Car Rental - How to properly rent a car on your trip

You have booked your trip, your suitcase corresponds to the sizes imposed by the company, you are ready to discover the most beautiful places of your destination but expect you forgot to inquire about car rentals then absolutely consult our article until the end before to avoid unpleasant surprises when taking your car rental.

Indeed, since we decided to travel it has always been to discover the country from north to south or from east to west. Although some destinations have an efficient transport network one always feels freer by having one's own car, doesn't it? Especially in these times of imposed social distinctions.

We have never had any bad surprises with the rental companies because we have compiled the information to know what to do before booking, what to check at the time of booking and how to avoid ending up with your credit card charged 3 weeks later with 800€ when you return from your holidays. Let's go for our big article on well rent a car for your holidays and avoid the traps.


Table of Contents: Car Rental

Renting with a Debit or Credit Card

For us, this is one of the most important points: debit or credit card? How many people arrive at the rental counter and are refused the rental because their card is not valid and end up doing their road-trip on foot? Many unfortunately. We are not talking about visa electron, Maestro de MasterCard, Revolut, Max cards, N26, they would be refused. 

Which debit or credit card to use?

The so-called "DEBIT" card passes regularly with some French rental companies but you will need to have the sum on your account which will be virtually debited before being abandoned and returned when you return the vehicle and all is well.
Mais le loueur ne peut bloquer cette somme que pendant 7 jours, il y a fort à parier qu’au delà soit ils n’acceptent pas votre carte de débit ou vous oblige à prendre une assurance.

As for foreign renters, the majority refuse a debit card if you don't take out their full insurance. Even if you have a very good insurance included with your current card, nothing will make you take their insurance or present a credit card, but beware of the name of the main driver which must be the same as on the Card.
In most cases it you need a credit card to rent a car if you do not wish to take out the renter's insurance.

How do I know if I have a credit or debit card?

Since 2016, all cards must have the mention debit or credit, it is generally written on the front of the card under the numbers see on the back of the card for Revolut cards, N26 the mention prepaid (prepaid) is written in very small.

If ever the mention is not registered or if your credit card is too worn you can enter the first 5 digits of the card to reassure you if it is a debit or credit card. To know if my credit card is debit or credit here or ask your bank advisor for a credit card.

✅ Tip: to get a credit card, we took a free credit card without changing the domiciliation of our account at Boursorama, in addition we make you take advantage of 80€ free just asking 💳 ICI votre carte de crédit via our sponsorship  we still have places left for the fastest ones. 

 Boursorama is a free account holder, a free credit card, etc... It completes our main account.

Can I rent a car without a credit card?

In the majority of cases, car rental companies will refuse you a car rental without a credit card BUT there are a few exceptions where a debit card is accepted such as :

     🚗 depending on the destination some renters offer to rent without deposit as in Lanzarote or Fuerteventura - Cicar allows you to rent without deposit with included insurances : the islands are small and you don't risk to escape with or the accident rate is low.

     🚗 if you take the insurance From the moment you take out the insurance and the deductible, the rental company allows you to rent with a debit card, again you will need to read the conditions. This is what Roig Mallorca in Mallorca offers for an extra cost of 13€/day for example.

Insurance and Deductible Repurchase

We have gone through the contracts of the rental companies, so with our experience we can tell you more about the different insurances but above all comment éviter les pièges de la location

Is it necessary to take the renter's insurance?

Often we read that it is not useful that it is enough to be vigilant and take the first agency that comes at 5€/day . If you are lucky in life then maybe you can get out of it. 

Things to check if you don't take out insurance

 Take pictures of the vehicle and video especially in bright light or with your phone's flash. Check the condition of the windows, fuel gauge, mirrors, tires and underbody! (yes it's the first place they'll check, even at night with the flashlight) S’il y a une moindre trace notez la sur l’état des lieux d’entrée and get your copy signed before you start!  Because at the slightest hitch or difference on the return journey, you could see your excess actually debited abroad by 700€ for a fiat500 for example, 1200€ for a Premium vehicle according to the rental companies.

 Check the fuel levelIt is often stated that FULL/FULLYou must return the vehicle with a full tank or the same number of litres as when you left, otherwise the agency will charge you for a litre of petrol at a high price, for example the full tank of the fiat500 (35 litres for 90€), yes, you are not dreaming.

 Gasoline Security Depositthe lessor will also protect itself by asking you for a security deposit for the fuel in case you do not return it at the same level..

Why do we always take out the renter's insurance?

We may be tempted to say to ourselves why pay for several insurances when we already have our credit card insurance and why not save on it? So yes and no.

Your credit card insurance comes into play if you paid for the rental with it and you are the main driver. If you have a damage you must call the assistance of your CB first before reporting the damage to the renter. But it'll be up to you to make the advance fee..

Whereaswith the lessor's assurance he'll take care of everything for you, and you won't have to advance any fees (except for the deductible if you have not opted for a deductible buyback.
In addition, taking out the all-inclusive insurance from the rental company allows you to avoid having to make a scrupulous inventory of the vehicle and when you return to the agency, they will only look at the fuel level. And that's what we love about a cool, stress-free vacation!

What is CDW, TPC, SDWC insurance...?

Often one is quickly lost with all these technical incoterms of insurers, to simplify, here is what to remember:

 Assurance CDW (Collision Damage Waiver ou LDW, DEW)you do not lose your deductible in the event of damage due to a collision..

 Assurance TPC (couverture de protection contre le vol) TP, TPWIf the vehicle is stolen, the same way this insurance protects you.

 Assurance Super-CoverThe insurance covers damage to the vehicle or theft

 Assurance bris de glace, crevaison, tout ce qui est optique, phares, pneumatiques rentrent dans cette assurance

The only answer to choosing the right insurance is to read all the conditions on the site, on the contract. For example to rent a car in Puglia even if you take the Super-Cover insurance your excess of 2000€ will be reduced only half instead of the totality.
If you have a question, a doubt, we help you comment this article below.


Know what my credit card insurance covers?

By paying for the rental with your credit card you are insured, even if the lessor will require an advance payment, you must first make your Card insurance work if you have not taken out insurance with the lessor.

To find out about the guarantees offered by your card, either you peel off the 200-page contract from your bank, send an e-mail to your advisor or you can use the Fluo application .

In the blink of an eye you see according to your credit card all that it supports! Example with our credit card visa premier de Boursorama (plus it's free, see here)

location de voiture en cas de sinistre carte bleue

Assistance in case of breakdown or loss of keys

If the vehicle breaks down and it is not your fault, the lessor has the obligation to provide you with a replacement vehicle within a short period of time or to reimburse you. To do this, always call the assistance given by the lessor to be repaired and be able to continue your holiday with another vehicle.

On the other hand if you have a puncture, you have the wrong fuel, you have lost the keys or the battery is flat, then you will have to pay these costs unless the renter offers an insurance in this sense.


Vehicle cleaning costs + Covid-19 disinfection

Usually you don't have to clean your vehicle as long as it's not in a disastrous state. It's all a question of common sense, imagine that you lend your vehicle to strangers, you'd like them not to come back full of dirt with the interior full of rubbish no?

In the contract, if cleaning costs can be charged, this will be indicated. The small novelty with the rental companies is the invoicing of cleaning costs against the Covid-19 invoiced 50€ which can quickly make the bill go up!


Find a good car rental

How to find a rental at the best quality/price ratio without getting lost between unknown local rental companies, reputable agencies or car brokers/comparators? Folk-Travel conducted the investigation.

Trusting large groups is a good idea?

In France, we necessarily know them at least because we have already seen their faces: Hetz, Europcar, Avis, Sixt ... and generally we are rather satisfied with these agencies. But abroad it's a different story. 
Already the language barrier with a contract in a language other than your native language will be complex to read.

Explanations on the operation of the vehicle that are not in his native language will be more complex to understand. Moreover, most agencies in Europe are only franchisees, from one country to another, the quality of service can go from excellent to contentious. Check the agency's front office notices. 

Take via a car or broker comparator

A car comparison site often offers very attractive rates. Here again, one must be vigilant with regard to: the reputation of the broker and compare the same vehicle characteristics, deductible redemption, insurance, etc...

What is important to note is that the insurances taken out are never those of the lessor but contracts with large insurers such as Axa, Allianz.  And the lessor does not necessarily appreciate this and is pushing you to take out their own insurance.

We come back to our first part of the article where you will have to check the condition of the vehicle before departure and countersign it. In addition, you will be asked to pay a high deposit.

The quality/price ratio of the car rental comparators is interesting but not necessarily the most advantageous as soon as you want to have a riskfree experience.

Renting from a local rental company: the right choice?

During all our road-trips whether in Mallorca, Andalusia, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura, we have always opted for local rental companies. Choose well rental companies that have several agencies in the country so that in case of concern we can have a replacement vehicle quickly. 

And most importantly. Choose rental companies with more than 20 reviews on Google maps and ratings above 4/5. Read each condition carefully, and ask them beforehand by email or phone to see if they are reactive and that they have not close definitely.

You'll get a higher level of quality with little-used vehicles. We are preparing an article on the best local rental companies in different countries.

Conclusion In the end, it will be up to you to study the contracts carefully, your main risk is to avoid as much as possible the unpleasant surprises that would spoil your holidays.

Our advice The budget can represent 30 to 40% of your vacation. so before you choose your destination and dates, make sure that the rate will not be extravagant! Depending on the country, the difference can go from double to quadruple, which makes you think when comparing different destinations.

Tell us about your rental experiences, your rental search with your budget and dates and we will be happy to help you with your comments.

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Founders of Folk-Travel

⛰️ Globetrotters and landscape photographer. We had a passion in common when we met, that of great landscapes.  It was enough for us to travel all over the world in search of the most beautiful photogenic spots. We take time for details, authenticity while remaining natural. Back from our road-trips we reveal our best places.
 We take time for details and authenticity while remaining natural. Back from our road-trips we reveal our best places.

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3 années il y a

Hello! super article 🙂
Avez vous des noms d’agences à Faro ?
Merci bcp ♡

3 années il y a

Tout d’abord merci pour toutes ces info précieuses et riches
Nous partons prochainement sur Faro et sa région et souhaitons louer un véhicule !
Si nous réservons en ligne, aurons nous le problème avec la carte de débit ? Est-ce que sur place il faudra une carte de crédit ou bien tout sera régler en amont ?
Merci par avance de votre retour

3 années il y a
Reply to  Folk Travel

Merci pour votre retour
Nous partons 7 jours (23/08)
Nous n’avons pas spécialement choisi de loueur

3 années il y a

Bonjour, votre article est très complet et très bien expliqué, j’ai pu apprendre énormément de choses, ça évite les mauvaises surprises en vacances, merci beaucoup.

Je compte partir à Faro pendant 8 jours au mois d’octobre et je voudrais réserver une voiture, j’ai vu que vous avez conseillé le loueur CAEL, cependant, si je comprends bien, en payant en ligne (avec toutes l’assurance SDCW), à l’arrivé à l’aéroport, je vais devoir laissé ma carte pour la franchise c’est bien cela? Vous n’avez pas eu besoin de payer des frais suppléments à la fin du séjour?

Merci d’avance,

3 années il y a

Je souhaite souscrire une carte bleu de crédit chez boursorama, quelle est votre parrainage.

2 années il y a

Bonjour merci pour vos conseils qui m’ont fait gagner du temps. Je pars à Faro du 5 au 11 novembre. Je n’ai pas de carte de crédit avec le loueur que vous conseiller est il possible de louer avec eux??? Sur leur site à quelle étape de la réservation que l’on voit le type de carte bancaire demandée pour réceptionner le véhicule ?

Vous remerciant

2 années il y a
Reply to  Pauline

J’aimerais savoir également à quelle étape on peut choisir l’assurance du loueur pour nous faciliter la tâche comme conseiller ?

2 années il y a
Reply to  Folk Travel


Je vous remercie pour votre retour. Donc il faut prendre l’assurance en ligne SCDW et non sur place c’est ça ? C’est quoi la différence avec l’assurance sur place à la réception du véhicule ?

2 années il y a
Reply to  Folk Travel

merci beaucoup pour votre article précieux pour les locations de voiture. J’essaie de faire une réservation sur cael du 2 au 11mai prochain à l’&aéroport de Faro et il m’est dit qu’il n’y a aucun véhicule . qu’en pensez vous ? merci .cathy

Cathy Cadieu
Cathy Cadieu
2 années il y a
Reply to  Folk Travel

Bonjour, merci pour votre retour et vos conseils. J’irai sur les destinations citées. Bons voyages

Julie t
Julie t
2 années il y a

Bonjour, je me suis intéressé à vos conseils pour la location de voiture chez Cael .Au moment de choisir les différentes assurances , je me demande à quoi corresponds l’assurance INSS personal ACI .Pouvez vous me renseigner svp? ☺️ Merci .super votre blog!?

Julie t
Julie t
2 années il y a
Reply to  Folk Travel

D’accord ? merci pour votre réponse rapide ?bonne journée à vous !

2 années il y a

Bonjour ! Tout d’abord félicitations pour votre site, il est très bien fait.. J’aurai quelques questions svp.. Concernant la location chez Cael (aéroport de Faro), quand je fais une simulation sur le site anglais et une autre sur le site français, j’ai une différence de 100 € quasiment… (du 9 au 14 avril) Et sur le site anglais, l’assurance pour la franchise est de 30 € par jour alors que sur le site français, c’est 11 €. Avez vous une explication ? De plus, je voulais louer une voiture classique type seat ou clio, mais ils ne proposent que des… Lire la suite »

1 année il y a

nous projetons un voyage en islande pour le mois de septembre mais nous n’avons qu’une carte de crédit à débit
connaissez vous un loueur de voiture qui accepte cette carte ? ou sommes nous obliger de demander une carte de crédit à crédit à notre banque
et quelles serait les autres solutions ?
merci pour vos réponses

5 mois il y a

Bonjour merci pour l’article très intéressant je me torture l’esprit depuis ce matin 😅 ma question va paraître bête peut-être mais j’ose voilà nous arrivons a faro le 18juin mais a 23h notre hôtel est a Demi heure de l’aéroport et pour le retour pareil nous partons a 7h le matin comment peut-on faire pour louer une voiture sans soucis je commence a prendre peur avec tout les avis.

Merci d’avance

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