Renting a car can be a great way to save on transportation when you’re taking a trip somewhere, and it makes it easy for you to get around on your own terms. It can be expensive, however, and it can be a challenge to get a good deal. Here are some things you should know.
You May Not Need Insurance
Adding an insurance policy to your car rental to cover any potential damage is a smart idea, but it’s not always necessary – because you might already have it. Many credit card companies include car rental insurance in their policies, so call your credit card company if you’re not sure. When you call, however, make sure you find out exactly what is covered by their insurance. You might also have rental insurance on your car insurance policy, so check there, too.
You Have to Pay for Extra Drivers
You have to pay extra for each person who is going to drive the rental car, which can get expensive. If someone under the age of 25 is going to drive it, the fees are even higher. Save money by allowing only one person to drive the car. Don’t, however, let someone else drive once you’re on the road – if an accident happens, your insurance will be void, so don’t risk it.
You Have to Stay on Paved Roads
Many car rental companies prohibit you from driving on unpaved roads, like dirt roads or gravel roads. If your company explicitly says you cannot do this in your contract (always read every word of the contract and fine print), then don’t. If you do, you may void your insurance.
Save by Filling Up the Tank Yourself
When returning the rental car, you’re supposed to return it with a full gas tank, or at least with as much gas as it had when you left with it. If you don’t, the car rental company will charge you to fill the tank. They will charge you a lot more for gas than if you were to just stop at a gas station on your way and fill it up yourself, so don’t return your car with less than a full tank of gas.
Save by Bringing Your Own GPS
If you want extras with your car, like a GPS or child car seat, you can save a lot of money by bringing your own. Any vehicle accessories that you use will be on your bill, and daily fees can be high and really add up. Bring your own, and before you drive away, make sure the company is not including theirs in the price of your car rental.
Take Photos of the Rental Car
To protect yourself against false accusations of damage, be sure to bring your digital camera and take pictures of your rental car before you drive away. Make sure your camera is using a date and timestamp, and take pictures of the car inside and out. When you return, do the same thing. This way you can dispute any claims of damage that may have already been present.