Getting the best Car Hire Package?
There is no doubting the benefits of hiring a car when you get to your holiday or business destination; but finding the best car-hire firm to suit your individual requirements can take time and effort – and to be honest, who has too much time on their hands these days. Hiring a car on the spur of the moment in resort is never a great idea, as you immediately limit your choice and flexibility.
So where to book your car-hire? The solution probably lies with one of several car-hire ‘brokers’ who negotiate attractive rates with international and local car-hire firms particularly in destinations popular with holiday makers.
I caught up with Melanie Taylor who is Social Media Manager for Auto Europe and asked her what exactly a broker was.
“Auto Europe is a car hire broker. This means that we have a large number of suppliers that we use and can source the best deal for your trip.” She replied.
She explained that the broker doesn’t own any cars and the vehicle that the customer books is provided by one of the company’s suppliers.
“When you book via the website you will see next to the car hire rate which supplier you are booking with and the information will also be shown on your voucher.” She added.
This means that they are not restricted by location or staffing issues. Auto Europe offer over 8,000 locations worldwide including small downtown locations and international airports.
So why book with Auto Europe?
‘We have already done the hard work for the clients. We have great rates for a wide range of vehicle groups at every location.’
One of my biggest concerns when hiring a car is insurance; what I need and what I don’t need. Whilst I understand that car hire suppliers needs ‘security’ from a client (as they are handing over an expensive new or nearly new vehicle to them), I think clarity is all that people ask for!
Melanie concedes that “different suppliers have different rules on how they take this; some will freeze an amount on your credit card and some may debit the amount and return it in full when you have brought the car back to them in good condition; but we always clearly identify the ‘excess’ amount is on the Auto Europe voucher.”
To clarify further “we have two different packages that can help with the ‘excess’ amount.”
There is an Excess Refund package, under which Auto Europe will reimburse any excess paid to the supplier for accidental damage. Or the best option for those with any doubts being the Zero Excess package (not available in every destination) which ensures that the customer doesn’t need to worry about paying any excess at all.
“These packages will be displayed next to the car hire rates on our site so that you can view them before booking, or if you speak to the call centre they will give you the different options.”
The key apparently is to be confident in the package you have purchased and not to be swayed into supplementary payments in resort by commission hungry sales staff.
Melanie feels that clients should check their personal and holiday insurance carefully to ensure they know what additional accident, health or liability insurance might be required. “The main factor is to fully understand what insurance you have when you arrive at your destination, that way you will not double up on insurances.”
She is also keen to stress how important it is to check the vehicle before driving away from the depot. Check the tyres and check the paintwork for scratches or bumps. If possible take photos and raise any issues with the local staff. “Some depots can be large in size and very busy so it may happen that a vehicle was not checked thoroughly on its return from the previous client. It’s worth taking that extra 5 minutes to check any pre-existing damage and noting down on the paperwork.”
Once you are in possession of the vehicle it is also worth taking a little time to familiarise yourself with the dashboard, switches and features of the car. I for one am always digging the instruction manual out at the first refuelling stop trying to find the release for the petrol cap!
Accidents can happen and it is important as much as possible not to panic. “You should first alert the local authorities and then the car hire supplier. The supplier will arrange a tow vehicle if that is necessary and advise you on what needs to happen next. It’s important to keep any paperwork that may be given to you in regards to the damage and this will help you with any insurance claim.”
Melanie has been working with Auto Europe for 8 years working initially out of their Sydney office before returning to the UK in her present role.
Her ideal holiday vehicle would be a motor-home which she would love to take on an extended North American road trip, when she can build up holiday days in lieu!
For more information contact Auto Europe