Renting a car that belongs to someone else is not always smooth sailing. To be frank, it does come with some risks. We’ve heard cases about companies overcharging customers for extras that should have been more or less – free. Times when the car rental agent has pointed out existing dents and car issues and claimed repair charges.
Below is a guide with our top eight tips to help you make your experience of renting a car easy and conflict-free.
1. Before renting a car: Check Google Reviews
While you can’t go by everything you read on the internet these days, reviews are your number one resource as to choosing a legit car rental company. Never go by star ratings, be sure to deep dive into the actual reviews. See if they read genuine and what issues users have pointed out regarding the car rental company / management.
You’re likely to find out beforehand if you should or not rent from that company. If you’re skeptical, bring it up with the agent while discussing an upcoming rental requirement. Quiz them on their terms and conditions: What happens if you return the car late? What are the charges for extension or early termination? You can even request a copy of the ‘rental agreement’ that you’ll be signing at the time of car rental. Next, follow the below tips to further safeguard your car rental experience.
2. The best car rental advice: Record every existing damage at the start of rental
Before you jump into the car be sure to follow this advice. Take a stroll around the car and take note of existing scratches, dents, bumps or marks. Check if there’s any damage to the wheels too. Make sure the spare wheel is present in the boot and inflated.
Take a video whilst walking around the car. This way you can document any pre-existing damage to the car, as well as show the car’s overall condition. Take additional photos on your phone and share with the car rental agent so it serves as proof. Don’t forget to snap a picture of the mileage counter and fuel level on the car. If the car interior doesn’t look 100%, be sure to take a quick video with adequate brightness.
Also, remember to take photos and videos of the car upon return. Doing so will give you video proof of the car’s condition upon return. This will definitely save you a lot of effort and money in the case of a company trying to claim that you caused damage to the car that was there prior to your rental period.
3. To-Do: Understand the type of insurance included
While RTA (Road & Transport Authority) has made it mandatory for every rental car to be provided with insurance, most car rental companies only provide basic insurance (a.k.a. basic comprehensive insurance). It protects you financially in case of accidental damage to the car, provided that it wasn’t your fault (a police verification is required). If it was your fault, you’d need to pay repair charges or the insurance excess fee which is the maximum amount required to repair the car.
If you wish to rent the car with full coverage insurance, speak to the car rental agent. He’ll suggest the cost based on your rental period by day / month. There are two types of full coverage insurances: CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) or Super CDW. Understand from the agent what type of damages are covered and which are excluded. Please ensure that your insurance provides full protection for your rental, including protection against damages, thefts, and supplementary protection.
4. To-Do: Return The Car In Same The Condition As It Was Given To You
This is very important car rental to-do, as you’re essentially borrowing a car from someone. In this case, you need to ensure that the company gets the car back in the same condition it was given to you in. This means having the car cleaned (both exterior and interior) to insure that it is in good condition. This will help prevent any unnecessary charges with regards to the condition of the car upon return, and further show that it was used appropriately. Furthermore, you must refuel the car to the level it was when you took delivery of it, to prevent any additional charges for fuel that you may have used.
Incase you’ve bumped the car or met with an accident, be upfront with the car rental agency and
5. The most lucrative advice: Befriend your Car Rental Agent
To ensure you get the best service, rates and offer info, it’s always a good idea to befriend the service provider. Connect with the booking manager(s) at the car rental agency via phone, email or WhatsApp. Be sure to double-check their rates, rules, terms etc. and query them as you need. Understand extra charges for the following:
- Extra mileage fee
- Toll (Salik) Charges
- Additional driver insurance charge
- Late return fee (by hour / day)
- Cleaning Fee (in case a dirty car is returned)
Keep a record of your chat with them and be sure to provide an intimation of when you will be returning the car and where. Make sure you have shared all the required documents and received an acknowledgement / invoice for the advance booking payment, if any. Seek additional advice from the manager should you need any.
To ensure that you’re not getting a shady deal, ask the agent to share a copy of the car rental agreement so you can read over the rules and terms in detail.
6. How-to provide the security deposit: Card is always better than cash
Security deposit is essential for renting a car in the UAE. It serves as a protection incase of car damages, RTA traffic fines, theft and so on. It is always best to provide the security deposit using a credit or debit card, as the pre-authorization block releases automatically after a period of 20-30 days.
If you’re a tourist it’s even better to use a credit card, as, if you leave the country after returning the car, the deposit will be released back to your card within the month. Making the process easier for both you, and the rental company. Furthermore, your bank can shield you from any unlawful charges aside, so it will be difficult for the rental company to place false charges on your account. Hence, it is always recommended to use a credit or debit card. This way, you won’t need to visit the car rental company again to pick up your security deposit refund physically. The company can simply release your security block on the credit card or transfer the amount to your bank account (debit card).
7. To-do: Adhere to Road Rules and Speed Limits
To ensure a smooth car rental experience, visitors are strongly urged to respect UAE road rules and follow speed limits. As of today, while the rest of UAE offers an additional 20 km/hr, Abu Dhabi does not. You must follow the max speed limit as indicated by the road signs. Waze is helpful but not always 100% accurate.
Violators risk being penalized through speed cameras and mobile radars scattered across the city. Any penalties incurred during your rental duration will have to be paid to your car rental company. If you suspect that the rental company has mis-charged you for violations not committed by you, then you can ask the rental company for proof of violation. This proof can be re-verified by entering your rental car details on the respective emirate’s traffic website: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and others.
8. To-do: Keep All Car Rental Documents Intact
Payment slips, car rental agreement, security deposit receipt as well as booking confirmations on email and WhatsApp must be stored with you. Incase of a dispute between the renter and the rentee, documented proof is essential for verification.
As a last resort, you can contact the DED (Dubai Economic Department) that’s part of the Dubai Government. They will require the proof of rental etc. in order to resolve the dispute.
However, more often than not, you’re probably going to have a great experience renting a car through OneClickDrive.com. We’d definitely recommend choosing a car among our verified listings and follow this guide. For further reading, check out our tricks to find the best car rental rates in Dubai.