Avoid fines and extra charges when driving in Europe

6/27/2017

Keep track of the terms of agreement and traffic rules. Otherwise, the holiday with the rental car can be more expensive than expected. Read ECC Sweden tips on what to keep in mind for the summer's car holiday in the EU.

Travelling with a rental car gives you great freedom to experience the destination on your own and at your own pace. But before you go on Europe's roads, there are some things you should keep in mind to avoid extra charges and expensive fines afterwards. Postpayments for carelessness and damages on the car, as well as traffic fines, are costs you may incur if you do not check the conditions for the rental car and traffic rules for the country you are driving in.

4 quick tips to avoid additional fees and fines for the rental car

  1. Learn the traffic rules. If you violate any traffic rules and the car is photographed by a camera, the car rental is obliged to state who rented the car at the time. In addition to traffic charges from the parking company, you may also pay an administrative fee to the car rental company. Find out what applies to each country and pay special attention to prohibited zones or environmental zones in countries such as Italy, Germany, Belgium and France.
  2. Check how to pay for highway fees. Since payment systems vary between countries, check with the car rental company what applies for the areas you are driving in. In some places, you pay at pay stations along the way. In other countries, you need to buy a sticker, called Vignette, to put on the front of the car. Sometimes the vehicle is registered by a camera. If you do not pay for the motorway fees, you can get expensive fine afterwards.
  3. Return the car fully fuelled and on time. The car renter will charge you for the charges you have taken. For example, if you did not return the car fully fuelled, returned the car to late or if you returned dirty. Make sure you get a copy of the report that you returned the car in good condition.
  4. Look for damages on the car at both pick-up and drop-off. A common problem for consumers is that they get charged for damages they never caused. Check the car with a representative from the rental company before driving off. Make sure even the smallest damages are noted, take pictures of the damages and request a copy of the protocol. When returning the car, take pictures of the car again and make sure you get a report that it is returned in the same condition as when you picked it up. Then you have proof if rental company would claim you for damages on the car that was already there when you picked it up.

Want to know more?

If you have questions about what to consider before renting a car or having a problem with a car rental company in another EU country, Iceland or Norway, you can contact ECC Sweden for advice free of charge.