Worried something will go wrong at the car rental desk? Read this list before you go.

A Checklist for Car Rental in Europe Customers

By Andy Bestor

So you've made your Europe car rental reservation, and your trip is fast approaching, but you fear that upon your weary arrival something will go wrong at the rental desk. Even the most savvy travelers have encountered problems. You will need to be on your toes. Begin by reading this valuable checklist:

Before You Go

  • Read your voucher carefully. This document covers all vital aspects of your rental. Some details may not be discussed through email or telephone correspondence.
  • Print extra copies of your voucher. Stash them with other important travel documents and you will always have contact information for both the rental company and Auto Europe at your fingertips.
  • Local charges, know what to expect. These can include road tax, airport tax, additional drivers, optional insurance, and any optional equipment you request. Local charges vary by country, location, and company. Know what they are before you go. That way, there are no surprises.

At the Pick-up Location

  • Present your auto rental voucher. There have been several cases in which clients had multiple bookings with the same supplier (maybe they made a reservation online which was never canceled), which caused confusion. If a rental voucher is not presented, the rental agent may locate the wrong reservation and a different—higher—rate could be charged.
  • Call our toll-free-from-Europe help line. Most issues that arise at the rental counter can be solved in minutes via our toll-free, 24/7 customer service help line (the number is under Terms & Conditions in your voucher) Say, for example, you have booked an automatic transmission car, yet one is not available when you arrive. Call the number. Promised an upgrade, but the rental agent offers a Lupo? Call the number. It's your safety net. We're on your side and will take steps to ensure you get what you have paid for.
  • Decline insurance. Most credit cards issued by North American banks offer CDW/Theft protection for auto rental in most of Europe. There are exceptions like Italy and Ireland, where the customer must purchase full-coverage. In all other countries, we recommend that clients decline CDW/Theft in favor of the coverage offered by the credit card. Call your credit card issuer for details.
  • Decline pre-paid fuel. Prepaid fuel is a bad deal. The offer works this way: you pay for the first tank and return the car empty. Not as easy as it sounds and who wants to be driving around on fumes, especially when driving to a European airport to catch a flight home. Any fuel left in the tank at the end of the rental is yours, but you won't get a refund.
  • Inspect the car. If the car is dirty inside or out, refuse it. Check for obvious and not-so-obvious damage (even small scratches). Make sure any damage is noted in writing. If you have a digital camera, it's a good idea to take a picture of the car from all sides. Visually inspect tires for wear and inflation level.
  • When in doubt, call the toll free help line.

The End of the Rental

  • Return the car full of gas. If pre-paid fuel is a not a good deal, then the cost of having the rental company fill the tank is an horrific deal. They will approximately double the price you pay at a normal retail filling station.
  • Keep your fuel receipt. Even if you just top-off the tank and pay in Euros, you NEED a receipt. If the agent marks the tank 1/8 down and they charge $15 per gallon for re-fuel, your receipt is the only proof otherwise.
  • Inspect the car again. Be sure no new dents or dings are present. If you are returning after-hours, take a few pictures of the car as proof of its condition.
  • Get proof in writing that the car was returned full of gas and with no damage. This can be tricky and sometimes impossible which raises the importance of the items above.

Unexpected and unnecessary charges on a European car rental are a miserable way to remember a vacation. Avoid this by following our auto rental checklist.

The Bestor family cares about the quality of your travel experience. Contact us via e-mail or phone and become a part of our extended family of happy travelers.

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