You would think hiring a car when you travel abroad would be easy. I mean you just hire a car like you drive at home. Only the cars are different. Trying to work out what size car to book can be a nightmare. Originally my husband decided to hire a Galaxy sized vehicle. However, as we weren’t planning on doing huge amounts of driving, we felt that hiring a car that was bigger than our SMax was a waste. After a lot of research we opted for a car through Holiday Autos.
The price was reasonable and we added on damage waiver as recommend which was through AXA. I will come onto this later, but whilst I personally think it is a good idea to buy damage waiver, I wont be purchasing it through AXA again.
The car we received was a Volvo V60. It was perfect. Three booster seats fitted in the back and 2 suitcases in the boot. When it comes to booster seats I would thoroughly recommend taking them with you rather than hiring them. We have both the Trunki Boostapak and Bubblebum which are both good. We personally prefer to put our youngest in the Boostapak and the eldest on the Bubblebum.
The car was great for trips to the supermarket and small journeys. The only issue we had was that when we returned it there was a really light scratch to the side of the car. We had no idea how this had happened and as I said it was REALLY light. The guy checking the car said that it was probably someone walking past it in a car park that had scratched it with their bag. Either way, it was for this reason that we purchased damage waiver. We had to pay 500 euros and then could claim it back though AXA. Easy right?
No. Bloody hard. They made it as hard as they possibly could. They were only contactable via email at an interval of 10 days after each query. They asked for things that they didn’t ask for in their original claim. It was a nightmare. Back and fourth with emails. In the end it appears that the money was refunded from Europcar, presumably as the scratch was so light! So lessons have been learned. Next time we will be buying damage waiver directly from our hire car company. It may cost slightly more, but I believe it is easier than going through a third party.
What hire car companies do you recommend?