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Rental car: what to consider?

A rental car is also called a hire car. However, this designation does not do justice to the legal intention, because a loan is free of charge according to §598 BGB (German Civil Code). Whereas renting describes a transfer of use with a fixed payment. If car rental companies nevertheless use the term rental car, the legal provisions of the rental law will take effect.

A classic case, in which a rental car is used, is the vacation trip. The flight to a foreign city or a distant country limits the mobility on the spot enormously, especially when public transport is not an alternative. In order to remain flexible on the road, car rental companies offer the possibility of renting a car on the spot for a certain period of time.

Typical rental car companies

  • Europcar
  • Avis
  • Hertz
  • Budget
  • Sunny cars
  • Enterprise
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty
  • Alamo
  • Dollar

Which rental car for which needs?

Before you decide to rent a car, you should consider a few points.

Conditions on the spot

Choose your rental car according to your route. It makes a difference to the engine of the vehicle whether you are travelling in a straight line or on a mountain tour. If you choose an appropriate vehicle, you will also perceive a significantly better driving experience. For example, a car for the alps has to meet different requirements than a rental car for mallorca.

Always adapt your car rental booking to the weather conditions. It’s no use renting a fancy convertible for an extra charge if you can’t open the top due to the rainy season at your vacation destination. If there is snow, the rental car should also be equipped with snow chains and winter tires. Be sure to find out such important information before you rent a car.

Who sits at the wheel?

Think about who will be driving the car before you make the reservation. Most car rental companies only rent their vehicles to people over 21 years of age. However, there are exceptions for so-called young drivers, in which the vehicle is given to drivers over 18 years of age for an additional fee.

Some rental stations then limit the vehicles that can be selected, so that no particularly expensive models can be driven. If more than one traveler is to be registered as a driver, it is not uncommon to have to pay for additional drivers. In the end, it is important that the driver feels safe when driving a rental car.


How many people travel? The size of the rental vehicle depends largely on the number of travelers and luggage items. The smaller the rental car, the less space there is for luggage – logical. The number of seats in a vehicle does not say anything about the size of the luggage compartment or about additional space in the car. Therefore, you should clarify in advance how many suitcases, backpacks and bags will be carried along.

Duration of the trip

This point follows directly from the previous one, because the length of the vacation is also important for the size of the car to be rented. If the vehicle is only used as a transport solution from the airport to the hotel, it must meet different needs than a rental car that is the basis for a 4-week road trip.


You are on vacation. Don’t sacrifice comfort just because you want to save money. In warm regions, air conditioning should be fitted as standard. Do you need a navigation system or a child seat for your offspring?? Be sure to book such additional extras to your rental car if needed.

Rental conditions: fuel regulations and damage claims

What does full/full mean? This fuel regulation means that you pick up the rental car with a full tank and return it with a full tank. This is the cheapest option for you as the user, because you only pay for the fuel you actually use. If you are offered the full/empty refueling option, it may seem tempting at first because you don’t have to refuel again.

But beware: if you return the car empty, the car rental company will have to refuel the car and you will often have to pay a high fee. We therefore recommend that you always pay attention to the full/full rule when renting a car.

You should also look for the lowest possible deductible in the event of damage to the rental vehicle. A fully comprehensive insurance should be obligatory, in order to have no high costs in case of damage.

Advantages of renting a car

  • A high flexibility allows spontaneous trips at any time
  • Remote places can be reached more easily at the destination
  • Rental cars are usually cheaper in total than booked excursions
  • Comfortable transfer from the airport to the booked accommodation

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