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Car Rental in Spain

Whether you are simply traveling through Spain or need a short-term vehicle until you buy, knowing the ins-and-outs of car rental in Spain helps you navigate this vast, beautiful country. We cover the basic guidelines and worst loopholes so you can hit the open road worry-free.

Where to Rent a Car in Spain

All major international rental companies are present in Spain, though local companies may offer better long-term deals. The best place to find a rental is on aggregator sites where you can compare prices between the big companies.

Pick-up points are available at transportation hubs from airports to train stations or in city centers.

No hablo español?

Major car rental companies in Spain are able to provide customer service agents and contracts in English so important information will not get lost in translation. For other languages, inquire with the company.

However, a little courtesy is always appreciated so be sure to use basic terms like “buenos días”, “por favor” and “muchas gracias”.

Driver’s License in Spain

A driver’s license should be carried at all times and will be needed to pick up the car. Citizens from EEA countries only require a driver’s license from their home country (as long as it has a photograph). Nationals from outside the EEA may use their foreign driver’s license accompanied by an International Driving Permit.

If you are permanently residing in Spain, you may be interested in exchange your license for a Spanish license (licencia de conducción). For requirements, consult with the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura de Tráfico).

Car Rental Prices in Spain

Check to see if week or month rentals provide discounted prices versus day to day. Mileage is usually unlimited and does not affect the hire price. The basic included insurance is third party insurance and collision damage waiver policy. The cost of hire will also include local taxes.

Should you incur any penalties while driving the car, you are solely responsible. Any damage to the car which has not been caused by a third party will also be your responsibility.

Additional Car Rental Fees in Spain

Spain’s car rental companies are notorious for their many annoying fees. None of these will break the bank, but they can infuriatingly add up.

One of these random costs is the “Full to Empty Fuel Policy”. Companies require customers pay for a full tank upon pick-up, and expect the car to be returned with an empty tank. Any excess gas is not reimbursed.

Additional insurance is often offered with the promise of “no deposit” or “no excess”. This additional charge of about 7 euros per day is usually unnecessary, but additional insurance also won’t hurt you.

There is also a surcharge for drivers under 25 years old. This additional daily fee covers the extra insurance required for young drivers.

Baby seats, snow chains, an additional driver and GPS system are also available – for a fee. Check to find out if these fees are per day, or for the entirety of the rental. It may be cheaper to buy your own if you are renting long-term.

Border Crossings

You may not be permitted to drive a rental car from Spain into another country. If you intend to travel to Portugal, France or Gibraltar, check with the rental agency on additional fees or restrictions. If you take the car into another country without permission the insurance may be void.

Document your Rental

Keep key documents of the rental with you at all times. Also document the state of the car when you pick it up with photos and when you drop it off. If you find any damage, make sure that is noted with the agency. Hold onto all documentation until after the car is returned and payment is settled.

Enjoy exploring every inch of Spain!

Published April 18th, 2014 by ErinAbroad
Posted to Expat Blog

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