Car rental in Spain

Life in Spain Mon, 9 Feb 2015
Renting a car in Spain

If you have a property in Spain, there is chance that at some point you have hired a car here. Most people like to be able to travel around to get the real benefit of a holiday home.

If you live in Spain, you have probably been involved in hiring one for relatives or friends. So much easier, if they have the means of getting around without always needing you to take them places.

Who did you choose and how did you select them?

The process of finding the best deal is not an easy one. There are many car hire companies in Spain that are all vying for your attention. To do this they make sure that their daily rate is as low as possible and that their fleet finds its way up the car hire cost comparison charts.

The down side of this type of competition for car rental in Spain is that it might drive down the daily rate but ratchets up the on-costs. In order to make up their money the car hire companies find other ways of supplementing the cost, usually through their fuel and insurance policies.

Because of this it is very important that you are cautious before rushing to make your decisions about which car hire deal really is the best one for you.

Factors to take into account

Of course, price will be your first and probably foremost consideration. After that make sure you have checked what the cost will be for:

  • Fuel - there are enormous variations in the way in which car hire companies charge for fuel. Make sure you know exactly what their terms and conditions are. Including:
  • Do you start with a full tank and how much must you pay for it if you do?
  • What do they expect you to bring back – a full or empty tank?
  • Do you get reimbursed for any fuel you haven’t used?
  • How much do they pay for reimbursed fuel?
  • Insurance - most companies include a collision damage and/ or theft waiver. This means that you have some cover but that you will have excess to pay. Check what this excess is as it can be very high and may be blocked on your credit card until you return your hire car  
  • Additional excess waiver insurance - you may be encouraged to take this to cover you for the possible excess you will face if you do damage the car. If you opt not to take it out you might find that the excess is deducted from your credit card until you return your hire car damage-free
  • Additional administrative charges - this can be for making fuel arrangements or just for using your card. Airlines have also become very good at finding ways of bumping up their income with ad hoc. admin. fees
  • Extras such as child seats - charges for these vary enormously in price from 1€ to 5€ a day for a child safety seat. There is usually a maximum fee but even so, if you have a couple of children this doubles or even triples the cost of hiring your car.
  • Age of the driver - most insurance will cover drivers of 21 and over. However, some apply an extra charge for drivers between 21 and 25 – this can be up to 5€ per day. Do check, however, as some insurers stipulate that drivers must be over 25.
  • Additional drivers - again practice varies. Some companies include one or more additional drivers as part of the fee whereas others require you to pay extra on a day-to-day basis

There will be other additional options that you can consider - all of which will add to your final total. For example, some companies now offer a VIP or fast track route which means you do not have to queue up at the airport to get your car. However, don’t be seduced. You can end up with a deal far in excess of the original price that tempted you in the first place.

Brokers

It can be time-consuming looking around for the right car hire in Spain for you. However, there are brokers available who can cut out some of the ‘leg’ work. An increasing number of these try to make the additional costs of companies clear to their users.  

Some also offer their own insurance alternatives and/ or compare insurance packages for the transport you identify. They are worthy of consideration and some provide guides to the terms and conditions of the different car hire companies.

Some of the sites we have come across include:

Some of these such as Economy Car and Moneymaxim have introduced their own fair fuel policy to help users sift through the bad practice of some companies.

The companies that they are less likely to direct you to are the smaller local ones that don’t rely on their ‘add-ons’ to make their money.

Remember your local

Amongst the rush to reduce costs and find the cheapest, the small business can be forgotten. Yet these often provide the most personalised and transparent service and might just be what you’re looking for.

For example, Coys Rent A Car in Torrevieja are a local car hire company with one outlet. However, they are very popular in the local area due to their personal service and easy-to-understand hire policies. At first glance the cost might be more but if you look further into their terms and conditions you’ll discover that in comparison to many other companies:

  • Their excess, ranging from 300€ to 600€, is less  
  • Their excess waiver charge, at 2.50€ per day, is less
  • Their child car seats at 1€ a day are less
  • Their fuel policy makes sense – you have 20€ worth of petrol (included in the price) to start you off and you bring the car back empty

Added to this they have a website you can make sense of and find the terms and conditions without tears: Coys Rent A Car.

In the end...

It is down to your own personal preferences. For some people chasing the best bargain is what matters most. For others convenience, comfort and customer care are a priority. Ideally both should come hand in hand, but they rarely do.

In the meantime, do your research, check all the additions and make the decision that is right for you.

Comments

Why is there no mention of insurance charges for over 70's . My husband drives and we are being ripped off by certain companies whilst thos such as Hertz don' t charge extra. This really pushes up the cost of car hire for us. Thank you for your other information though.
Kathryn

Dear Kathryn,

Thanks for pointing this out. Younger and older drivers seem to be particularly vulnerable to additional charges. 

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