When do you book the rental car?
Dhe rule is: the earlier, the better – especially with a view to the summer holiday season. Because with the approach of the high season, the prices for this time steadily rise slightly.
After all: Compared to 2022, not only are more rental cars available, but the average prices in most holiday countries have also fallen, as comparison portals and rental car providers report. Nevertheless, if you wait until shortly before departure to book, you not only pay more. Sometimes the desired vehicle category is no longer available at the travel destination.
Tobias Ruoff, head of ADAC car rental, advises: “Those who want to drive a small vehicle or a family-friendly van in Italy, Spain or Portugal in summer should book immediately. Even off-road vehicles or convertibles on the Mediterranean or on holiday islands are quickly sold out.” Or they will probably be significantly more expensive with later bookings.
Book on vacation or rather from Germany?
The Automobile Club of Germany (AvD) advises booking the rental car and insurance from home – with a provider that is clearly aimed at German customers. Then German law is also applicable if there are problems. If you book the car on foreign sites or only at the holiday destination, foreign law applies. If you want to be on the safe side, check the imprint to see if it is a company with headquarters in Germany.
The use of comparison portals is recommended, according to the AvD. Models and conditions from different providers can be easily compared here using the search filters.
Pitfalls when booking with a local provider in the holiday country are usually lower liability amounts or liability exclusions and fewer consumer rights. In addition, the place of jurisdiction is always in the country in which the contract was concluded. This makes the enforcement of possible recourse claims in court more difficult or sometimes impossible for most holidaymakers.
What is the problem with insufficient amounts insured?
The sums insured for motor vehicle liability insurance, for example in the case of personal injury, can be significantly lower in some countries than in Germany. In the worst case, this can mean after an accident that the insured sum is not sufficient and you have to pay for it yourself, according to the advice portal Finanztip.
This is where the so-called Mallorca clause comes into play – an additional insurance for rental cars in other European countries, which increases the sum insured to at least the minimum level prescribed by law in Germany. In the case of personal injury, for example, it is 7.5 million euros.
It is possible that a Mallorca clause, which is officially called “insurance for the use of third-party vehicles that are subject to compulsory insurance”, is already included in your own car insurance or in a car protection letter. If you don’t have a car and therefore no car insurance or letters of protection, according to Finanztip it can also be booked in addition to an existing private liability insurance.
Anyone renting a car outside of Europe can take out a Traveler Policy, which works in the same way as the Mallorca clause.
If you have not made sure that you have such a policy, you should, according to the consumer advice centers, check whether one of the following insurance policies is at least stipulated in the rental car contract: LIS, EP, ALI and SLI – all stand for higher liability coverage amounts.
Is there anything else to consider when it comes to insurance?
From the point of view of ADAC car rental, a fully comprehensive policy with theft protection and no excess is advisable. You should therefore make sure that glass, rims and tires are also covered by the insurance, because damage occurs there most frequently.
Important: Insurance taken out for the booked rental car only applies to drivers who were specified at the time of booking. If someone else drives, there is no insurance cover.
Unlimited kilometers – is that necessary?
An important detail when booking: If you choose offers with limited kilometers, you should be very clear about the routes that you will cover on vacation. Otherwise it may end up being more expensive than you think because each additional kilometer costs extra, according to the AvD. Tariffs without limits are often only slightly more expensive. Not that you’re saving at the wrong end here.
What should you watch out for when refueling?
In order to avoid trouble here, you should attach importance to the “full-to-full” tank policy: you pick up the car with a full tank and return it with a full tank. The AvD warns that refilling by the landlord is expensive and is often charged at double or triple the gas station price.
What is important when picking up the car?
Check the rental car carefully and have dents or scratches recorded by an employee of the rental car company. To be on the safe side, you can also take pictures of them yourself with your smartphone.
Anyone who has already booked the rental car in advance should no longer sign any documents on site that are written in a language that they do not understand, according to the AvD. There is a risk that a new contract will be concluded with different conditions and according to the laws applicable in the holiday country.
If the deposit due for the rental car is blocked on the credit card when you pick it up, you should make sure beforehand that the limit on the card is sufficient, according to the consumer advice centers. Depending on the landlord, the deposit can be between 300 and 2300 euros. Also important: Knowing the PIN of his credit card – this is now almost always requested.