Whether you are a tourist eager to discover new destinations or a businessman in a hurry caught between meetings with other colleagues, without a personal means of transport, renting a car is the quick and easy way to save time and comfort. This guide will help you go through the whole rental process easily and avoid inconvenience and extra expenses.
- Choosing your rental car
The fleets of cars offered for hire by specialised companies offer numerous variants that adapt to any requirements of the applicants, requirements that are translated into selection criteria:
- Route covered – number of kilometres travelled and type of roads
- Number of people who will use the hired car
- Number of luggage to be taken on the journey
- Type of transmission desired
- Type of fuel used
For the last criterion, the fuel criterion, in order to keep the cost as low as possible and the impact on the environment as low as possible, the new Google Maps application can be used and by simulating the same route with cars with different engines, the most economical engine can be chosen.
The car that meets the above criteria can be coded according to the Standard Interline Passenger Procedure (SIPP) in a four-letter international code that helps you to find the car you want immediately in the offers of car rental companies:
- first letter – vehicle size
- second letter – number of doors
- third letter – type of transmission
- fourth letter – type of fuel and AC system
Example CDMR – 4/5 door compact class car with manual transmission and air conditioning
Table of SIPP codes
2. Choosing a car rental company
Once you have the car you want to hire, you can move on to the next step, which is to find the company that can offer the car. In almost all cases the search is done online and the results are divided between international networks and local rental companies, each with their relative pluses and minuses.
If the choice goes to international rentacar networks, this is because an international name can offer greater security throughout the rental process, better quality of service and cars. On the other hand, serious local firms may have offers that are better suited to the local market and lower prices.
Regardless of the desired company, international or local, it is good, if not necessary, to check it all online in terms of reliability, quality of service, available fleet and problems/solutions encountered/received by customers who have rented cars from the company in question. The procedure is the same as for choosing a hotel, the methods are similar, the basis being the reviews made by customers.
Comparison sites such as autoeurope.eu or rentalcars.com can also be used to quickly compare offers from different companies, but the best car rental prices can be found directly on the rental companies’ own websites.
Like any other car rental company, the company you choose has its own rental policy in the Terms and Conditions section, which is usually found in the footer of the company’s website. Before booking, in order to avoid inconveniences caused by certain rental conditions (e.g. mileage limitation, fuel policy) or additional charges (e.g. for pick-up/drop-off outside office hours) it is necessary to read this section carefully and if there are any questions, additional information can be requested before signing the car rental contract.
3. Car rental
With all the necessary data mastered, in the next step you can rent the right car from the desired company under known conditions. In most cases you will need a credit card to confirm your creditworthiness, but there are also companies that accept debit cards. In addition to the value of the rental service, there are usually two deposits/guarantees: one for possible accidents and one for fuel (the value of a full tank).
Particular attention should be paid to the insurance that accompanies the car. Standard insurance has a minimum price and is usually included in the rental price, but does not cover many of the incidents that may occur both in terms of cost and events. Full insurance saves you the headache and the hole in your pocket in the event of an accident with your rental car and can be taken out directly with the company or through a third party. It is mandatory that you notify the rental company immediately of any incident related to the car (accident, technical breakdown) before taking any other action.
Check the technical and optical condition of the car when you pick it up and, if possible, take as many photos of the car as possible from different angles so that, in the event of any discussions at the handover about scratches or dents to bodywork parts, you will have proof of the original condition when you picked it up. Before leaving, proceed as you would with your own car: check that everything is in order, that there are no lights on, that the mirrors are adjusted, that the seat is in a comfortable and correct driving position, etc.
When handing over the car make sure you arrive on time at the place stated in the contract to avoid paying extra charges and with the fuel tank as per the contract (usually the fuel policy is full-to-full, so the tank must be full).
This article has hopefully given you the minimum useful information about car hire, we will continue with articles detailing this service.
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