Car Rental in Spain can lead to the motorist being misled and overcharged in
a variety of ways, by unscrupulous dealers. Knowing the "tricks of the trade"
and how they may be avoided makes the process less anxiety-provoking and often
far less expensive.
Booking A Hire Car
Booking your Car Rental prior to travelling usually results in cheaper rates and a
wider range of vehicles from which to choose. This is particularly important as
the "credit crunch" has led to shortages of hire cars in popular European
holiday destinations, including Menorca. When booking, be certain to obtain,
read carefully and retain the "Terms & Conditions" of any hire agreement.
Spanish law requires drivers to be at least 18 years of age, but hire companies
usually require a minimum age of 21 and may add hefty surcharges for drivers
Insurance is an important consideration and the premise of many "rip-off
merchants." Even the most basic policy should include cover for 3rd Party
Liability, fire, theft and collision damage. It is vital to check the insurance
cover carefully as many only provide cover for the immediate locale and carry
ridiculously high excesses (reportedly up to £5000). If this is the case, a
further, improved policy, covering both the excess and a wider travel area is
well worth considering.
Mileage and Fuel
Better car rental agreements allow for unlimited mileage, but some have a mileage
"cap," which incurs a substantial extra charge if exceeded. Additionally, some
hire firms require payment for a full tank of fuel on collection. If the rental
period is only a few days, cheaper alternatives are available.
Collecting the Car
On collection of a hire car, read carefully any documentation that requires a
signature. DON`T allow yourself to be hurried, as many have reported signing up
for unwanted additions, along with apparently "bargain" extras, failing to
realise that the rates quoted were "per day", not for the duration of the
rental period. Seemingly obvious, but often overlooked, is that a car supposed
to be full of fuel should read "full" on the fuel gauge. Make a thorough
internal and external examination of the hire vehicle, ensuring that any
damage, however minor, is noted on the vehicle inspection report. Spanish car
hire firms are reportedly notorious for providing vehicles with no user manual
and many fail to provide an emergency `phone number and advice to drivers as to
appropriate procedures in the case of breakdown. Furthermore, travellers report
that hire firms often fail to provide mandatory emergency equipment such as
warning triangles and reflective jackets. These are required by l
aw in the case of breakdown and hire firms MUST provide them.
Returning the Car
Many companies stipulate that vehicles must be returned with a full fuel tank
and charge the proverbial "arm and a leg" for refuelling otherwise. Record the
vehicle`s mileage on return, attend any vehicle inspection and obtain a copy of
the final report. Several drivers have reported credit card charges many months
after hiring a car, so keep all receipts in case of dispute.
Such problems will probably not occur when taking advantage of cheap car hire from Menorca
airport at Mahon, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.