After much research and some assistance and feedback from DouglasDC8 who was really helpful, I decided in the end to go with the broker Auto Europe via a zero excess option that they offer. This is different to lets says using Auto Europe to search, picking a car for £25 per week, Goldcar for example, and then buying the extra excess cover that AE offer as typically with this option you are still laying out anything from £500-£2,000 deposit on your card as the car hire companies don’t recognise the policy. The zero excess policy with AE is just that – The option on the site is actually with AE, ie you don’t immediately see who the hiring company is. Ours was with Dollar, listed as ZE Dollar which I’m assuming meant Zero Excess. I called Auto Europe to confirm and they said that yes it was with Dollar/Thrifty. So arrived at the airport and followed the signs – There isn’t actually a desk for Dollar/Thrifty from what we could see but we found a very small sign at the Hertz counter and they dealt with it all. The process was quick, only a couple of people in front of us. The lady that we spoke with didn’t try and sell us anything and was quick to point out to us that everything was covered under the ZE policy which given ultimately the car hire companies are missing out by the consumers taking 3rd party insurance there were no scare tactics at all. The only hold was in case we brought the car back empty as we had gone for the full to full option on the fuel. They held 200 Euro’s which was supposed to be for an admin charge and the price to fill it up which seemed fair enough. Then we went to pick the car up which was a pretty new Fiat Panda with 6,000km on the clock. By this point it was quite dark but the car park is reasonably well lit so we spent a few minutes taking pictures and videoing the car. I noticed a couple of tiny marks here and there and called over the Hertz lady to review with me and whilst she said they were too small really to record them a defects she did so there would be no argument when we returned. The tank was full, interior was clean so we went on our way. We returned it to Olbia the following week with a full thank. We filled it up at Q8 which is a self-service garage about 1.5km from the airport. When we arrived at the airport the chap from Hertz gave the car a once over, inside and out, checked we’d filled the tank and said that everything was OK. I went back to their office on the car park and finalised the paperwork that released the deposit back to my card and a few minutes later it had been removed as a pending transaction. All done. I did an awful lot of research on this hire and I’ve hired throughout Europe and the States but this one took a bit longer as there were so many stories of problems. In the end the one we went for worked out well. The cost I here you say? £118 for a week, full tank of fuel with a zero excess policy included and more importantly no headache!! All in all it was a good experience and hopefully the review may be of help to other travellers during their research.