Car Hire Guide: How To Keep Down The Cost of Hiring a Car - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Car Hire Guide: How To Keep Down The Cost of Hiring a Car

The scenic drive to Kerala's Ponmudi hill station

Have you ever tried renting a car? At first, you may think the process is just easy as long as you have the money to pay for it. The thing is, whether you have lots of money not, you don’t want to get ripped-off.

Over the years, the car hire industry has been getting bigger. More and more people travel and more and more of them rent a car to add flexibility and comfort to their trip.

Here’s one gentle reminder from Anna Laitin, director of financial policy at Consumer Reports: "consumers have to be particularly diligent, as the price quoted rarely seems to bear any resemblance to the price charged when the car is returned at the end of a trip.”

To keep down the cost of hiring a car, here are some important points you need to remember:

1. Do your research first on various car rental companies and make a comparison of their fees and services before you decide to make your booking. Remember that if you want to get the best deal, you really have to make an effort to understand the entire process (from the time you get the car until you return it) and to have several options to choose from.

2. Avoid last-minute car rental bookings. As much as possible, book your car hire in advance so you can get lower rates. Aside from that, you can also enjoy other perks like getting your preferred car. Also, if ever something comes up and you’d change your mind, you’ll still have enough time left to shop around for alternatives.

3. Aside from the car rental fee, be familiar with the necessary add-ons that you’ll have to get, specifically car hire excess insurance. Before you buy an independent car hire excess waiver policy, make sure to know and understand first how it works so you can avoid getting overcharged for it. Truth be told, there are some rental companies that take advantage of clueless customers and for sure, you don’t want to be one of them. There are many online sources that can provide you useful tips and information and one good site you can check out that offers quick, easy, and affordable car hire excess insurance for Indians is

4. Choose a full-to-full fuel policy. One of the factors that you have to consider in choosing a car hire company is their fuel policy. Typically, when you rent a car, it comes with a full tank of fuel. When you return it, make sure to drop by a petrol station first and make the fuel tank full as it’s going to be cheaper than letting the car rental company charge you for it. Don’t go for prepaid fuel as the you will most likely pay a premium for it.

The winding and snowy roads of Sela pass, Arunachal Pradesh

Avoid the airport. While it is convenient to rent from an airport location, it will also cost you more due to mandatory airport taxes and fees. The ideal way of dealing with this is to make use of the free airport shuttle if your hotel offers it.

6. Make sure you get unlimited miles. Before you finalize your booking with the car rental company, make sure that they offer unlimited mileage within the same country or state. There are some companies that offer a daily allotment of mileage, and this won’t be a good idea due to a high penalty fee you’ll incur in case you go over.

7. Be aware of the 24-hour clock. Most car rental companies count time based on a 24-hour clock, so be alert. While a grace period may be given, do not stretch it too much. Once you exceed, even just for a minute or two, some companies may count it as another rental day and you’ll get charged for it.

8. Make use of your smartphone GPS such as Waze instead of renting a car with GPS. It will only cost you more if you let car rental companies provide you a GPS.

9. Don’t forget to inspect first the vehicle you’ll be renting before using it. Always be thorough. Once you see any scratches, make sure it is indicated in your contract for your own protection. One thing you don’t want to happen is to pay extra for damages you never caused. If possible, take photos/videos of all four sides of the car. Again, that is for your own good. Also, make sure you take a new set of photographs/videos of all four sides of the car before you turn it over to the rental company to prove that you’ve returned it without any new damage.

10. Make sure you rent the car on weekdays as rental companies charge almost 2x the price when you rent it on weekends. This would work for you if you have plenty of leaves at hand or if you are on a flexible schedule. – This last tip was provided by regular reader and friend Sriram Venkat. Thank you Sriram for sharing this useful tip here.

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