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    Car Hire Extras & Local Fees Explained

    For us here at Auto Europe, our clients' satisfaction is paramount (not just because we like you to continue to give us preference when hiring a car, but because we believe in the good karma that comes from a job well done), and as such we spend a lot of time and resources trying to perfect the information we provide.

    Local fees can sometimes be a contentious issue, so we try extra hard to make sure our clients have enough information to make an informed decision when choosing a supplier. Local fees are decided by each supplier and Auto Europe has no control over what these fees are, nor over the amount that must be paid for them. However, we try to list them as exhaustively as possible in the Terms, Conditions and Local fees section of our booking engine and on the voucher. Here are some of them.



    There are two main types of fuel policies: 'full to full' or 'full to empty'. 'Full to full' means that the car is provided with a full tank and the client must return it with a full tank (thus paying only the pump price for the fuel actually used). With 'full to empty', the car is provided with a full tank, which must be purchased by the client at the desk, and must be returned as empty as possible, as there will be no refund for unused fuel. It's important to note that the price per litre charged will probably be slightly higher than the price practised at a fuel station, and that normally a 'service fee' is added. This type of fuel policy is pretty much standard for low cost suppliers in the Mediterranean area (mostly Spain and Portugal, but also in other countries). Some suppliers provide either option depending on the number of days of hire.

    Young/Senior Driver's Surcharge

    People below a certain age or above a certain age (the exact age depends on the supplier, location and car category), need to pay an extra fee when hiring a car. This happens because insurance companies charge more in those cases, so the suppliers charge a fee to cover that extra cost. Every driver must be included in the rental agreement in order to be covered by insurance. Sometimes there are promotions that allow for extra drivers to be included for free (such as our Gold Rate package in the US), but normally adding an extra driver means having to pay an extra fee at the desk.

    Driver Fees: Auto Europe has an extensive network of business partners. These car hire companies have different policies regarding driver fees. While some may allow for additional drivers free of charge, some might charge for registering additional drivers on your rental contract. The age limit also differs not only among companies, but also across countries. As a rule of thumb, drivers younger than 25 and older than 69 are usually required to pay an additional surcharge per day. Be sure to look out for suitable offers and call us to help you arrange car hire at the best conditions. Our agents are well-versed in their work and they know what policies on various topics rental companies have. Read the Terms & Conditions listed on your voucher before your trip to find out what exact fees, if any, must be paid for when picking up your rental car.

    One way fee

    If you pick up a car in one location and intend to drop it off in a different one, odds are you'll have to pay an extra fee for it. This happens due to fleet management issues, as the car will then have to be returned by the company to its original location. Inside the same country, sometimes there is no one way fee, but across different countries it's fairly certain that there will be one. If you book online, you will get a notice about the one way fee and it will be also indicated on the voucher when you receive it.

    Local Fees

    This charge is typically applied if you are collecting your rental vehicle from one of the main transportation hubs such as airports, important city rail stations or major cruise ports. In certain destinations such as Venice, the client is required to pay an additional parking fee because parking spaces in Venice are quite limited. Another important point to consider is the opening hours of the rent a car company. Picking up or dropping off the car outside the standard working hours will incur the “late pick-up/return fee”. This information is stated on your rental voucher. If you are making the reservation over the telephone, let our agents advise you of the supplier’s operating hours and any potential fees. The phrases you may want to look out for on the rental contract which could indicate extra charges are premium location surcharge, parking fees, airport surcharge, out of hours fee, late return fee.

    Avoid car hire location surcharges: Clients arriving at an airport or a railway station are advised to pay the location surcharge for the sake of convenience. However, if you would like to avoid this fee and pay a cheaper price for your rental, it’s better to pick up your car downtown rather than at the airport. You would need to calculate the price difference, though, because you will also need to pay for the taxi service or public transportation to get to the rent a car company’s downtown office. Be sure to review the car hire contract and plan ahead of time. As far as the late pick-up/return fee is considered, airport offices usually have longer working hours. Be sure to look for one which is open at the time of your arrival. Allow for some buffer time in case your flight is delayed. Please be aware that your car rental will be rejected without any possibility of a refund if you are late for the pick-up. As soon as you notice that you are going to be late, even in the case of a delayed flight, give us a call so that we can contact the rental company and try to keep your car for you.

    Cross border fee

    You should always advise us if you intend to drive the car to a country other than the one where you picked it up, even if you intend to return it to its original location at the end of the hire period. In such cases, an extra fee will often - though not always - apply. This happens because driving across a national border requires additional insurance. If you drive across the border without that extra insurance, the car will not be covered and will in fact be illegal to drive it.


    Every single car from every single one of our suppliers has the necessary mandatory insurance to drive in a given country. Clients need to be aware, however, that there's always an excess amount for which the client is responsible in case of accidental damage to the vehicle, and which varies a lot between supplier, location, car group, etc. The deposit blocked on your card when hiring a car usually takes the form of this excess + fuel + VAT. At the desk, you may be offered additional insurance to reduce the excess amount or to cover the parts of the car not covered by the original insurance (normally tyres, windscreen, etc., aren't covered by basic insurance - your voucher includes a full list of exclusions, as does your rental agreement). Sometimes staff at the desk may be overzealous when trying to sell extra insurance, but you should be aware that it is within your rights to refuse to acquire it if you deem it unnecessary.

    Winter tyres

    There are many countries where winter tyres are mandatory during part of the year. Some suppliers already include the winter tyres in the original price of the hire, but some consider it to be an extra. You can always check which case applies by looking at the Terms, Conditions and Local fees section, or by asking the agent on the phone.

    Ski racks/GPS/Child seats

    All of these are paid locally at the desk. Sometimes the Terms, Conditions and Local fees include an approximate cost for each. While you may inform the desk directly that you would like to hire one of these extras when picking up the car, if you inform us beforehand we can request that they be reserved, thus ensuring their availability for you.

    Depending on your needs, you can choose from a variety of additional equipment. The most commonly rented items are GPS devices, child and booster seats, and, seasonally, ski racks and snow chains. Rental companies normally charge for these on a day-to-day basis and their prices can significantly vary. Such add-ons are always an extra cost to be considered, which will increase the overall car hire price. The only exception is if they are already included in the price. Be very careful if you opt for them since you will be held responsible for any damage or loss of the items. While some of the aforementioned equipment is optional, there are certain items such as child seats or snow chains which are mandatory and required by law in some countries. To save yourself a hefty fine, we recommend doing some research on country-specific regulations regarding rental add-ons. Please read our information pages or get in touch with Auto Europe’s reservations specialists for more information.

    Avoid Car Hire Equipment Fees: The best way to save on car hire equipment is to keep an eye on Auto Europe’s special promotions such as GPS included, free car hire upgrades, free additional drivers etc. You are welcome to bring your own GPS and portable WiFi devices and child seats if you don’t mind travelling with bulky items in your luggage. This will definitely reduce costs at the pick-up counter.


    Always read the Terms, Conditions and Local Fees section of our booking mask for the relevant information regarding local fees. These are also indicated on your voucher. If you have any questions or doubts and you prefer talking to an actual human being over dealing with the cold 1s and 0s of an Internet page, give our toll-free number a call at any time before, during or after a booking and one of our awesome agents will try their best to help you and give you all the information you need.

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