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Renting a car when visiting Ibiza

Posted by Sunuti on December 21, 2017
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If you are planning visiting Ibiza there is so much to see and do that renting a car is almost a must!  The island of Ibiza has a huge array of activities to offer from water sports to walking trails, to superb restaurants, bars and nightclubs. By hiring a rental car, you will not be limited to where the tour buses go with their scheduled stops but will have the freedom to fully explore this stunning Mediterranean island.  You will be able to visit the more secluded and less populated areas including the many secret beaches that are all over the island, even stopping for a romantic dinner at a small local restaurant. It would also be amiss to not watch a breath-taking sunset from one of the picturesque roads on the northern tip of the island. You will be free to fully explore the rich culture of the island and its many historical sites and museums, being able to go from the ancient tombs of Necròpolis del Puig des Mollins back to San Antonio to dance at some of the world’s hottest nightclubs.

If you are interested in renting a hire car to help you get the best from your time in Ibiza here is simple guide as to what to do and what to avoid:

Plan ahead and do your homework to keep costs down

Like booking a holiday, if you leave booking car hire to the last minute the prices tend to have crept up, particularly the closer to your departure date you book and during the school holiday period. You could also find a problem finding the model of car that you need if you leave your booking until the last minute as popular family cars and jeeps for two people tend to go early. There are many different choices of insurance cover and conditions of hire which can make it hard to make the right choice, so it doesn’t help if you leave it to the last minute.

So, the best advice is to plan ahead and do your homework to keep costs down as you will have the time to work out the total cost, including fixed and optional extras, and can compare prices and terms between suppliers. Prices can, and do, vary on a daily basis so make sure you don’t miss out on a good deal by giving yourself enough time to shop around which will undoubtedly give you the best chance to save money too. Going online to make reservations for car rental is usually cheaper, as you can shop around to compare inclusive prices and what needs to be paid extra.

If you leave hiring a car until the last minute when you land at Ibiza airport you won’t know if you are getting a good deal, and after waiting in line for an hour, you will be very unlikely to be in the mood to read the terms and conditions carefully before taking the car keys which worst case scenario could leave you in hot water.

Ensure that your chosen company is a member of European Car Rental Conciliation Service

Whatever car hire company you choose always ensure that the hire firm is a member of the European Car Rental Conciliation Service (www.ecrcs.eu). This scheme acts as an arbiter in disputes that cannot be resolved and ECRCS members agree to be bound by the decisions of the conciliation service.  It is free to consumers, but be aware that it is run by the car rental industry therefore has its limitations. Ensure that you know precisely what is and is not included in the rental, and be especially wary of small local firms.

Always purchase car insurance but don’t fall prey to insurance rip-off

When renting a car in Ibiza, you must purchase car insurance to ensure that you are covered should your rental car be stolen or your re involved in an accident.

Many of the car hire companies stipulate that the driver must be of a minimum age, such as 18 or 19 for the mini or economy categories of cars and 25 for large type vehicles for example.  Some do have strict policies with regard to upper age limits and we strongly recommend that you enquire at the time of booking if such age restrictions apply as this will affect your insurance. For example, younger drivers are often charged an additional daily rate to cover the extra insurance needed.

Be aware that adding extra drivers mean extra charges! The car hire companies are well aware that many holidaymakers will want to share the driving with a spouse/friend/family member. In the past an extra driver on the policy was part and parcel of the car hire package but his is no longer for the vast majority of car hire firms!  Now you can be charged more than £10 a day to have someone share the driving with you, though most firms have a charge cap that keeps the cost down for longer breaks.  The charge is generally paid when you collect your rental car and sometimes you won’t know how much until you get there so be surety budget for this extra charge.

Scare tactics are a tried-and-trusted sales technique for some car hire companies as they are fully aware that nothing is more worrying to a motorist than the threat of being forced to pay thousands of pounds if there is an accident or the car is stolen.  As a result some will quote a huge excess figure and you will be told that your insurance will not cover the hefty excess and that you should buy the car hire firm’s own policy – a very persuasive tool to sell you extra insurance!  This extra cover can also be very confusing as some policies will cover the excess, some will cover windscreen repair/replacement, windows and tyre damage, and some firms will also try to sell personal accident or belongings cover that duplicates your travel insurance.

Avoid the hard-sell, do your homework and buy full excess-waiver insurance independently before you go to Ibiza and you won’t need any further cover from the car hire company. There are currently some very good deals available covering excess, wheels, windscreen/windows, mis-fuelling, lost keys and breakdown starting at just over £30 for two weeks of cover.

While the crime rates on Ibiza are relatively low they do involve petty theft and holidaymakers are and easy target for those with bad intentions. Purchasing insurance will provide security in the event that if your rental car is broken into or even stolen you are fully covered.

Always pay for your car rental with a credit card

Car hire firms will usually want to take a deposit or copy of a card.  Never give them your debit card, as this potentially gives them access to your bank account. Plus, you have more protection with a credit card if there are any disputes as the protection offered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 makes the credit card supplier jointly liable in the case of disputes.

In addition this will provide a buffer between when the car hire company charges money to your card and when the credit card company takes money from your account. This buffer will allow you time to dispute a transaction and have it frozen while it is investigated.

When it comes to paying, always insist that you are charged in the local currency, the currency used in Ibiza is the Euro.  Some car hire companies convert their charges into sterling for you at an unfavourable exchange rate which will therefore cost you more money.

Fuel – why a full tank is best

There are generally two ways that fuel can be supplied by car hire companies:

  • Supplied full, return full – you pay for only what you need but you will have to find a petrol station close to the place to where you are returning your hire car.  Be aware that many car hire companies will make a substantial service charge if you do not return the car with a full tank.
  • Supplied full, return ’empty’ – you pay up-front for a full tank and return the car as empty as you dare.  This can be good value if you are planning on doing a lot of driving but not great value when hiring a car in Ibiza as the island is only 220 square miles and most destinations are less than a 40-minute drive away.

For car hire in Ibiza a full tank supplied and returned full is the best option but not only due to mileage considerations but also to avoid the car rental company profiting from you. Many car hire firms will provide a full tank of fuel and tell you to return the car empty as they will suggest that this is more convenient. In fact, it’s a way of profiting from every customer. They charge top prices for the full tank and then most people leave around a quarter of a tank. So when the car hire firm fills up for the next customer they just have to put in three-quarters of a tank.  The lost petrol may have cost you, for example, between £15 and £20. If the car rental company does this to 100 customers a week it will make an extra £2,000 or around £100,000 a year. So wherever possible, arrange to return the car full of petrol and don’t pay for that tank at the outset.

Always thoroughly check your allocated hire car. . . . then check again

It is essential that no matter what you take a very good look at your hire car when you collect it.  If you spot any damage, dents, scratches or other marks externally or internally make a note of it and point this out to the attendant who is handing the hire car over to you Insist that he/she notes this damage on their paperwork and that you are given a copy. Take photographs of any problems that you have noticed, if possible with a mobile phone that automatically adds the date and time to the image.

You should also check that the car has the correct safety equipment such as a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, high-visibility jackets, and spare bulbs which are compulsory.  If you fail to carry the required safety equipment you, as the driver, will be held responsible and could face prosecution.

If you feel at all uncomfortable about the car, or if you discover a defect, contact the rental company office straight away and exchange it as soon as possible.

When you return your hire car check it once more very carefully again and, if there are staff available ask that they accompany you to make the checks. If however there is no staff available, once again take photographs of your hire car the car using your mobile phone to get pictures with the time and date.

Always return the car keys to a secure location. If you are asked to post the keys into the letter box, do not hand them to just anyone, even if they do look official as thieves could be pretending to be staff of car hire companies. Car rental companies have been known to hold drivers responsible when cars have been stolen in this way.

If you have small children always take your own child car seat

If you have a baby or toddler that needs a car seat be prepared for the possibility of hefty charges for baby or booster seats. Plan ahead and take your own child car seat to avoid these charges. There are booster seats available that double as a back-pack and can be taken on the plane as hand luggage as some airlines may not allow you to take larger child seats on the flight.  Again check this with your chosen airline before departing for Ibiza to avoid having to leave your car seat at a UK airport.

Ensure that you have your driving licence and code 

In 2015 the DVLA got rid of the paper counterpart to the Photocard licence (which shows all your driving offences) as all driving licence records are now held online. When hiring a car in the past this was the part that rental companies requested to see.

The vast majority of car hire companies will ask to check your driving licence record so it is best to check if this is required before you leave for your holiday in Ibiza. We recommend printing your own driving licence record and also getting a code from the DVLA’s ‘share driving licence’ service. The code will be valid for 21 days and gives a car rental company one-off access to your online driving licence record if they request to see it.

If for some reason you have been unable to get the code, then the hire car company will be able to contact the DVLA on your behalf. You can give permission for the hire firm to call the DVLA but it may then charge you an administration fee to cover the charges for any international calls that have to be made.

Finally…. remember that any driving offences will follow you home

When you rent a car on holiday there is no holiday from the law!  Speeding fines or =other driving offences will always follow you home as the car hire firm has your UK address.  And, obviously, don’t think you can get away with drink-driving, either. The police in Ibiza are very pedantic when it comes to enforcing driving laws. For instance speeding and other offences could very well land you with an on-the-spot fine so you need to always carry local currency.

It is just as dangerous and unacceptable abroad as in the UK to drink and drive and the limit in Ibiza is 0.5mg, which is in fact less than in the UK. Therefore just one large beer could well push you over the drink-drive limit, and with random tests commonly taking place all over the island, the risk is simply too high.

If you are involved in a driving accident be sure to follow the rules laid down by the car rental company. This may involve reporting it immediately to them and to the police, depending on the severity of the incident and you will probably need a written police incident report.

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