For most of us there comes a time when we need to rent a car.
However, this isn’t as simple as signing a form and driving off. There are things you need to be aware of and questions you should ask the company before you drive away.
This is to avoid any confusion or unexpected bills at the end of your trip. Some questions are:
- Do I take care of the insurance or does the car company?
- Who pays for the fuel and when and how, eg is there a fuel card?
- Where can I take the car? Can I drive to another country?
- What happens if I have an accident?
- Do I really need all the extras the company offers?
Some things to give more thought to or straight out avoid are:
Prepaid gas. Companies like to make money and this is one way they are trying to get every dollar they can. Unless you really won’t have time to refill the car, remember they will charge you for them having to refuel it. This only works out in your favour if you have real time constraints. Otherwise, refuel it yourself.
Keep a look out for gas stations near the rental place, then fill up the car there on the way out and back. This will save time and money.
Before signing up to car rental insurance check with your own personal insurance company
. Most companies will cover your rental car anyway so you don’t need an extra policy.
If your personal insurance company doesn’t cover the rental car, check if your credit card does. If you pay with your credit card, normally that card will cover the insurance on it.
Loss of use insurance – If the car has been damaged and needs to be repaired your credit card may offer loss of use insurance. Most insurance policies don’t cover this so it’s good to know most credit cards do.
Don’t be afraid to bargain, if they are low on cheaper rental cars or overall busy you may be able to get an upgrade at a cheaper cost. Doesn’t hurt to ask right?
If you are already under a company such as AAA or an airline rewards scheme, check their websites first. A lot of reward programmes and certain companies have deals or offers on car rentals, so check there first.
Check your rental car properly before you leave the lot. Take photos or a video of any damage, anything loose or questionable so that you don’t get stung for it when you get back. Make sure they know about it, even better write it down and get them to sign it that you didn’t do it.
If you have to leave a car in a lot or somewhere for the company to pick up later, again take photos or a video of the car in the condition you left it. If it is vandalised before the company collects it you may be blamed and have to pay.
If you rent a car oversees check on the details of taking the car across borders to other countries.
Make sure your insurance covers this and what the company says on the matter.
We hope this article makes renting a car a little more “safe” for you.