Life is probably already stressful enough for you if you're looking to rent a car. Perhaps your car is in the shop, or maybe you're planning a huge vacation and overwhelmed by the planning process. You could be one of the 54.7 percent of people who request a car rental on a business trip. No matter your reason for renting a car, you can help the process run smoother by following these rules for renting one.
1. Shop Around
The first thing you should do when you know you'll need a car rental is to compare different companies in the area. Check online for rates, models, and discounts, and search for reviews on the particular car rental company. With this information, you can decide on the cheapest and most convenient company for a successful and stress-free trip.
There are plenty of great places to get estimate prices on car rentals, like CarRentals.com. Whether you are going to a comparison website or checking out the rental company's website before you arrive, be sure to always get an estimate before walking in the door. Most importantly, allow yourself time to compare companies so that you're not searching the web on the way to the lot to help you make a more informed decision.
2. Make Arrangements Beforehand
Sometimes there's no predicting when you'll need a car rental, such as if your car breaks down and you need an emergency replacement while it's being repaired. However, if you know ahead of time that you'll need a car, such as if you're flying for a family vacation or a business trip, it's important that you reserve your rental car before you depart for your trip. This offers several advantages. - You can often get a discounted rate if you book your rental a week or more ahead of time. - You'll know that there's a car waiting for you, so you won't have to settle with the last pick or run around town trying to track down a rental car. - Booking early allows you more flexibility to choose the car you want at the most affordable price.
3. Consider the Vehicle
If you're booking in advance, you'll have plenty of options to choose from, but the key with so many choices is that you have to consider which car you want to drive and choose the best option for your trip needs. One of the first things to consider is the size of the vehicle. If you have a large group, you have to make sure you have enough room for people and luggage.
You should also look at fuel economy to help you save on gas during your trip. Other factors to look at include safety features, technology, and reliability. In addition, the type of car for rent can influence the price so make sure to compare prices before settling on a specific vehicle.
4. Confirm You Have Insurance
One common mistake people make with car rentals is that they overlook insurance. First, confirm with your primary insurance provider whether your policy covers rental cars. Even if you know your insurance policy covers rental cars, make sure you understand the parameters of the coverage. For example, your insurance may not cover vehicles when you rent internationally, or there may be additional restrictions on your policy.
If your primary insurance provider doesn't cover rental cars, the rental company will likely offer you insurance. At this point, take it. Since it's not your car, something is bound to go wrong. And if you don't have insurance to cover it, the cost of damages will come out of your own pocket.
5. Understand Extra Fees
When you rent a car, you're generally charged an initial fee plus a certain amount for every mile you drive. However, there are several extra fees that come along with renting a car that you should understand before signing anything. These types of fees and the costs will vary depending on the company you rent from, but some common things that could add extra costs to your bill include: - Adding an extra driver to the agreement. - Returning the car late. - Damaging the car in any way. - Driving out-of-state. - Renting additional items such as a GPS or a car seat. - Returning the car with an empty gas tank. For more information on extra fees, check out this article that explains more about hidden costs.
6. Rent Longer Than You Need
It doesn't sound like you would want to rent a car longer than you need it, but it could actually pay off. The New York Times explains that if you plan on returning your car on Friday morning but you extend the length of the agreement by a few hours, you could end up paying the weekend price for the vehicle, meaning you'll drive it at a discounted rate.
But it's not just this money-saving strategy that can make this idea pay off. In the world of traveling, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Give yourself a bit of extra time in case you have to deal with traffic or other issues. This will help you avoid charges for returning the car late. However, make sure you read the fine-print in case there are any charges associated with returning the car too early.
7. Prepay for the Vehicle
You could qualify for large discounts, sometimes up to 20 percent, if you prepay for your vehicle when you book it. This also leaves you with peace of mind knowing that your car will be waiting for you and not already rented out to someone else. But be careful. If you don't show up or if you cancel your reservation, you may have to charge extra fees, and the amount you paid isn't usually refundable. If you're sure you'll be there, though, it's a great idea to opt for this discounted option.
As you follow these tips, you can ensure that the car rental process will run smoother, leaving you one less thing to worry about on your travels. For more information about renting a car, check out this additional information before you rent.
About the Author: Abigail Clark is an up-and-coming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. If you would like her to do a review for you look her up on twitter @downtownabby17.