Culture & Travel

Renting a car in Alicante – cost, scams & best companies

todayOctober 6, 2022 26

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There’s one scam that nearly everyone falls into when renting a car in Alicante. 

Here’s how it works.

You look online and find an amazing price of, say, €674 for a Jeep Compass 4×4 or Nissan Qashqai for a three-week holiday – just €32 a day! The online Alicante car rental broker offers you an ‘excess waiver’ cover or similar insurance for just €71 extra.

It’s a no brainer, right?

Wrong.

You arrive at the car rental desk at Alicante airport only to be told your ‘excess waiver’ insurance is not accepted. You argue but it’s going nowhere. You have to pay €312 for extra insurance or pay a €1,500 excess deposit via credit card or debit card (you know you need divine intervention to get that back in full).

The above is a TRUE STORY. 

We found it on a 1-star TrustPilot review for the best car rental broker in Alicante. 

The customer ended up getting no reply from the Alicante car rental broker, and so they forked out over €1,000 to get a tiny Fiat 500 from another rental car company’s desk in Alicante airport. The €32 a day bargain ended up costing €83 a day for a car half the original size.

Would you like to avoid this scenario when renting a car in Alicante?

We at Blanca Cars are tired of receiving last-minute calls from panicked holidaymakers on the brink of losing their holiday spending cash over a common car rental scam. We operate a small, honest and local business renting cars in Alicante from our office in Javea in the northern Costa Blanca and we’ve built a strong reputation for offering zero deposit, zero hidden fee car rentals in Alicante with a free additional driver, and full insurance cover included in the up-front prices.

Find our top 10 tips to renting a car in Alicante below.

Top 10 tips when renting a car in Alicante

1. Watch out for the excess deposit

If you have an accident while renting a car in Alicante, then your hire car ‘excess’ policy sets the limit you will have to pay for repairs or a replacement.

The excess is usually between €600 to €3,500.

In early 2015, car hire companies in Alicante started to introduce an insurance excess. Prices that previously included a collision damage waiver with zero excess suddenly required you to pay an excess deposit between €900-€1,900 at the car hire desk – usually by credit card.

The problem is you have no idea about this excess deposit until you arrive at Alicante airport.

And that’s where the situation gets sticky.

We found this account from a Spanish whistleblower who quit his job at a car rental desk in a major Spanish tourism airport (very likely Alicante airport):

“Here’s how it goes. An online broker or comparison site offers you a car, and an ‘insurance’ of say €120, and you take it to be safe. When you get to the airport, after a long trip, tired, hauling luggage, from another country, the car rental salesman says: ‘No, sorry, your insurance is meaningless, the comparison site is not the owner of the car.’ You get angry. You’ve already paid for insurance. But now we ask you for an excess deposit which 1. never entered into your holiday costs 2. you don’t have €2,000 spare and 3. you don’t have a credit card so you end up forced to pay the money with a promise to get it back in 30 days. Arguments, tantrums, calls to the bank, calls to the car rental broker with no response… This was 99% of all my car hire cases, for six months, renting out 500 cars a day at the airport.”

One clever customer commenting on this story says she took out a valid third-party insurance in advance, and refused to pay any extra insurance or excess deposit at the car desk. The result? The car rental company charged her card without warning for unknown damages.

The customer made an official police report (called a denuncia in Spain) against the company and successfully received enough compensation back that covered the holiday, the hotel and all holiday costs.

The only catch: she waited a year for compensation.

If you want to avoid the above drama you should rent a car in Alicante directly through the company, expect to pay for full-cover insurance at the desk or carry a credit card or debit card with at least €1,000 available for an excess deposit.

Renting a car in Alicante with Blanca Cars comes with no excess deposit. When you rent with Blanca Cars, we include an unlimited civil liability insurance in the up-front prices of all our rental cars in Alicante. So long as you have a damage report or police report you pay no excess. Without an official report, you pay an excess of €150-€300 depending on the car. No extra hidden fees. No surprises at the airport.

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2. Car hire salespeople in Alicante make money off your misery

There’s still something you need to know about rental car insurance. 

Our whistleblower above dropped another bombshell in his blogpost: rental car companies in Alicante often pay their salespeople a 2% commission on all insurance policies sold at the desk.

It’s a money-making scheme that benefits everyone except you, the customer.

If you have an external insurance policy that covers you renting a car in Alicante – and you’re told it is invalid – you are most likely being lied to.

When you rent with Blanca Cars, you have full coverage by simply showing a damage report form or the police report. Without any additional costs, you will also have included 24 hours free road assistance and replacement vehicle. The cost of towing the vehicle and assistance will be covered by the full cover insurance. 

3. Watch out for fuel policies

For many years, car rental companies in Alicante could make a few extra euros by offering a ‘full/empty’ fuel policy.

It sounds great on paper: pick your car up with a full tank of fuel, return it empty.

Except you’re not always told you’ll have to pay for that full tank of fuel at the car hire desk – and often pay a €30 or €40 premium on top of a standard petrol station price.

It’s also nearly impossible to return a car with an empty tank. So you’ll be giving the company a few more euros upon return.

Sometimes you can even get caught out on a ‘full/full’ fuel policy. A car hire company might demand you bring a fuel receipt or claim the tank isn’t fully full. Both of these scenarios can lead to demands for extra payment or a sudden charge on your credit card or debit card that takes months to claim back.

When you book your hire car in Alicante with Blanca Cars, our fuel policy is full to full. We can easily tell you where the closest petrol stations are to our Javea office or at Alicante or Valencia airports. 

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4. Take photographs of bumps, scratches and stains

Would you be surprised to know that salespeople at large car hire companies in Alicante repeatedly charge customers for the same bumps, scratches or stains?

In the account of the car hire whistleblower, he says that a woman complained about a €30 charge to her credit card to clean a carpet stain that was already there when she picked the car up. Upon checking the car in the system a message read “Don’t forget to charge for the stain on the carpet”. 

In other words, salespeople were repeatedly charging customers to clean the same stain. 

To save yourself unexpected charges it’s wise to always photograph all the bumps, scratches and stains you find on your rental car in Alicante. These pictures will help you make a claim and receive compensation for an unjust charge. 

When you book with Blanca Cars, we will inform you of any existing damage or stains and never charge customers for the same damage twice.

5. Don’t be seduced by cheap daily costs

According to online comparison site Rastreator, the average cost to rent a car in Alicante is €363 per week. You can expect to pay slightly more – €407 per week – if you collect your rental car in Alicante city, instead of at Alicante airport.

That’s an average minimum cost of €52 a day. 

(This comparison takes an average from all types of car rentals in Alicante, so you can expect to pay less per day for a smaller or cheaper car.)

A quick look at one of the top comparison sites shows prices as low as €5.56 per day to rent a car in Alicante. But as we’ve just seen, the true cost will only come clear when you arrive at the car desk – prepare for extra insurance, excess deposits, punishing fuel policies and claims of unseen damages when you return the car.

Also be prepared to pay extra for additional drivers and expect a limit on the kilometres you are permitted to drive.

Once all is added up, you might be paying far more than the average.

Renting a car in Alicante with Blanca Cars gives you a free additional driver included in the up-front price. No hidden costs. You can see our current fleet of rental cars in Alicante here. Contact us via our online form for a tailored quote. 

6. Customer service can save the day

There is one main problem we hear about rental car brokers or online comparison sites.

And no, it’s not just the unforeseen costs. It’s the lack of customer service.

Many large car rental companies – and especially online comparison sites – don’t have a local office.

One of the main rental car comparison sites in Alicante doesn’t even have a telephone number. This can make things really complicated when the car rental company at an airport desk starts asking for insurance you’re sure you’ve already paid for. 

Being able to talk to someone on a weekend could also be vital in the event of a breakdown or accident.

The Blanca Cars office in Javea (northern Alicante) is open every day of the week, except Sunday. You can contact us via telephone or WhatsApp on +34 653221333.

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7. Nationwide company vs a local company 

Choosing a local company can be the best way to ensure great customer service, lower costs, better explanation of insurance and fuel policies, and fewer unexpected charges when selecting a car hire in Alicante.

You are also helping to ensure that tourism income stays within the beautiful Alicante region you’re visiting.

When you book with Blanca Cars, you’re choosing to shop local with a Javea-based company that is dedicated to providing the best all-inclusive car hire services to anyone visiting Alicante.

8. Pick ups and drop offs

If you’re taking a holiday in Alicante, you’ll most likely be looking for the best car rental company at Alicante airport.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll always get the best deal or the best service there.

At Blanca Cars, we offer a door-to-door delivery service anywhere in the Costa Blanca North and a meet-and-greet service at Alicante and Valencia airports. The service is free – no extra costs.

This can save you having to wait in a queue. And can save stress if you’re travelling with a large family, young children, elderly relatives or people with disabilities.

9. Top tips for driving in Alicante to avoid unnecessary damages 

To avoid stressful phone calls and insurance claims, stay safe when you’re driving in Alicante.

Here’s a list of our top tips for driving in Spain to ensure you follow Spanish road laws and general rules:

  • RHT. In Spain, we drive on the right-hand side of the road (RHT). It’s easy to forget if you’re staying in a villa in an urbanisation with little traffic until it’s too late!
  • Speed limits. Speed is measured in kilometres per hour (kph) in Spain. The maximum speed on an autopista or motorway is 120kph, and 100kph on the single-carriageway national road network. Always stay within the speed limits for your own safety – but if you need, you can find a map of all the speed cameras in Spain here.
  • Seatbelts. Seatbelts must be worn by everyone in the vehicle. Children under 12 and measuring under 135cm are not allowed to sit in the front of the vehicle without an appropriate security device. Children under 135cm must use a car seat. 
  • Drink driving. Spain has a much lower blood-alcohol limit (0.25 mg/l exhaled air) than many other countries. If you test positive, you will be charged with a criminal offence. 
  • Common fines. You can be fined €200 if caught using your mobile phone while driving. You can receive similar fines if caught smoking or eating at the wheel. You can be fined €80-€200 for throwing things out your window, and fined €100 for driving with your arm hanging out the window. You can be fined up to €200 if caught driving in flip flops or barefoot. Driving without a shirt on can lead to a fine of €100. You can also be fined if your copilot is caught with their feet on the dashboard. 
  • Traffic lights. It’s common to find traffic lights at junctions in Spain that flash amber to allow drivers to turn right, even if the main traffic lights for driving straight on are red. It’s also common when turning into smaller roads that a green man allows pedestrians to cross even while you’re allowed to turn in.
  • Roundabouts. Spain was the last country in Europe to introduce the priority rule on roundabouts – prior to the year 2000 any cars entering a roundabout had priority over those already circulating. If you’re circulating on the inside ring of a roundabout, it’s common for cars to enter the roundabout’s outer ring. Failure to signal with the correct indicator on a roundabout can lead to a €200 fine – not to mention an accident.
  • Cyclists. Rural roads in Alicante are hugely popular with cyclists. Drivers wishing to overtake must make a complete lane change on a dual carriageway, or leave at least 1.5m distance on a single-carriageway. 
  • Parking. Cars will commonly be left anywhere in Alicante: on zebra crossing, at bus stops, entrances to garages, curbs, pavements, and on the road itself. It’s best not to follow along. In larger towns and cities you will be able to find official underground parking signposted with a P on a blue background. In many dirt carparks you might find someone without any official uniform asking you for a parking fee. While not legal or binding, if you don’t pay up you could find a scratch on your car when you return. 

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10. Top daytrips out in Alicante 

If you can find the best car rental in Alicante, that’s within your holiday budget, and doesn’t give you any expensive surprises at the airport, then you can finally enjoy the holiday!

Below are 10 stunning daytrips in Alicante for you to enjoy:

  1. Santa Bárbara Castle in Alicante city is a medieval fortress on a 166m hill, which offers stunning panoramic views over Alicante city. You can drive up to the top.
  2. Chocolate Museum in Villajoyosa lets you tour round one of Spain’s oldest chocolate factories, founded in 1881. 
  3. Rio Safari Elche is a perfect solution for a day out with kids, letting you have animal encounters and see sealife demonstrations. While you’re in Elche you can also check out Europe’s only date palm grove and UNESCO world heritage site.
  4. The pink and green lakes of the Lagunas de La Mata in Torrevieja are stunning natural salt lakes, which make an incredible backdrop at sunset.
  5. Les Fonts d’Algar is home to one of the finest waterfalls in all of Spain, with hundreds of metres of fresh spring water pools and cascades.
  6. The Castle of Guadalest consistently ranks as one of Spain’s most beautiful towns. On top of the rocky peak above a stunning reservoir you can find a historic castle and museum.
  7. Aquapark Rojales in Ciudad Quesada was one of the first water parks in Spain, and is still a summer favourite for families.
  8. The castles of Biar, Sax and Villena are famous throughout Spain for playing a role in the Spanish reconquista. You can visit all three, which date back to the Moorish era, and are roughly a 50-minute drive inland from Alicante.
  9. The Serra de Aitana is home to the largest mountain in Alicante (1,558m above sea level) which offers stunning views over Alicante, incredible wildlife and regularly receives snowfall in the winter months. There’s also a drive-through safari on its slopes (Safari Aitana).
  10. Benidorm is one of Spain’s top tourist destinations. It was made even more famous by the UK Benidorm sitcom and is undoubtedly the tourism capital of Alicante. If karaoke bars, tribute acts, watersports, nightlife and wide sandy beaches are your thing, you can’t miss a trip to Benidorm when hiring a car in Alicante. Benidorm is also home to the Terra Mítica theme park and the Aqualandia waterpark.

If you’re renting a car in Alicante and would like a no deposit, full-cover insurance, with a free additional driver and no hidden costs rental service, don’t hesitate to contact Blanca Cars. We will deliver door-to-door for free anywhere in the Costa Blanca North and offer a meet-and-greet service at Alicante and Valencia airports. Contact us now via telephone or WhatsApp on +34 653 221 333 or fill out an online form on our website and receive a quote in your email inbox.

Written by: BayRadio News

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