Here at DriveSpain, we want your car hire experience to be as hassle-free as possible. If you haven’t already seen it, check out our guide on what to look for when booking a car hire. In this post you’ll find our guide on what to do when collecting a car hire

What to do when collecting a car hire

Patience is a virtue and this is especially true when collecting a car hire. Of course, it’s easier said than done with some factors out of your control such as a delayed flight. And it’s no fun when you finally land and are confronted by long queues at the car hire desk. But where being patient is really important is when you do reach the front of the queue. Here, we take you through our top tips for making collecting a car hire as hassle-free as possible.

First… is it possible to avoid a long queue?

During busy holiday periods, queues can very quickly build up at car hire desks. For the most part, they are, unfortunately, hard to avoid. Some desks will seem lots busier than others. That is probably because lots more people were attracted to the same things you were (cheaper prices and/or a good reputation for instance).

We recommend heading straight to the car hire desk as soon after landing as you can. If you’re travelling with other people, it’s a good idea to split up with the driver(s) going straight to the car hire desk and everyone else waiting for luggage (or grabbing a drink at a cafe in the Arrivals Hall). Another tip is to re-read the conditions of the agreement in your booking voucher whilst you wait. This will make doing the paperwork easier when you do get to the desk as a lot of it will appear in the agreement you are required to sign.

And as we noted in our guide to booking a car hire, some suppliers do also offer a faster check-in service but there may be an additional charge or you may have to book it as part of an all-inclusive deal.

Read the agreement before you sign it!

This is where it really does pay to be patient. When you get to the desk, DO take care to read through and make sure you understand the agreement. Remember that it’s a contract and when you sign it, you’re signing up to everything on it. Understandably, language can be a barrier so if the agreement is not in English, ask for an English translation.

Things to pay particular attention of:

Check for any additional charges and ask for an explanation

If you spot a charge that you don’t understand or didn’t ask for, ask the supplier to remove it. Some people only realise they’ve been charged for something after they return from holiday and it’s virtually impossible to get a refund on a charge that you signed up to in the agreement.

Avoid the hard-sell

A big way for suppliers to make their money is through selling their additional insurance. And they’ll employ hard-sell tactics to sell it to you. The best way to counter this is by doing your homework in advance. See our guide to car hire insurance.

Already bought additional insurance? Don’t pay for it twice!

And if you have chosen to buy additional insurance elsewhere to cover the excess, make sure you don’t also buy the supplier’s own! DO also make sure it isn’t in the agreement. We have had countless customers say they didn’t purchase the supplier’s own insurance but find that the insurance appears on the contract. Like we said, it really does pay to make sure you read and understand everything on the agreement.

Check the car properly against the paperwork

When you do get to your car, DO make sure  you check it properly against the paperwork. Note down any marks or issues that aren’t already in the paperwork and get a member of staff to sign it off for you. It’s also worth taking pictures or a video of the car so you have evidence of its condition when you picked up. You should do this again when you return it.

Look after the car

DO also look after the car. Even if you have excess insurance, you are still liable for looking after the car as per the agreement. And you are fully liable for any damage or loss due to driver negligence. DO also make sure you have all the relevant documents with you in your car – that includes your licence, the agreement and your insurance policy if you have one.

And finally… DO enjoy your holiday!

Here’s some of our other car hire guides: