This guide has been designed to help the ‘Travel Portal’ consumer through the online booking process, to ensure that they book the right vehicle and are aware of any additional charges which will be applied.
These tips are generic for all online car rental reservations, regardless of the Travel Portal used and the vendor selected.
Please remember every travel portal is different and sometimes information is located in different places. Read all information carefully to avoid any unwanted extra costs.
► General Overview:
The overall cost of your car rental is determined by a number of different factors, but primarily:
- What you rent
- Where you rent
- How long you rent for.
Accordingly these 3 key questions are generally the first asked in the booking process and are used by Travel Portals to return the applicable quotes from the available vendors. Once the quotes have been returned ensure that you select a suitable vehicle (see `choosing the right vehicle for you’ for more details)
Searching for discounted rates can be done before or after the initial search using specific discount codes you may have.
► Choosing the Right Vehicle For You:
You will be requested to select your vehicle of choice generally by `car class’ which denotes the size of the vehicle.
Mini (smallest), Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full-Size, Premium and Luxury are the typical categories. Elite versions of these categories may also be available. Vehicles classified as Elite are superior to others of equal body size. The difference may be the engine size, performance, fixtures, features or any combination of these.
The Acriss members (Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and National) adhere to a standard coding system to ensure that when shopping for rates a like for like comparison can be made.
When the various quotes are returned you must then ensure that any other specifications required are met e.g.
- Car Type – 2-Door, 4-Door, Estate, Cabriolet, Minibus
- Transmission (manual or automatic) & Drive (ex. 4-wheel drive)
- Air-Conditioning & Fuel (ex. diesel)
- Special equipment: (ex. Satellite Navigation)
Please note that cars in the Mini (Smallest) category, although the cheapest, can be extremely small vehicles and unsuitable for families or 4 adults. It can be worth paying a little extra for a more comfortable experience.
► Mandatory Charges:
All rentals accrue mandatory charges, which are included in the estimated total price. Below is a breakdown of the general mandatory charges.
- VAT – Value Added Tax as imposed by the country of rental on services provided. VAT is chargeable on the total rental cost at the prevailing rate. VAT is NOT recoverable on services provided in the country where VAT applies.
- Vehicle Licence Fee – if applicable
- Airport Service Charge – if applicable
- Drop Off charge – An extra charge is usually applied if a car is returned to a different location from that where it was rented
► Additional Charges:
- Mileage/Kilometer charge – In most cases mileage/kilometer are unlimited but please check the details of your quote as extra charges can be accrued.
- Special Equipment charge – various equipment (e.g. child seats, ski racks) may be available at a charge
- Young driver surcharge – An extra charge is usually applied to renters aged up to 24, if renters of this age are allowed.
- Additional driver charge – additional drivers are permitted provided that they meet the same requirements as the renter with regard to driver’s licence and age. All additional drivers must be approved by the Car Rental company at the time of rental and applicable names added to the rental agreement. Additional charge may apply.
- Fuel –You can incur charges if you return the vehicle with an empty tank.
To avoid any unwanted charges the best thing to do is to return the vehicle the way you received it.
For pre-paid rates only (when payment is made prior to collection) there will generally be a cancellation fee which is applicable when a booking needs to be changed or cancelled. Please check this when making your booking.
► Insurance Options:
CDW – Collision Damage Waiver, this limits the renter’s and approved additional driver’s financial responsibility in the event of accidental damage incurred to the rented vehicle. Renters should be aware that they are responsible even if the car is damaged while parked.
TP – Theft Protection limits the renter’s and approved additional driver’s financial responsibility in the event of theft of the rented vehicle.
PAI – Personal Accident Insurance can be purchased at the time of rental. PAI’s key benefit is to cover the driver for his own accidents causing personal injury as well as providing faster payout to the renter for injury caused by third party drivers and which may take years to claim through the courts.
NB this is a summary of benefits. Full details available from the Car Rental Company and in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of the Rental Agreement
► Car Policies:
Remember to check the details of the rate you are booking from the `Car Policy’. This includes details of the rate inclusions, location, mandatory charges, additional charges and any restrictions.
The estimated total price of hiring the car may not necessarily be the total you pay due to extras. See the “Additional Charges” section for more details.
Age – A minimum and maximum age of renter applies to all rentals. The minimum age is usually 25 and the maximum 75. Customers who do not comply with these age limits must check the `Car Policy’ on their selection to check whether they qualify. Many vendors will allow renters between the ages of 21-24, however a `Young Drivers Surcharge’ may apply. If applicable, details of this can also be found in the `Car policy’.
Driver’s Licence – Renters must present a full and valid national (country of residence) licence at the time of rental. Licences in non Roman alphabet e.g. Arabic require presentation of an International Drivers Permit IDP as translation of the national licence. All drivers must have held the national licence for a minimum of 12 months.
It is always worth taking along a second form of identification – usually passport – when collecting a vehicle as sometimes this may need to be provided.
Some vehicles are not available through the Travel Portals. This includes disabled, prestigious and vans for example which can only be booked by contacting your travel agent or the car rental company directly.