Original Article written by: Munim Hamid
If you plan to rent a car on vacation, you are obliged to compare rental offers. But for many of us, it can get a bit confusing. The rental offers include different things in the prices they show, so in addition to not seeing the final price until you have made 99% of the reservation, you have to review multiple rates, insurance, and liability exemptions.
If you search and compare rental cars, the prices you see are the prices you are going to pay, with no surprises or hidden costs (the price may vary if you choose extra equipment such as GPS, child seats, etc.). We also tell you about the issue of insurance of partial exemption from liability for damages and civil liability against third parties (later we will see them in more detail), so that you have the essential insurance in advance. Easy peasy!
We’ve broken down specialized terminology to help you become a rental professional. We’ve also shared our top 14 tips for getting the best cheap rental deals available, so be sure to read carefully!
Insurance of partial exemption of responsibility for damages or exemption of franchise
Damage liability partial exemption insurance covers repair costs arising from damage to the vehicle in an accident, although it is not insurance as such. Unlike the exemption of franchise, which exempts you from paying any cost if the car is damaged during the rental period, the partial exemption of liability for damages insurance only covers the expenses incurred up to a limit stipulated in the rental conditions ( This limit is known as the franchise, and it is the amount of money that the driver must pay in the event of an accident).
For example, if your rented car has an excess of 300 dollars and the damage caused to the vehicle is 1000 dollars, you would only have to pay a maximum of 300 dollars (the insurance would cover the rest).
Franchise For Theft
The theft excess works like the partial exemption of liability for damages insurance, but instead of covering the damages, it covers the expenses derived from possible theft of the vehicle up to the stipulated excess.
Third-Party Liability Insurance
Third-party liability insurance covers damage to other vehicles, as well as third-party medical costs for which you or any other authorized driver are responsible. The rental conditions will establish the maximum coverage limit, which will depend on the rental company and the collection office.
Personal Accident Insurance
While third party liability insurance covers injuries and material damage caused to others, personal accident insurance covers the possible accidental death of the driver or passengers of the vehicle as well as medical expenses that must be paid in the event of an accident during the period rental (check your life insurance and private health insurance before hiring this at the rental office, because you may already have this coverage).
Liability Insurance Supplement
The liability insurance supplement is an extra coverage that protects you and all authorized drivers of the vehicle against third party claims for injuries and material damage. It can be contracted at the rental office and increases the maximum limit contracted in your third party liability insurance.
Roadside assistance offers you coverage if you have a problem or an unexpected emergency, such as: losing your keys, having to change a wheel, you cannot open the car, the battery fails, fuel needs, etc. It should not be confused with breakdown assistance, which is basic coverage that protects you in the event of a mechanical failure of the vehicle for which the driver is not responsible (check the breakdown assistance plans with the rental agency, because it could be included in the price).
Top 14 Tips
Whichever rental you choose, remember our 14 best tips to reserve your car with the greatest peace of mind.
1. Check with your insurance company and your bank about the coverage you have for rental cars. You may be able to get the same or better insurance from your insurance company for a little more (and you may already have some options covered, like personal accident insurance).
2. Make sure the rental car includes unlimited mileage. If not, you risk paying a reasonable sum when you return it.
3. Check whether or not the rental car is at the airport. You may have to go a long way to collect it.
4. Do not forget the three essential things to collect the car: driver’s license, credit card in the name of the driver, and proof of the reservation (and make sure that your credit card covers the excess or the deposit that will be required).
5. Find out if the rental company charges an extra for crossing borders if you plan to travel to other countries.
6. Read the contract carefully before signing. If there are charges that you don’t understand, ask them to explain them to you. If the total amount of the contract is higher than your reservation, you may have contracted additional insurance that you do not need involuntarily.
7. Check the vehicle for any damage and take pictures to record it before leaving.
8. Reserve a full-full car (you pick up the car with a full tank of fuel and return it full) if you do not want to pay supplements for fuel.
9. Ask the rental office where the nearest gas station is so you can fill up the tank before you return it.
10. Book well in advance and keep an eye out for special offers.
11. Take your own GPS and child seat. The daily costs of each add weight to the bill, and many airlines let you travel with a child seat (in addition to a stroller) for free.
12. Play with the reservation dates. Sometimes, adding a few hours or even a few days to complete a week allows you to take advantage of a special weekly or weekend rate (even if you pay the same price, those extra hours give you room in case of delays, etc.) But beware! Note that some companies charge you if you return the car before the agreed time! Ask when you pick up the vehicle.
13. Don’t lie or try to sneak it into the system. The insurance world is complex, and the last thing you want (if the worst happens) is to have to explain that you lied about your age or that you said you were a resident of another country because that made your rent cheaper.
14. Stand firm. Don’t let them scare you into buying extra insurance or additional charges at the rental office.
Now that you know everything, you can safely plan your next adventure, knowing that you are a total expert in comparing rental offers.