Back when I booked the flight, I had a decision to make: Do I rent a car or use public transportation or taxis? I decided to rent a car, although I did my fair share of research to determine what extras I needed for my rental. Instead of forcing you to roam different sites in search of all the information you want, I compiled a list of everything that helped me.
Are you a AAA member? Take advantage of your membership, which could get you as much as 20% off. Check for online deals, and take a look at any discounts you could get by booking your flight and rental car at the same time. In many cases, you’ll save money if you stay away from dealerships located at the airport. The convenience fees typically aren’t worth it.
Don’t Prepay for Gas
Unless you can guarantee that you’ll return the car with only its last few drips of gas, don’t prepay for gas. Also, I don’t recommend trying to make it to the car rental dealer on the car’s last few drips of gas in fear that you’ll run out. Instead, skip out on prepaying and just pay as you go. Even if you return the car with a half tank of gas, you’ve already paid for a full tank of gas. You’re better off giving yourself an extra 10 minutes to fill up the remainder on your own.
Don’t Pay for Insurance
In most cases, you’re already covered. You’ll want to check with your current auto insurance policy because they can vary significantly. However, if you have full coverage on your personal vehicle, it’s highly likely that your coverage extends to rental cars, too. The general rule of thumb is that your personal coverage extends to your rental vehicle.
If for some reason your insurance doesn’t extend to rental cars, there’s a good chance the credit card you used to pay for the rental car will cover you. In many cases, your credit card will provide secondary collision coverage. In either case, be sure to check with your insurer or card issuer to be safe.
Check for Damages at the Dealership
Be very thorough in your inspection. Check the inside of the car for anything that you find out of the ordinary. Make sure everything (power windows, mirrors, A/C, etc.) works. Walk around the car and be on the lookout for any scratches, paint chips or dents. Take photos or video of anything you think should be documented – it’ll save you in the long run.
Don’t Pay Extra for Needless Accessories
If you’ve got a smartphone, can you justify spending as much as an extra $10 a day to rent a GPS? I didn’t think so. Avoid paying for these small extras that typically add up to a big amount. If you’re traveling with kids and need a car seat, ask your airline if you’ll be able to bring the car seat with you. Many airlines allow you to check a car seat or use it on the plane free of charge.
Designate One Driver
The more drivers you designate to have responsibility of driving the rental, the more you’ll pay. Most rental dealers charge additional fees for a second driver. If possible, stick with one driver to save some cash.
We want to hear from you, now. What other tips do you have when it comes to renting a car? Let us know in the comments below!
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