Renting a car is a big part of any vacation. It might also come in handy if your ride has to be at the mechanic for any extended amount of time. When you first approach a rental car company, you might see that they’re offering a reasonable rate for the day. Unfortunately, by the time they add on the “extra” charges you could end up paying almost double for that daily rate. Here’s what to look out for with those costly charges:
Insurance is a big add on. You absolutely should be covered but your own driver’s policy might already cover you. If you decline coverage, then look out for the rental car company putting a certain amount on “hold” on your credit card. They’re trying to cover themselves in case of an accident. You’ll want to ask about this up front before agreeing to the rental. If it is just a few extra dollars, then it might be worth the piece of mind.
Before you leave with the rental, you’ll want to do your own walk around inspection. Look for any dents, scratches or other damage. If at all possible, then do the walk around with the rental car representative. They’ll have a form to fill out that highlights any damage. Once you leave the lot, you’ll be blamed for any damage regardless of whether you caused it or not. That can be costly.
The rental car you ordered online for a great price might be the basic model. In other words, no extras. At the rental counter, you might be offered upgrades to “improve your driving experience.” You don’t have to feel pressured into accepting these upgrades especially if you’ve already worked out your budget. Your Smartphone can probably provide all the music and GPS you would need for any trip.
Rental car companies are very strict with their time. If you went a car at noon, then it has to be returned by noon on your return date. If you roll in at 12:30, then you could be charged for an entire extra day. Things happen like traffic and other delays. That is why you want to find out about late fees. And if you know you’re running late, then call up the agency and let them know. They might waive the late fees because you’re keeping them informed and you’re a good customer.
Administrations costs could be tacked on for anything from cleaning the car to filling it up with gas. You can avoid those costs by bringing the car back reasonably clean and with a full tank of gas. In fact, you might be offered to have the gas paid for in advance. Don’t do that because it will be an extra charge and you’ll probably find cheaper gas outside the rental agency.
You’re responsible for any tolls on the road. Many rental cars might have a toll pass built in. That means you can breeze through the toll but you’ll pay at checkout. You can defer this and pay your own tolls as you go.
The more you watch out for with the hidden charges, the better you’ll rental experience will be.