Having a rental car in a city you are not familiar with is a huge advantage. You do not need to wait for public transportation and you are always on time for business (or leisure) meetings. Renting a car is also much more affordable than paying a taxi, especially if you are in a hurry.
In this article, we have shared some tips that will help you find the best rental deals and avoid hidden costs and legal troubles.
Purchase insurance (when you have full coverage)
Most insurance companies view rental cars as replacement vehicles. This is why a full coverage driver’s insurance usually covers the driver 24/7 in both their own and the rental vehicles. If you have a full coverage policy, buying an additional insurance will just damage your budget and will not provide you with any additional protection.
Of course, you should not take this for granted. Some companies only cover rental cars up to the value of driver’s original vehicle. Before renting a car, you should check your insurance policy and call your insurance company if necessary.
Not purchase insurance (if you are driving abroad or do not have a full coverage)
Before you rent a car, you should check whether your insurance policy covers rental vehicles. As I said earlier, most full coverage policies do, but if you have a less expensive policy you might need to purchase additional insurance.
Also, if you are traveling abroad, you will need to buy car insurance when renting a vehicle. Do not try to skip this, because when I went to Australia last year, somebody hit my car on the parking lot and I was forced to pay for a costly repair. Luckily, I managed to find an affordable auto parts shop and an honest tinsmith.
Prepaying for gasoline
Everybody likes to drive a car with a full tank. This way, we do not have to think about gasoline and to worry about being late for flights or meetings. Recently, car rental companies introduced new options for car refueling.
If you have a pre-dawn flight for example, renting a car with a full tank can be very practical. On the other hand, you should never take a full tank if you are not sure that you will bring it back empty. Cost of agency filing a car’s tank is much greater than the cost of doing it yourself, which is fair since they need to drive the car to the gas station.
Ignoring upgrade offers
Many drivers simply rent the desired car and do not inquire about various upgrades agencies are offering. If you want to take an A Class car at a busy time, when the agency is running low on small vehicles, you might be able to upgrade it to B, C or even an E-segment executive car for free, or for a very small amount of money.
If an agency clerk asks you whether you are interested in a larger car, you should tell them that it depends on the price. They will definitely offer you a bargain.
Failing to check for various loyalty programs and other discounts
Different rental companies offer different types of discounts. They often establish relationships with various membership programs, including travel organizations and frequent-flyers. Members of sport clubs, hobby-focused groups and age-specific organizations might also get great discounts.
Agencies also might found their own loyalty programs and introduce special seasonal offers. Clerks will not always tell you about all possible discounts and that is why you need to check all of their special offers and inquire about the discounts you might be eligible for.
Failing to check for a place to refuel your tank on the way back
Since most people are renting cars when they arrive to the new and an unfamiliar city, they are not familiar with areas around airports and rental agencies. That is why they need to find a gas station where they will refuel the car before bringing it back to the agency.
The best time to check for a place to refuel your tank is right after you have picked out the car. Take a note of local gas stations and check their prices. On your way back, you should choose the most-easily accessible gas station that offers the best prices.
The rental car industry is very competitive. That is why agencies offer many bargain deals, but many people miss out on them because they are too lazy to inquire about special discounts and offers.
Before you arrive to the agency, carefully read their offer and special conditions on the website. This way you will always know how to find the best possible deals.