Prague Car Hire Tips and Advice
All the big international Prague car hire companies are here including, Hertz, Avis, National/Alamo, Europcar, Sixt, Budget and all of them have airport offices. Add to these a local Prague car hire company like Czechocar and you’ve got a fair amount of competition. Read on to find out how to get your best Prague car hire deal.
Some airlines and especially those in alliances like Star, Sky Team and One World have partners for Prague car hire with Hertz and Avis making up the bulk of the offers in car hire partnerships. These offer good deals for free upgrades but not very much off the car hire itself.
Many airlines now use car hire trawlers which are search engines designed to investigate the available car hire options in your country of arrival. These search engines will generally give you the best price for Prague car hire but, based only on who it searched i.e. they normally search only the big companies and not the local Prague car hire companies and it won’t include local Prague car hire discount offers. The most popular trawl search engines are http://www.cartrawler.com and http://www.arguscarhire.com.
Car Hire Class
Prague car hire companies describe the class of the car in different ways. A car described by one company as “economy” may be the same as another company calling it “mini”. Prague car hire classes are determined based on things like make, engine size, passenger capacity, number of doors and insurance group. This choice will account for 50% of the total price.
Car Hire Duration
Most companies will reduce the overall Prague car hire rate on periods of 5 days or more. This can reduce the overall price by around 10%.
Limited or Unlimited Mileage
If you think that you can stay under the allowance rate for mileage then go for the fixed mileage offers. This is based on the average i.e. if you use a Prague car hire company with a fixed offer of 200km per day over a period of 5 days, so long as total mileage is less than 1000km then you keep the discounted rate. This is good for about a 5% discount.
Local Prague Car Hire Discount Offers
An example here is http://www.czechocar.cz. On the face of it their offer is not great compared with the others except for two things. If you are driving specific routes and driving through provincial cities with Czechocar offices you can get local stamps which can amount to a further 18% off the total car hire price (watch out for breaking the fixed mileage limit!!). If you intend to drive to a surrounding country (Austria or Germany etc) and drop the car off in that country then Czechocar’s drop off rate is MUCH less than the big companies.
You think that you have a great deal but, when you return the car, BANG! you get stung for extra charges. I can’t stress it enough. Absolutely ANY damage must be noted on the car drawing. If the car has many minor scratches or interior marking then refuse to accept it unless a list of damage is prepared in English. Especially check for any scuffing/scratching of alloy wheels. When you return the car the Prague car hire company will spend as much as 15 minutes checking the state of their car.
Liability Insurance and Damage Excess
English people drive on the left. Europeans drive on the right. Accidents can happen because you forget your left from your right and if you contravene the driving rules your insurance is invalidated. Most Prague car hire companies use cars with alloy wheels which, if you scratch or scuff them (when parking for example), will cost you as much as 75% off your deposit. Light paint damage is the same and if the paint damage is down to the metal or any type of damage requiring body work you can forget getting your deposit back. Check with the company the charges for these types of damage PLUS windscreen damage. Some Prague car hire companies will not charge for windscreen damage on lower class cars but, some will. If you are going to be parking in Prague then I strongly suggest increasing your excess for accidental damage.
If you breakdown and it’s not your fault then recovery is free. You just have to make sure of the procedure to call for help. If, for example, you put diesel in a petrol car then you will be charged for recovery and car damage. Check the number that you are given to call as “free recovery” may only be via specific companies so if you get recovered by another service then you’ll have to pay.
Prague car hire companies will not charge extra for collecting a car from the airport but, they will charge for drop-off there. This will add a single charge to the bill which if you are hiring for a weekend Prague car hire deal, may add 25% to the cost. The Prague Airport drop off is the “C” car park (they have their own entry lane).
Tax and Deposit
All quotes from Prague car hire companies will not include tax which is currently 19%. Prague car hire companies will take different deposits for different car classes. Make sure your credit card has enough credit. If you use a credit card with “Air miles” then when they take your deposit you will receive air miles but, when your deposit is returned you keep the miles.
Choose the correct Prague car hire option for you, don’t accept just anything. List any damage and detail all possible charges for damage (these will be roughly the same for all Prague car hire services). Check what benefits you would receive if booking a “partner” as part of a package. Adjust liability and excess as necessary.