FEES AND ADDITIONAL COSTS

Car Equipment

Car equipment appears on car rental contracts as: Car Rental Equipment (GPS, child seats, winter tires, etc.), Add-Ons, Extras.

Typically Costs: €5 to €15 per day, per item

There is always the option of additional equipment to your rental depending on your needs or preferences. The most common include GPS units, child seats, snow chains, ski racks, and portable WiFi devices, but there may be other options offered as well. Charges for additional equipment is usually on a per-day basis, and prices will vary depending on the supplier you use; add-ons will always cost extra and need to be paid for at the counter and subject to VAT, unless your quote or contract clearly states them as included in the price. Also, be careful to take care of the accessories you add on because you will have to pay a replacement fee for any loss, damage, or theft of the item.

It is important to note that, while extra equipment is optional and you generally decide whether to include it or not, many countries in Europe have laws regarding child seats that require children under a specific age and/or size to have one. It`s important to check ahead for local child seat laws, this can save you a hefty fine and, more importantly, keep your kids safe on your journey abroad!

Car Rental Fuel Policy

Car rental fuel policy appears on car rental contracts as: Full to Full, Full to Empty.

Typically Costs: Local price of fuel

The car rental fuel policy will determine how any existing fuel your rental car comes with will be paid for when you pick it up. When the policy is full to full, you will pay nothing up front but will be expected to return the vehicle with a full fuel tank as well; you will be charged for any fuel missing when the vehicle is returned. If your rental includes a full to empty fuel policy, you will pre-pay a given amount for a full tank of fuel and you can return the vehicles as close to empty as possible without incurring additional fuel costs.

Optional fuel policies are generally a matter of preference, but be aware that all rental companies will charge a premium for any type of fuel, usually based on the highest price per liter available in the area. In order to save on fuel charges, opt for a full to full policy when available, fill up the rental car before you return it, and retain a copy of the receipt for your records. It may be a bit less convenient to have to make a fuel stop just before dropping off, but that little bit of extra work can save you some money on the premium rates you will have to pay for a tank of gas through a full to empty policy.

Driver Fees

Driver fees appear on car rental contracts as: Additional Driver Fee, Young Driver Surcharge, Senior Driver Fee (requires doctors note).

Typically Costs: €5 to €20 per day

Driver fees may be added onto your rental depending on the age and number of drivers you wish to have registered to drive the rental car. Typically, if you plan to register additional people to drive the rental car aside from the primary driver to whom the rental is listed under, an `additional driver fee` will be assessed on a per-day basis. In some cases, a free additional driver will be included in a given quote; if this is the case, it is always clearly stated along with the rest of your rental details.

The age of a prospective driver can also potentially incur extra fees on your rental. If you`re a driver under 25 years old, it is likely that you will be charged an extra €15 to €25 per day as a `young driver surcharge` to recoup the additional insurance risks posed by younger drivers. On the opposite end of the spectrum, although far less common, some rental companies will charge extra for drivers over the age of 75.

Limited/Unlimited Mileage Car Rentals

Limited/Unlimited mileage car rental appears on car rental contracts as: Limited Kilometers.

Typically Costs: €0.50 to €2 per additional kilometer

If your car rental includes unlimited mileage/kilometers, then you have no worries; you can cover as much ground as you`d like in your rental car without incurring any extra fees! Some rental rates, however, may be specified as `limited mileage,` in which case you will be charged extra if you drive the car farther than an allotted distance. Limited mileage rentals usually come with 60 to 200 miles per day, after which you will have to pay an extra fee per additional miles driven.

VAT Car Rental Tax

VAT car rental tax appears on car rental contracts as: VAT Tax, Value Added Tax

Typically Costs: 15% to 30%, depending on country

What you need to know: VAT (or Value Added Tax) is a standard European sales tax that varies among different nations in Europe. The minimum allowed VAT rate is 15%, but individual countries can set their rates higher, and some will charge up to 27%. You will have to pay VAT on your rental rate (whether or not it is prepaid), as well as any other extra equipment charges or local fees you are charged for at the rental desk, including one-way fees, insurance costs, and location surcharges. Unlike VAT tax paid on goods, clothing, and souvenirs, which can be reclaimed at the airport upon your departure, you cannot reclaim any VAT taxes you pay on a car rental.

Local Rental Car Taxes

Local rental car taxes will appear on car rental contracts as: Road Tax, Vehicle License Fee, Environmental Fee/Eco Surcharge, Credit Card Processing Fee, Road Safety Fee.

Typically Costs: €1 to €5 per day

What you need to know: Depending on the type of vehicle you rent, the location you rent it in, and which supplier you choose to rent from, local rental car taxes may apply to your rental. Typically this is not very expensive and often overlooked but has become prime suspects in the realm of dastardly `hidden` fees. They are mostly always included but rarely mentioned in your average rental quote and you can almost always count on having to pay an extra few Euros at the pick-up desk on any car rental for various location-specific taxes.

Rental Car Location Surcharges

Rental car location surcharges appears on car rental contracts as: Airport Surcharge, Rail Station Surcharge, Premium Location Surcharge, Parking Fees, Out of Hours Fees, Late Return Fees.

Typically Costs: €30 to €50

When picking up your car rental at major transportation hubs, location surcharges typically apply, such as airports, rail station and cruise ports. The standard additional charge for picking a car up at one of these locations is €40, but the fee can vary from €20 to €80 in some cases. Additional location related charges may be applied as well, such as `parking fees,` which are incurred in areas like Venice where parking spaces are limited.

Hours of Operation

Make sure to pay attention to the hours of operation for the offices where you plan on picking up and dropping off the vehicle, as well as the specific times you`ve arranged your rental for. Dropping off your car later than the agreed-upon time on your reservation can cost you a `late return fee` and, depending on the time of day you originally picked up the car, can also add an additional day onto your total rental rate.

Avoiding Rental Car Location Surcharges: You can often save money by picking up your rental car downtown as opposed to at an airport or rail station, these locations often have a surcharge. Keep in mind that you will have to get public transportation to get to a downtown office from your arrival point. Sometimes the additional location surcharges are often worth the convenience of picking up your car right after you get off your plane or train rather than hauling your luggage to a downtown office. Airport and rail station car rental locations also have longer operating hours, so you won`t have to pay an `out of hours fee` if you plan on picking up very late at night or very early in the morning. As always, review your car rental contract or quote thoroughly to see what additional fees apply to your rental.

International Car Rental Travel Fees

International car rental travel fees appears on car rental contracts as: Cross Border Fee, Travel to Other Countries.

Typically Costs: €20 to €50

International car rental travel fees may apply to your reservation if you plan on driving outside the country at some point during the course of your rental. You must mention any planned travel that crosses international borders when arranging your reservation and, if the travel is permitted, there may be extra fees incurred for outfitting your rental vehicle with the proper documentation, toll stickers, and licensing necessary for traveling to other countries. Since border crossings in Western Europe are relatively easy, traveling between countries is almost always permitted free of charge. Travelers will, however, run into fees when crossing the border driving between any non-EU nations, particularly any countries in Eastern Europe. But regardless of what countries you plan on traveling in, always let the car rental company know about it. Taking a rental car across borders without prior notice is a violation of contract terms and will void any insurance coverage you have set up.

Extra Insurance Car Rental Costs

Extra insurance car rental costs appears on car rental contracts as: Administration Fee, Processing Fee

Typically Costs: €30 to €50

Assuming you know the basics of rental car insurance in Europe, there are still some extra car rental costs related to insurance that you should be aware of. Beyond the amounts due for the insurance coverage itself and security deposits or credit card holds, you may be hit with additional fees in the event of a collision or theft. An 'administration fee' of anywhere from €40 to €80 will be assessed to cover the cost of paperwork and filing if you happen to get into an accident and will be supplementary to any other amount you owe towards your deductible. Additional insurance-related car rental costs will usually not take effect unless you get into an accident or collision. The best method of avoiding insurance costs is accident prevention. Research the local driving laws and regulations of your chosen destination before you depart, and be sure to rent a car size and class you are comfortable driving.

Rental Car Age Requirements and Restrictions

Regardless of where you are looking to travel, rental car age requirements and restrictions may affect the cost of your vehicle reservation. This is especially true for those looking to rent a car under 25 years of age because many rental suppliers will set strict rental car age limits or charge an additional daily fee known as at young driver surcharge. These age limits will vary depending on where and who you plan to rent your car with, so it`s best to keep yourself informed and in control of all your local car rental fees.