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Alamo Car Hire any good?

USA
Level Contributor
110 posts
10 reviews
Alamo Car Hire any good?

Hubby was in charge of booking our car rental for the trip, and he's found one from Alamo that appears to be cheapest. We're looking at a one-way rental from Heathrow Airport to Birmingham Airport. My question is, does anyone have experience with the Alamo company at LHR?

Should we be worried that we don't qualify for getting the optional Risk Reduction Cover? (minimum 26 years)

Will we be sorry if we don't pay the extra almost 50 pounds for the GPS system? It will only be a 3.5 day rental. We will be going from Heathrow to Windsor Castle, to Stonehenge, to Bath, through the Cotswolds to Stratford-Upon-Avon, and flying out of Birmingham. I will have the "The Rough Guide to the Cotswolds", but I'm not yet sure if it has maps in it. I can print maps before we leave, or buy an atlas if needed.

We've never rented from Alamo before, and never out of the country, so would appreciate any insight anyone has about either or both.

101 replies to this topic
Terrigal, Australia
Level Contributor
2,682 posts
703 reviews
1. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

Hi,

Why tie yourself to one car rental provider?

Check out, www.autoeurope.com and or www.vroom.vroom.vroom.com and other sites to get the most competitive rental prices -across any number of providers

And yes, speaking from unpleasant experiences take the maximum insurance coverage you can get. Also check out your travel insurance - some policies cover some insurance excess - plus some credit card companies - if you use the card to book your trip offer car insurance coverage as an inclusion.

It is well worth taking your own GPS from home - uploaded with relevant maps - when you are familiar with the functions. (if you have a portable)

if you read the posts on the Cotswolds forums you will discover that a lot of the roads are very narrow and windy - so good maps are a necessity - advice on that forum suggest just going to any service station and purchase local maps.

Have a great trip !

Edited: 1:37 am, April 29, 2013
London
Level Contributor
12,372 posts
70 reviews
2. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

Alamo (in the UK) are part of Europcar. They're huge.

This next comment applies to any rental in the UK, not just Alamo. Check the car for pre existing damage before you drive away. Damage policies are much stricter over here. Small scrapes that US rental companies seem to ignore would be considered chargeable in the UK.

United Kingdom
Level Contributor
154 posts
59 reviews
3. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

Excellent advice from Vada and rcspeirs. Our experience has been that you can get stung for hugely expensive excess cover if you accept what's offered when you pick up the car. Ensure you've got it organised in advance.

Before returning the car check to see if there are any new scrapes, dents or bumps, and take photos if there are. Just in case the care hire company later claims the damage was greater than it was.

Not all UK and European rental cars are automatic drive, some smaller cars have stick shift.

Never used Alamo in the UK but had very good experiences with them in both the USA and in Europe.

Watford, United...
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
44,432 posts
54 reviews
4. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

In fact if you want automatic you must specify it otherwise you will get a manual (or stick shift as you would say!

Better to deal with one of the bigger companies (such as Alamo) as they have the bigger fleets but do take the precautions outlined above.

Virginia
Level Contributor
696 posts
37 reviews
5. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

We haven't rented from Alamo in the UK in 10 years; a long time ago. At that time we did have a problem with the car; burning oil like crazy & also overheating. On more recent trips to Europe & the UK we rented exclusively from Hertz or Avis. We've never had any problems & they just seem more civilized. They may be a little, but not a lot, more expensive but sometimes you get what you pay for. The process at LHR Avis, at least from our perspective, was quick & easy both checking out the car & returning the car.

On our last 2 trips to the UK when we rented a car, most recently in Oct 2012, we used Avis. We booked the rental through the BA website. (You don't have to fly BA to book a car rental through them.) The price of the rental was less expensive when booking through BA then booking directly through the Avis website. It included all charges EXCEPT the super-CDW or excess CDW which we purchased at the counter. We didn't rely on our credit card to cover the insurance because it was so much less expensive on BA/Avis. We've never had a credit card which covers the excess CDW; I don't know if any do. Other posters may have more information on that.

We didn't ask for a GPS but the car had one. They upgraded us to a full size BMW and did not charge us for the GPS. Regarding maps, we used to use OS (ordnance survey) maps which are excellent & can be purchased on Amazon or B&N. However on the last trip I bought a UK/Ireland card for our Garmin. Got it on Amazon for around $50, I think. For the most part it worked beautifully & we didn't have to rely on the OS maps which we had with us just in case. We'll use it on all future trips. We didn't use the BMW GPS very much just because it was easier to use our Garmin which we were familiar with.

Also, there was good advice in previous posts about taking extra care when checking your car for dings & scratches and making sure they are clearly documented.

Italy
Level Contributor
39,684 posts
234 reviews
6. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

I would also check out www.carhire3000.com they're usually very competetive, you only know who you've booked the car with when you've given all your details and paid by credit card but they only use the big companies like Hertz, Avis etc.

USA
Level Contributor
110 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

Thank you so much for all for the replies and advice! I have been reading them with hubby, and we are comparing companies and I'm taking notes. We do have the American Express Gold card that will provide insurance in the UK, but we're trying to figure out which way would be best.

London, United...
Level Contributor
1 post
9 reviews
8. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

I just rented through Alamo and had no problems whatsoever with the car or the service received from them.

The problem I had was that I booked through a 3rd party and achieved a cheaper rate than Alamo would have given me. When I was advised to get the excess insurance by the 3rd party, I decided to go ahead and do so - to protect myself.

However, when I arrived to collect my car, I was informed that the 3rd party insurance protected me with the 3rd party (and the 3rd party with Alamo) but meant that any problems with the car would result in Alamo claiming from me!

Check this out before you buy!!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
15 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

Alamo and Europcar are the same compnay in the UK so they have a good network as Europcar is the biggest rental compnay in Europe so you can be confident in your rental. Don;t take thrid party car rental insurance i.e. travwel insurance that extends to car rental as your contract is with the insurer and not the rental compnay so they may not accept your coverage, it's best to buy the local coverage or use your gold credit card to cover, check with the card provider to see if they cover the excess and take proof of coverage. there are two leves of risk reduction cover available, if you don't qualify for the zero excess risk reduction because you are under 26 you may can purchase the basic risk reduction cover which reduces your liability to about £250 (depending on car type) if you are aged between 22 and 25.

P.S.

Rent the GPS...it will make getting around easier :o)

Have a safe trip.

Virginia Beach...
Level Contributor
3 posts
116 reviews
10. Re: Alamo Car Hire any good?

In reading replies to this post, I decided to drop my rentalcars.com booking (they kept adding fee after fee despite my 'prepaying' the car.) I will keep my Alamo rental because they gave me upfront fee listings and seem to be cheaper when compared to the rentalcars.com car. Have had great service with them in the US. Hope it continues over there.

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