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Sixt Rental Car

We arrived in Croatia yesterday and rented a car. I have rented a car in many countries and have never felt so much anxiety. We never pay the extra insurance as it always seems like a scam. So they put a $2500 hold on my credit card. Telling me that if I even get the smallest scratch it's going to cost me hundreds. That if the car is stolen I'm 100% responsible for the car. What exactly is covered by the standard insurance? Or a credit card company? I have rented cars in Israel, Turkey, Costa Rica, Germany and have never felt this vulnerable. They added fees with out asking like prepaid fuel and a boarder crossing fee because of the zone you must cross to get from the north to the south. According to Sixt website it states that this is free. I also booked a small economy car and the gave me an automatic luxury sedan. I don't think it cost me more but I can't help but feel like this is some kind of scam in the end. The lower part of the passenger door is completely scrapped and was told it has already been noted by the little x on the picture of the car. This should be a huge x to me. Hopefully they don't accuse me of this damage. Can anyone share their past experiences? Is this just a start of the rental scare tactic? I'm returning it to a different location hopefully they have a different attitude.

Posted by
4453 posts

Sixt are a well established, reputable German company. I have rented from them many, many times and had nothing but excellent service on every occasion. I can't speak for the branch you rented from and as I wasn't there I don't know what was said however on the face of your post it does appear that you were dealt with by an overzealous employee. All Sixt fees are upfront and not hidden, the basic insurance that is included in your rental price covers the theft of the car however there may be an excess to be paid as is routine with all rental agencies. You may have been asked to pay to reduce this excess using the time honoured scare tactic of hefty excess fees. This is normal as many agents receive commission and I have experienced it everywhere, some are more determined than others in trying to sell it to you but it's not a scam. You either accept the risk or pay to reduce the excess, it's your choice.

As for the upgrade, that's great surely? You now have a large, luxury automatic as opposed to the small manual economy with no extra cost (except for fuel!). I've been upgraded with Sixt many times, always for large, luxury cars. The increased deposit on your credit card reflects the value of the car, it's a security aspect for the rental company. Of course you could have declined the upgrade, you're not forced to take it. As for the 'x' on the paperwork. Irrespective of how big you think it should be the fact remains that it's been noted and recorded.

Posted by
4408 posts

We are repeat Sixt customers and have always had excellent cars and service from this large, reputable German company.

Posted by
5046 posts

Americans seem to think that their credit card will cover them for car insurance in Europe, but unfortunately for you, this isn't the case.

I have always had good service from Sixt throughout Europe. Many car hire companies put a hold on credit cards if you don't buy their insurance excess policy from them. It covers them if you have an accident that you aren't insured against.

Adding the border crossing fee sounds sensible as they would be liable if you didn't pay. Better pay up front than be stung for a charge after you have returned home.

I always take photos of hire cars to denote damage or lack of when getting the car. Yes, if you scratch or dent the bodywork, they will expect you to pay for the damage you have caused - this applies to all companies! You have checked the car with them and noted any damage, so what is the problem?

You got a great free upgrade!

Posted by
4700 posts

I've rented a few times from Sixt, too, in Slovenia and Croatia, and never had a problem, though that was a few years ago.

Last I checked, Sixt offered three types of insurance coverage on the car (not liability - that's different and included): no coverage at all, an "excess" coverage (say 800 Euros - you pay for damages up to that deductible but they pay for damages above), and $0 deductible - they pay for all damages. The $0 coverage is obviously the most expensive. The middle option didn't cost much.

I did have trouble a few years ago in Croatia with rental car damage (not with Sixt) - I thought I was covered by my Amex card's "premium rental car insurance," but Amex's insurance company did the absolute minimum to contact the Croatian car company (which never responded, I guess), and I had to pay it. (Next time, I won't sign the statement of responsibility for the damage; let the car company charge the deposit for the damage, then I can dispute the charge, and then they'll have to provide evidence of the damage - all information I'd need for an insurance claim.) But, next time I might also just pay a little more for their own coverage and not try to use a credit card's again.

Posted by
196 posts

The cost of fuel and the size were my only issues with a luxury car. It didn't fit in the spot at our 1st apartment so we had to pay for street parking.

Just to clarify as I got two separate responses. Thank you for responding! I am or am not responsible for theft? I didn't pay for any coverage.

I should have taken photos. I typically do. I was running on 6 hours sleep over the past 3 days and was at the counter for over 2 hours. My credit card kept declining the $2500 charge. So I had to make an expensive call to the US on my cell phone to approve the charge. She kept trying to add 200€ charges for things that I kept refusing. According to Chasing the Donkey I wasn't supposed to agree to any fees for going outside the country. The green card is standard and good in surrounding countries also.

Posted by
26443 posts

The green card is standard and good in surrounding countries also.

The green card only provides minimum 3rd party liability, and no protection for you or the car at all, unless you have additional coverage.

Posted by
26443 posts

I should have taken photos. I typically do. I was running on 6 hours sleep over the past 3 days and was at the counter for over 2 hours.

She probably saw that you were in no fit state to be renting a car (or driving one) and took advantage of your state of tiredness. I hope you didn't drive very far.

Posted by
5046 posts

Nigel has made the point that I was thinking when I saw your comments about how tired you were!

Perhaps next time you will wait a day or so before hiring a vehicle abroad, for the locals' sake if not your own!

Posted by
16878 posts

If you didn't pay for any insurance, including with the original booking, then yes, you are responsible for all damage or theft, as the agent was right to warn you. If you bought insurance with a deductible (often $500 or $1000), then you'd be responsible for any damage or loss up to that amount.

While your credit card may offer coverage for damage or loss of a rental car, you would still normally pay costs to the car owner and get reimbursed by the credit card company. Some luxury cars are excluded from the terms of the insurance, so that could be a reason to avoid/refuse an "upgrade." Hopefully, the car they gave you is not too fancy. For instance, see this description from Visa:

The following vehicles are not covered by Auto Rental CDW: expensive, exotic, and antique automobiles; certain vans; vehicles that have an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles.
• Examples of excluded expensive or exotic automobiles include: the Aston Martin, Bentley, Bricklin, Daimler, DeLorean, Excalibur, Ferrari, Jensen, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Porsche, and Rolls Royce. *
However, selected models of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered.**
• An antique automobile is defined as any vehicle over twenty (20) years old or any vehicle that has not been manufactured for ten (10) years or more.
• Vans are not covered, with the exception of those manufactured and designed specifically as small group transportation vehicles (for a maximum of eight (8) people including the driver).
For questions about a specific vehicle, call the Benefit Administrator at 1-800-348-8472, if you are outside the United States call collect at one of our toll free numbers.*

I agree that I'd rather not have a hard-to-park gas guzzler, but this type of "upgrade" is also not unusual.