Renting A Car At Alicante Airport – Everything You Need To Know
Renting a car can be a stressful experience, but a little advance planning can make the experience as hassle free as possible We have put together our guide to booking, picking up and dropping off your car at Alicante airport to ensure a stress-free stay on the Costa Blanca.
Choosing your company
There are over 20 companies to choose from at Alicante airport, so amount of choice is not a problem, the challenge is knowing which once is the best, not just on price but also on quality. For a week-long rental in the summer, prices for 2021 were ranging from around £8 a day for small run-around to £250 a day for the most luxurious vehicle, but the base price of the car is not the only thing to consider, there are a few trade offs that you need to think about which will make the car cheaper or more expensive. Things like whether the company is on or off airport, how much deposit is required, and the fuel policy of the car will affect the base price and could mean the total you pay ends up being a lot more. Renting a car at Alicante airport does not need to be a stressful experience if you plan ahead. We have listed all the things you need to think about when renting a car in Alicante.
On or off airport
16 of the companies on the list are ‘on airport’ which means the rental desks are in the airport itself, the off-airport companies are Drivalia, Enterprise, OK Rent a car and Wiber. Hiring from an on-airport company tends to be the easiest way to rent a car at Alicante Airport, as you can head straight to the rental desk when you have collected your bags. If you choose a company that is off airport, you will need to find the meeting point for the shuttle bus, before being shuttled to their depot to fill in the paperwork and collect the vehicle. If you are in a hurry, we would recommend an on-airport company, but you can often find significant savings by choosing an off airport rental firm, so if you have time on your hands, and you can make a saving, the fact that the company is off airport does not need to be an issue. Make sure you read reviews prior to booking to see what past customers say about wait times and the distance to the location.
The next thing to check on is the excess on the car that you will be hiring. Although the car will be insured with the included Collision Damage Waiver and theft protection, you will be liable for the excess amount this can range from amounts as low as €150 with Enterprise and can rise above €1000 with companies like OK Go, Centaura and Drivalia. The highest excess amount currently at Alicante Airport is €4,200, so it is important to check the exact amount of this excess to be sure you know what you are liable for. When you prebook, you can also find vehicles that offer zero excess included in the pre-booked price, this can be beneficial if you are worried about having an accident. Generally, cars with a higher excess amount will have a lower rental cost, and those with lower excess or zero excess will be more expensive, it is up to you to decide the level of risk you are willing to take based on the cost of the vehicle.
It is also worth checking the finer print in the CDW as this often does not apply to certain parts of the vehicle, such as windows, wheels, interior or undercarriage, and will not include costs for things like key replacements or towing charges. The rental company will often offer you additional insurance to cover things that are not included in the rental price.
It is also possible to buy additional excess cover in advance. If you buy through an online comparison site or broker such as rentalcars.com, holidayautos.com or auto-europe.com, you can buy cover through them as part of your rental, or you can buy standalone cover from companies like rentalcover.com, icarhireinsurance.com and insurance4carhire.com. With these products, you still need to pay the deposit to the car hire company when you pick up the vehicle, and you will be charged for any damage, but you will then be able to claim this back from your protection product. This claims process can take a few weeks, so you will need to be prepared to be out of pocket for a while.
You will also be required to leave a deposit. This is to cover any excess amount or other costs and will usually be in the form of a credit card, though some companies will accept a debit card for the full deposit amount Usually, if you use a credit card, the amount is blocked on the card and the block is taken off when the vehicle is returned. If you pay the deposit with a debit card, the car hire company will charge the full deposit amount to the card and will refund this amount when the vehicle is returned. If you book a car with zero excess or full cover, you may not be required to leave a deposit. You will still need to have a debit or credit card in your name to pick up the vehicle. It is also worth noting that there zero excess only applies if the rental terms and conditions are followed. For example, if the car is damaged while driving off road, or the car is driven in a criminally negligent way, the rental terms will have been broken, and the driver will be reliable for the full costs of repair.
Checking the deposit amount and conditions is crucial before you pick up the car If you do not have the means to pay the deposit (i.e., you do not have a credit card or there are not enough funds available on the car) then you will not be allowed to pick up the car, and if the rental is pre-paid you may not be entitled to a refund.
Car rental companies at Alicante Airport do not accept pre-paid, recharge or virtual debit or credit cards, Union Pay cards or Visa Dankort cards. If you intend to use an American Express credit card, you should also check that this is accepted, remember, American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted in Spain as they are in the US and the UK.
Parking, speeding and other charges.
If you incur any fines during the rental period, the car rental company will be charged, and these charges will be passed on to you. This can include parking charges, unpaid toll charges, speeding fines and congestion charges. These charges might not arrive until months after the rental has finished and you will also be charged an admin charge by the car hire company for processing the fine. The car hire can also charge fees if there is a significant amount of cleaning required. This can run into the hundreds of euro’s if there is a significant amount of additional valeting required, which will be detailed in the rental agreement.
Most motorways in Spain are toll roads, including the E15/AP7 which is one of the main roads in and out of the Alicante area. You can always avoid the toll roads by sticking to N roads, but the motorways are always quicker if you’re travelling a long distance. The toll roads in Spain are switching from toll paying to free. The section between Tarragona and Alicante is already free and other sections are following so don’t be surprised if there’s no toll to pay. If you do need to pay, you can settle the toll amount at the end of the road by cash or card.
There are a few different fuel policies that could apply to your rental, so it is important to understand which one applies to your rental. The best fuel policy is ‘full to full’. This means you will receive your car with a full tank of fuel and you simply return it with a full tank and you will not be subject o any additional charges. You will need to fill the car up just before dropping off (to ensure the tank is still full), but there are a few petrol stations near Alicante airport, so this is not too difficult If you are heading in on the A7 from the south, The Tangeria Galp Gas station is around 2km from the airport and has stations on both sides of the carriageway. There is also the Campsa Service Station in the town of El Altet. You might also find a ‘partial-full to partial-full’ fuel policy applies to your rental, this is similar, but you need to make a note of where the fuel is filled to and be sure to fill it back up to this level, like the ‘full to full’, just a little trickier and people generally over-fill their vehicles on return which benefits the rental company.
Pre-purchase or full to empty. This fuel policy requires you to purchase a tank of fuel from the rental company when you pick up the vehicle. The one positive id that you do not need to fill up the tank when you return the vehicle but that is where the benefits end. The price of the tank is set by the rental company and is always a lot higher than the cost of fuel at the pumps, and they may also add on an admin fee. This fuel policy usually applies where the initial rental price is cheaper, often the car hire company will make more money from the fuel than from the rental. Pre-purchase with refund. This is like pre-purchase, but you do get a refund for any unused fuel. This is only slightly better than the pre-purchase policy, as the petrol you do use will be a lot more expensive than you would pay at the pump, and the company will usually tack on an admin fee for the refund.
Although this will not be an issue for most renters, some companies have mileage limits, with charges per mile if you go over the limit. Drivalia and Enterprise both impose 2,000km pre rental (which would be enough to get you to Lisbon and back), while Firefly and Goldcar have a limit of 1,120km per rental (which gets you up to Barcelona and back again). If you are planning on heading a long way, it is worth checking the limits.
Licence & ID requirements
The car hire companies at Alicante airport will require that you have held your licence for at least a year before they will be able to rent you a car. Some companies will also charge fees for renters who have held a licence for only a few years. For example, at Alicante Airport, Centauro will charge an additional €5.95 per day for renters who have held their licence for 4 years or less. If your licence consists of a photo card and a paper counterpart, you will need both licences to collect the vehicle, this applies if you hold a UK licence.
If you hold a UK licence, you may also require a licence check code from the DVLA to pick up your car at Alicante Airport. While the rental company will usually be happy to accept the paper and photo part of your licence, getting a licence check code is very simple so it is worth doing for peace of mind. The code is valid for 21 days before you need it, so if you get a code within the 3 weeks before you pick the car up, this will be all you need. To get a code, all you need to do is:
- Go to www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence and click on the ‘Start now’ button
- Next, enter your driving licence number, your National Insurance number & current postcode
- Select ‘I agree’ click on ‘View now’
- Click on ‘Get your check code’
- Click ‘Get a code’
- Next, simply write down your code or click on ‘Print or save a driving summary’
You only need to do this if you hold a UK driving licence
You will also need a passport or national identity card to pick up a rental car at Alicante Airport.
Check other costs
The rental company will also charge for things like child seats and additional drivers, which usually take the form of daily charges, so if you need these then factor it into the cost of the rental. You will always find a company offering free additional drivers on certain rentals, these will be the higher priced vehicles in the category, but overall, it will work out cheaper than paying an additional daily fee. If you pick up a car at Alicante airport and plan to drop it off at a different location, the rental company will also charge a one-way fee, this can be quite a substantial charge so it is worth checking in advance what this will be. As with everything else, the lower cost rentals will have the highest one-way fee, while it will be less with higher prices rentals.
The minimum age for renting a car varies by rental company and vehicle type. This is usually 19 for the most common car classes, though may be more for larger vehicles. There will also be young driver fees to pay for drivers under 24, though the age at which the young driver fee starts and ends varies by company, if you are 24 or under you should check out what these fees are.
If you have prebooked your car, you should bring your confirmation emails and rental voucher if you have been issued one, most companies will already have your details so these may not be required but it is always worth taking them just in case. You will also need to tell the company your flight number, that way if your flight is delayed, they will be aware and will keep your car for you until your flight arrives.
All Alicante airport car rental companies
- Drivalia (Off Airport) (Mileage 2,000 km per rental)
- Enterprise (Off Airport) (Mileage 2,000 km per rental)
- Firefly (Mileage 1,120km per rental)
- Goldcar (Mileage 1,120km per rental)
- Keddy By Europcar
- Key'n Go
- OK Rent a Car (Off Airport) (Mileage 2,000 km per rental)
- Sixt (Mileage 1,400km per rental)
- Wiber (Off Airport)
Hopefully this has given you a good idea of things to look for when renting a car at Alicante airport, if you can think of anything else we should add or you spot something that's not quite right or out of date, please let us know at the bottom of the page.
Our top 10 takeaways - make sure you check these off when you book your next car rental at Alicante airport and you'll be well on your way to a stress free time on the Costa Blanca.
- Is the car on or off airport?
- What is the fuel policy of the car?
- Is there a limit on the mileage?
- How much is the deposit, and what do I need to pay it.
- What ID do I need to pick up the car?
- Does a young driver fees apply?
- Does a one-way fee apply?
- How much is the excess?
- What is not covered by the insurance?
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