or improvements to the infrastructure. It is important to know that in some countries you may be entitled to a total or partial refund of the VAT, occasionally this can greatly reduce the final cost of the service of the car hire company you’re booking your vehicle with.

Insurance
One of the most common extra charges is for the insurance, usually referred to by the car hire companies as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). For an extra amount per day (the so-called Excess Waiver), you can avoid liability for any damage to the vehicle, provided you’re not found guilty of gross negligence. Basic insurance is compulsory in most European countries and built into the basic car rental cost.

Before you sign up for the extra insurance make sure if it is really worthwhile to do so. Some credit cards also provide additional insurance when you rent a car. Apart from the CDW-LDW the most common insurance options are the Additional Liability Insurance (ALI), the Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or the Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) which you can purchase from the car hire company at the time that you collect your rental vehicle.

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