Booking a hire car: It does not work without a deposit
When booking a hire car, a deposit must always be paid. This protects the landlord against vehicle damage due to improper handling, but also against accident damage or theft.
The amount of the deposit is often related to the value of the vehicle. When renting a Fiat Panda is usually a much lower deposit to pay than if it is to go on vacation with the Mercedes S-class or with the 7-series BMW.
Decisive for the amount of the deposit is also the country that is to be traveled with the hire car. A renter who books his car in Mallorca usually has to pay a lower deposit than the traveler who wants to travel with the car in southern Italy.
Deposit hire car mostly by credit card
To be able to pay the deposit, most landlords – also for insurance reasons – insist on a credit card. The amount due is blocked or debited via the credit card.
After returning the hire car, the money is released again or booked back if everything is in order at the car.
Renters should always make sure that the credit line on the card is sufficient to pay the deposit.
Attention to the availability limit
It is therefore advisable not to go on a big shopping spree with the card before renting a hire car. Then it can happen to the tenant that no more money is available to pay the deposit.
And even if the flight to the holiday was paid for with a credit card before the car was rented, the credit limit may be exhausted.
You can find out the amount of your credit limit from your credit card statement or ask your bank.
Increase credit line
Should you feel that the credit line for the trip is not enough, they may have the option to have it increased at short notice. Just speak to your bank adviser.
Credit card not covered – what happens?
With most tour operators, a covered credit card is the mandatory requirement to rent the car.
If it turns out at the rental station that the coverage amount is not sufficient, the rental company has the option to withhold the hire car and still charge you the full rental price.
Cash usually doesn’t help either. Reason: For one thing, rental companies’ insurers often insist on a credit card, otherwise you won’t be covered. For another, landlords want to avoid high cash balances in for security reasons.
Is there a way to still get the deposit back in case of damage?
If the car has sufficient insurance cover with no excess, no deposit will be charged even in the event of damage.
In this case, only a sum will be retained if, for example, the car was taken over with a full tank and returned empty.
How can I protect myself from rip-offs?
It’s important to make sure the landlord doesn’t withhold your security deposit because of damage you didn’t even cause.
That’s why you should inspect the car carefully before driving it for the first time. Have the landlord confirm any damage, no matter how minor, even if it’s just a scratch or a small dent.
When returning the car, you should also insist on a written confirmation that the car has no additional damage after the rental period.
You should also get written confirmation of the fuel level. Be sure to keep the paperwork until you know for sure that the deposit has been returned in full.
Drop off car during opening hours
The evidence becomes difficult if you throw the car key into the safe outside the opening hours of the rental station. Therefore, find out the opening hours of the station before handing in the car to be protected from surprises.
Don’t worry too much
In conclusion, however, an all-clear can be given here. The vast majority of hire car companies always work correctly and pay back the deposit without any problems. Especially with the big rental companies there are usually no problems.
However, if you have made a reservation with a small rental company with a name you are unfamiliar with, it is better to be a little too cautious than too careless.
Bail: What to consider
– Credit card present and covered
– Sufficient credit line
– Damage and fuel level confirmed in writing prior to rental
– Written confirmation of fuel level upon drop-off
– Written confirmation that renter did not cause damage to vehicle
– Keep confirmations until deposit is returned or released