This past February, I took the kids skiing for a break over the half-term holiday. Months of planning in advance, I trawled the internet for advice on the best resorts across Europe, best skiing deals and best overall place for my family to get to grips with the winter sport. Proximity to a good airport was key, so Geneva was an obvious choice after we selected our Ski Resort.
In regard to car rental, I booked it with Hertz this time around to try their service as I am usually hiring from different car rental companies to stay in touch with the industry products and services.
It was important for me to choose a well known car rental company this time around to avoid any problems when collecting my hire car. Remember, I was travelling with two children under the age of seven.
By nature, I am a savvy car rental customer. The hire car insurance offered at the Hertz car rental desk was highly overpriced. For SFr 27/day (£17/day), I was offered an carhire excess waiver insurance product to reduce my excess from SFr 1,500 to nil. The actual insurance amount for my 6 day hire was just over £100! Unbelievable, this cost was adding over 20% to my overall car rental booking. I was not even getting cover for my tyres and windscreen!
Let me share with you some more. As the Hertz agent confirmed the details of the car rental contract, he told me I would be getting a new vehicle with just 300kms on it, and that it would be wise to take out their "insurance" as the car only came with "basic insurance". I asked the sales agent to elaborate on the insurance offering the car came with and I have to say, I got a poor explanation. He did not know the difference between a comprehensive car insurance policy and the "Super collision Damage (SCDW)" cover he was trying to sell to me. I happily said "no thanks" to his offer and continued to finalise my contract in order to collect my hire car.
I was not pressured into purchasing the product, but that may be because I asked him a question he did not answer very well and I am sure the agent picked up on that. With that in mind, he backed down and got on with my booking.
Anyhow, even if I would have been given a thorough explanation about the car hire excess insurance product, I would have declined as I have my own policy with iCarhireinsurance.com. I hire cars several times a year and it does not make sense for me to purchase car rental insurance each and every time from car rental companies. A. it is cost efficient, and B. I end up getting better cover from our annual policy.
Geneva Airport is an excellent place to pick up your hire car. All the major car rental companies operate from the same location and they are linked by a 6 minute bus ride from the terminal. Here is a tip that will save you even more money...Tank of Fuel option.
When you are in the process of returning your hire car back to the airport, there is an AGIP gas station just after the departure area and before the garage entrance to the car hire drop-off zones. It is very convenient and the gas station accepts all major credit cards. This piece of information should be useful if you have opted to bring back the hire car with a full the tank of fuel. Otherwise, be wary the car rental firm will charge you a full tank of gas at the car hire company rates. Just to give you an example of how expensive that is, our car was a Ford Focus. I only needed SFr 43.00 to fill ½ tank on return. If I would have skipped this exercise, the car rental company had a provisional charge of SFr 165.00 in case I did not return it with a full tank!
Plan ahead with our car hire insurance products and leave yourself plenty of time at drop-off to fill up your tank of fuel. Don't give the car rental company the opportunity to fleece you at pick up and at drop-off.