Rental Car Tips and Information

When deciding to go on a road trip choosing a rental car company is a real task, especially if you are on a budget. Since we have been through the process many times, we thought we would give you some of the tips and information we have picked up over the years.

Tips for choosing a rental car company

  • When looking for the best deal, don’t decide based on the price of the car. Extra fees can vary greatly from company to company and location to location, so check into the price of extra drivers, insurance, damage waiver, etc before selecting a company.
  • When renting a car, remember that rental agencies also require a deposit at check-in, often 15% or $250 dollars, whichever is greater. They will place a hold on your card for the total plus deposit at time of rental.
  • If you are renting for a long time, or often, you should choose a company that you like doing business with and join their loyalty program. Not only can you earn free rental days and airline miles, your benefits may also include priority/express check in, choosing your car, and getting better rates if you are on the road and need and extra day or two.
  • When choosing a car type, remember that if you want more info on the car, cargo capacity, gas mileage, etc, you can use the manufacturer’s website to get information on the car you might be getting. (Side note: When on a long road trip, it is always good to know what gas mileage your car is getting, finding yourself in the middle of nowhere out of gas is never good.)
  • Don’t always go for the deals they offer, sometimes the regular online rate is the cheapest.
  • Most car rental companies no longer accept cash and most of them will only accept debit cards with a return flight ticket, make sure you verify payment policies before reserving your car, running into a problem at the rental counter can be disastrous.
  • Many car rental companies not only require you to bring the car back with a full tank, but also require you to fill it up within a certain distance from the return location. Gas near airport locations are usually more expensive, so fill up further away and top it off when you get closer to the airport.
  • Damage Waiver and insurance fees are costly at the rental counter. Remember to check with your auto insurance company and see if your personal policy extends to rental cars, at the very least, most policies provide liability insurance. Another option is your credit card provider. In most cases if you are paying for the rental car with their card they will provide damage waiver protection at no cost. Another option is a third-party insurance provider; Travel Guard is an example that will provide coverage for rental vehicles, often at prices lower than those at the rental counter.

I know, all this sounds like a lot of work, relax, we have done most of it for you.

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One response

7 07 2014

Thanks for the advice! Me and a friend are heading stateside soon and renting a car for part of the journey. Nice to have a heads-up of the process!

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