Renting a car is often necessary for people traveling to a new city, out of town for work, or even those who live in more rural areas. It is usually everyone’s wish to get a car rental with ease. While renting a car can be convenient, it’s essential to consider potential financial and convenience costs. Whether you’re taking advantage of heavier discounts for reservations, hoping to avoid traffic with 24/7 pickup options, or when to reserve vehicles at popular destinations (and when to avoid them).
Renting a car is not just about choosing between a pickup truck and an economy model. There’s also the question of whether to pay extra for the insurance. It may not make sense to pay for the coverage in some cases. In others, you may have no choice. If you’re in the latter category, learn more here about the things you need to know before renting a car.
Things You Need To Know Before Renting A Car
Before heading out on a road trip, you’ll want to ensure you have all the details sorted out. And one of the most important things to do is rent a car. It can be a tricky process, though. There are many options out there, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up paying much more than necessary — or getting stuck with a car that isn’t right for your trip.
There are many different places where you can rent a car. Most airports have rental cars available, as do most hotels in popular vacation destinations. You can find rental cars worldwide, and they are generally reasonably easy to use. If you have never rented a car before, there are some things that you should know beforehand so that you can make the best choice for your trip and have tremendous peace of mind while driving your rental car.
- Book in advance: During peak travel seasons, you must book your rental car to secure the vehicle you want at the best possible price. Rental rates vary daily, depending on supply and demand for each vehicle type and location. So finding a car during busy travel can sometimes be challenging if you wait until the last minute.
- Rent from a reputable company: It’s essential to do your research before renting. Ensure the rental agency is well-known and established to ensure that your rental experience is smooth.
- Know what type of car you need: Generally speaking, SUVs and minivans are great for families traveling with children. In contrast, compact cars are better suited for one or two people traveling on business or leisure. And if you’re planning on driving long distances, consider renting a hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicle to save money at the pump!
- Know What’s Included: Read the fine print when you book a car online or by phone because there are often added fees, taxes, and surcharges that can increase the cost of your rental. The biggest surprise is often the cost of refueling, which can be nearly triple what it would be if you filled up at a local gas station. The reason is that Rental agencies add a service fee on top of the actual fuel cost.
- Check Your Personal Auto Policy: Your personal auto insurance may cover a rental car; call your insurer. If so, decline the collision damage waiver (CDW) and other optional coverage the rental company offers because those services will get included in your personal auto policy.
- Know your credit card coverage: Some credit cards will provide rental car insurance if used to pay for the rental. It won’t cover everything, though. For example, most major credit cards will cover collision damage but are not a liability. They’ll also only cover vehicles rented in the U.S., so don’t expect coverage when renting abroad.
- Consider buying pre-paid gas instead of filling yourself up: Pre-paid gas can cost upwards of $10 more per gallon than what you’d pay at a pump nearby, but it can save you time and hassle on your trip if you’re pressed for time or if you’re returning your car after hours and can’t get to a station nearby.
- Your credit card may provide primary coverage: If your auto insurance doesn’t cover rentals, and your credit card does not provide primary coverage for damage to a rental vehicle. You will need to purchase supplemental liability insurance from the rental company. It covers damages that result from an accident involving the rental car and another vehicle or person’s property.
Renting a car is a great way to get you from point A to point B, whether to your dream vacation or business trip. Like any other large purchase, it pays to research what options are available to you, how much they cost, and their impact on your trip. The tips above should help bring clarity and reduce your stress level, but the key is to keep in mind that it’s not your average rental car experience. If you follow the advice from this post, hopefully, you will be satisfied with your experience going forward.