Top 5 Things to Know About Renting a Car:
1. Early birds don’t always get the savings
Although you may think that returning a rental car early would save money, think again. Many of the major companies charge fees for bringing a car in before the time stipulated in the contract. So even if you don’t anticipate returning early (who does?), ask the question ahead of time.
2. Where you rent is as important as what you rent
Renting a car from an airport location can be a lot pricier than renting from a neighborhood. We’re talking anywhere from 20 to 50 percent more. Weigh the costs (and hassles) of getting to an off-airport location (i.e. in the city or suburb itself) versus the actual cost of the car rental before making your decision.
3. Carry a camera
Take pictures of your rental before you leave the lot to avoid getting dinged for dings that aren’t yours. Before getting into the driver seat take pictures and make sure the camera records dates. Then when you return the car, take pictures again and make sure to tell the employees that you did so. If you don’t, any scrapes or scratches to the car might be blamed on you, and it will be your word against the rental company’s.
4. Get the final price
The advertised and quoted fare is almost never what you end up paying. Taxes and fees added on to that daily rate are enormous and not always mentioned until the final bill. Make sure you are clear with your rental agent about the total price including taxes and fees before you drive off the lot. Otherwise, you’ll be nailed with a bill that is higher than you expected.
5. Collision coverage isn’t mandatory
If you’re renting domestically, chances are your personal car insurance will cover the rental car already. If you don’t want to involve your insurance company or pay the deductible in case of an accident, by all means, get the coverage. In other cases, your credit card may cover collision damage, but not necessarily liability or personal injury. It’s the agent’s job to give you the high-pressure sales pitch at the counter, so arm yourself with knowledge to make an informed decision before you sign.