Always wondered why a deposit is required by car rental companies? Find out why you leave a deposit when you hire a car, how to pay for it and (most importantly) when you will get it back.
Why do you have to pay a deposit?
Car hire deposit amount can be anything from €200/€250 to €500 in some cases even more. The amount depends on the type of car, the country you are renting in and the car rental company. The deposit is usually around the same amount as the excess on your car’s Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection policies (the excess is the most you would have to pay towards repairing or replacing the car if it got damaged or stolen).
How will you pay the deposit?
Most companies will block the deposit on the main driver’s credit card. You won’t be able to use anyone else’s card. ‘Blocking’ the deposit means that while the money isn’t taken from the card (so it won’t appear on your bill), you won’t be able to spend it until it’s unblocked. So it does count towards your spending limit.
A few rental companies (mostly in the UK and Spain) will also accept a debit card in the main driver’s name. If you pay your deposit with a debit card, the money will actually come out of your account, so you will see it on a bank statement.
Very few rental companies accept cash or cheques. They tend to be local companies with a few cars each.
When will you get the deposit back?
It usually takes 15 working days to get your deposit back after you return the rental car. Bigger companies with better systems are closer to the five-day mark, especially if you rent at quieter times. It can take longer during summer holidays and at Christmas and Easter.
How can you reduce the deposit?
If you are keen on a particular car but you think the deposit’s too high, you could look for a car from a different rental company. Even if the two cars are very similar, the other company might require a much smaller deposit.
At the counter, companies usually offer to reduce the deposit (and excess) if you buy extra cover or insurance from them. Do read the paperwork carefully and be aware of the price before you commit to buying extra cover.
How can you avoid paying a deposit?
Some rental companies will even reduce your deposit (and excess) to zero if you buy extra cover or insurance at the counter. However, if you buy insurance or cover to reduce your excess to zero, you still might have to leave a deposit to cover fuel and extras such as a child seat or GPS device.
Source: Rental Cars
Photo Credits: Shutterstock
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