The procedure of car rental in Bulgaria
What will renting a car contribute to your holiday? You will not depend on public transport schedules, on taxis, you will feel free to head for any destination in the country at any time, as soon as you feel like visiting it.
How to rent a car in Bulgaria
It is not a complicated procedure: it is offered in airports, in all the cities and all the resorts in the country. Most rental companies staff speak English fluently: car renting is a service sought mostly by foreigners.
Documents for car renting
To start the procedure, you will need a valid driving license and your passport.
Usually to be given a rented car, you need to be at least 21 years old, and you must have had experience in driving for at least three years. If you do not meet these requirements, you can still rent a car, but it will cost you more.
How much renting a car costs
The service can cost 10 Euro per 24 hours. It depends on the class (the cost) of the car, the year it was manufactured, the gearbox (cars with automated ones cost more), and, too, on the season and for how long you intend to rent it.
The average cost is within the limits of 35-45 Euro, but if you launch a more detailed search, you can find much more budget options, as a rule these are offered by smaller companies.
The car rental contract
When you are signing a contract with the renting company, please pay attention to the specifics listed below:
- What is comprised in the renting cost?Some companies require additional payments for the CASCO insurance, for a second driver, for a child’s car seat, and for a navigator. And some companies can even demand payments for the responsibility insurance and the vignette (that is a sticker on the windshield which is payment for driving along intercity roads.
- Does the company require you to make a deposit? Some renting companies offer renting without a deposit, but they compensate for the risk they undertake in that manner by raising their costs.
- What limitations apply? Are there limitations to the mileage; can you travel abroad (most frequently the answer is no, but if you rent a car in areas near the borders there can be exceptions); are there limitations with respect to the number of drivers, and is it necessary to pay additionally for a second driver; are there fines for wrong parking and other violations; are there any additional limitations, for example, a ban on smoking inside the car? There can also be limitations to the term you are renting for.
- What is the company’s policy regarding the fuel? Some companies demand that the car has to be returned with a full tank, and others consider it sufficient if there is no sign that the fuel is running out.
- In what condition do you have to return the car? Do you need to have it washed prior to returning it?
- How are the taking and the returning of the car implemented? Some renting companies have their own stations in airports, others drive the car to the place indicated and sign the contract on the spot, and still others wait for you to come and get the car you want. The procedures of returning the car are also various. If you rent with a large company, you can get the car in one city and return it in another city, whereas small companies do not offer that convenience. As for delivering the car at a specific address, most Bulgarian renting companies do not offer that as a complimentary service, you have to pay for it.
- Does the company support customers in complicated situations (breakdowns, theft, etc.)? Do they offer a support service round the clock? Are there in the contract or in the annexes to it specific indications regarding how to proceed in extraordinary situations?
Small companies or large ones for renting a car?
In Bulgaria, there are both the so called “sharks”, or large companies, and small ones with just a couple of cars offered for rental. Which option is preferable?
Large companies, for example, Sixt, usually have good reputation, large car numbers, and you can pay via bank card, plus use a host of additional services. The prices at such companies are high, and that is the main disadvantage. By the way, many customers would consider the need for paying via card, with blocking of the amounts in the account when you rent a car, as a disadvantage.
Small companies offer lower rates and special attention to each customer. For instance, if the renting company does not offer a certain service, you can negotiate to get it as an individual service. Frequently such companies only accept payments in cash. Their cars are not many in number, but the low rates fully compensate for that.
Large companies for car renting have their own sites, and it is easy to rent beforehand via them, prior to your arrival in the country. In some cases, when you book, the amount on your bank card is immediately blocked, in other companies they demand additional payments for booking in advance; but most frequently booking is free.
If you decide to rent a car at some time after you have arrived in Bulgaria, and you happen to have your driving license on you, you can turn to one of the numerous smaller car renting companies; they are especially numerous in resorts. But you should take into account that the number of cars such companies have is very small, and the chances of getting a car meeting your requirements are small, especially if you are looking for one with an automated gearbox.
When you get the car, you have to point out in the commissioning report all the visible defects, even if the company staff prefers to ignore them. If you do not do that, then when you return the car, the company will blame you for some or other defects, and will make you pay for them. The best thing to do is to take photos of the car on all sides as soon as you get it, and pay special attention to the areas of possible damages. The very process of taking photos can prevent car renting companies prone to disloyal practices from cheating you as a customer.
The practice of establishing the damages after the rented car has been returned is characteristic for car renting in all countries. Once again, examine the car carefully when you receive it, to be on the safe side.