Car Hire and Rental Advice

Definitely book a car in advance if you can, generally speaking the sooner you book the better the choice of vehicle you have and the cheaper the price.  It is advisable never to turn up at your destination airport without having booked a hire car especially in high season as the chance of getting a car is negligible!
Last Minute Bookings
You may have to settle for a different make and model of hire car rather than your preferred choice.  Bookings at a late stage may not be confirmed immediately meaning that the booking is pending so keep checking your email to make sure that you receive a confirmed booking reference before you depart on you journey.
What Documents Do You Need?
Of course you will have with you your passport if you have travelled from another country and have just arrived at the Valencia or Alicante airports.  In addition to your passport or in some cases your official ID card you will of course need your driving licence. It is also a good idea to have in your possession a document showing proof of your address.  The latter may not be necessary but is required by some hire car companies.  Importantly you will need a credit card and your relative pin number as most hire car companies will NOT accept a cash payment.
Damage and Liability Insurance
On signing your documentation for your hire car check what type of insurance has been included in the price.  Standard car insurance does not normally include collision damage, theft or third party liability.  Another important thing to check is the excess as in some cases it can be extortionate should you wish to make a claim.  If you are not satisfied with the level of cover then request an option to upgrade the insurance. Some policies are available through your UK breakdown cover if you have it.
Petrol and Diesel
Hire car companies generally provide you with a full tank of petrol when you pick up your car and charge you for it. However some companies expect you to return the car empty which is a difficult thing to do. So if you are hiring a car for just a few days then it would be better to source an alternative company that requires you to return the car with a full tank of petrol/diesel.
Just How Far Can You Drive?
Most rental agreements allow unlimited mileage use however it is worth confirming this fact, if there is a restriction placed on the kilometres that you can do then make an approximate calculation of your movements and make sure that the mileage is within the limitation.
More than One Named Driver
If you plan to have someone as well as yourself driving then make sure that their name is added to the policy and that all their relative documents have been noted.
Travelling Outside Of The Pick Up Country
If you plan for example to pick up your hire car in Spain and travel around Europe check that your documentation and insurance allows you to be free to do so.
Contract Hire Conditions
You should be provided with the terms and conditions of your hire agreement, do not rush to sign anything before you have read and checked these.  If you are booking over the internet print them off and take them with you on your journey.
What If You Breakdown
If you are using a reputable hire company a breakdown is unlikely.  Check that the rental company has provided you with a number to call in the event of a breakdown.  In this part of Spain, the Costa Blanca, the service is very prompt and a recovery vehicle is normally with you within half an hour.
Credit Card Payments
Make sure that you are completely aware of what the hire car company is debiting your credit card with and once you return home or alternatively if you have use of the internet whilst in the Costa Blanca make sure that you check to see if any additional amounts other than those you are aware of have not been debited.
The Hire Car Agreement
Always carry the hire car documentation with you when in Spain as if you are stopped for some reason by the police then they will expect you to be able to produce not only your policy document and the attached agreement but also your driving licence.  Unlike in the UK where you are not expected to do this, here in Spain you could be subject to an on the spot fine if you are unable to present your documents on demand.
Child Seats
These days most parents with young ones are very particular about the type of car seat that they let their child travel in.  There are a wide variety of types of child seats on the market and many parents have researched and purchased what they feel is a suitable seat for their little boy or girl.  Airlines readily accept car seats so it is advisable for peace of mind to bring them along with you.  If you do not wish to do so the hire car companies can provide you with car seats for a nominal daily rate.  Children under 12 years of age are not allowed in the front seats.
Many car rental companies restrict the possibility of hiring of cars by both young drivers and elderly drivers.  Check the contract before you hire the car.
Car Collection
Inspect the car at your leisure and make a note of any scratches, dents or breakages, documenting them on the paperwork provided by the rental company that you will be asked to sign before setting off on your journey.  If you have a mobile phone or camera then take a photo or a video of any visible damage with the time and date noted.  If you have signed an agreement to collect the car full of fuel then switch the engine on and make sure that the gauge shows a full tank, not a nearly full tank.
Happy Touring!!
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, it simply transmits information related to legal issues.

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