Rent a car and you will find yourself quickly confused. You’re standing at the rental counter with a line behind you, trying to decide if you want to rent a compact car, an economy car or a midsize, while they’re asking you questions about insurance and damage waivers. What decisions should you be making and how much should you know before you go to the counter?
Shop online for car rentals first. You don’t have to stand in line battling for the last economy car on the lot or feeling pressured by salespeople who are eating away at your budget bit by bit with options and waivers. You can take your time online and shop for the exact type of car you need with the options and details you want. You can even rent a car online and never have to set foot at that counter, if you’re lucky.
Get out your calculator and add up all the charges. Something that seems like a deal might not be after you add in fees, taxes, insurance, and extras like coverage on additional drivers using the vehicle.
Look for the best rental deals. Sometimes there are daily rate, weekly rate, or weekend rate specials on a particular category or even make and model of car. Use any group affiliations or discounts available to you from your insurance company or places like A.
Choose a smaller car. When you rent a car, decide what size car you really need. The smaller the car, the cheaper the rate will be. Because of this, car rental companies often run out of cars in the compact class and will try to bump you up to another category. Insist on the compact car. They will eventually give in and offer you an upgrade for the same price, rather than see you rent elsewhere.
Be informed of all the restrictions that come with your rental plan. Look out for mileage restrictions or restrictions on where you can take the car. Some “good deal’ rates are based on local driving only and may come with restrictions on crossing state or provincial borders.
Between your automobile insurance and your credit card, you very likely have all the insurance you will need. Before you decide to pay extra for insurance, check with your credit card company and auto insurance agent to determine what, if any, “extra” insurance is really necessary.
Do not pay ahead for gasoline. Make sure the tank is full before you leave the lot and refill it at a gas station before you return the rental car. When you rent a car, you are responsible to return it with as much gas as was in the tank when you left. If the tank is less than completely full upon your receiving the car, have someone from the agency make a note as to where the gas indicator is pointing or have them fill it all the way.
When you bring a rental car back with less gas in it than when you left, you will pay a lot more than market price for the gallons needed to match the level. Try to incorporate some of these tips, and you should be able to rent a car without busting your budget.