Renting a car shouldn’t be stressful. Regardless, if you’re a first-time renter, or avid borrower. Planning ahead, and knowing what to bring to the agency, can prevent unnecessary headaches, and vacation delays.
For those that have never rented before, it is important to inform yourself on what to expect. You should also become familiar with the hidden costs and fees associated with car rentals. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of things you should know before taking the keys.
1. Card Over Cash
Make sure to bring a credit card, that’s in your name when picking up the rental vehicle. Keep in mind, that a prepaid visa card, will not be accepted. For rental companies, it doesn’t matter if you prefer to use debit or cash. This is because, many rental companies do a credit check prior to renting. This is to protect the company, in case of an accident. The company ultimately wants to make sure you’re able to pay off potential damages. In addition, some companies place holds on cards for the duration of the rental. This is to ensure the car is returned, on time, and damages can be paid for.
2. Age Matters
Are you under the age of 25? Well, chances are, you’ll be paying more to rent. It doesn’t matter if your driving record is spotless, rental companies rarely care about an individual’s circumstance. Therefore, if you are in this age bracket, you are seen as a liability to the company. Meaning, you can expect a daily fee tacked onto your bill. So, there is no need to try arguing with the company, about this ‘mystery charge’, as it is common place.
3. Don’t Share
If you’re headed on a road trip with friends, you may be tempted to pass the wheel over to them. However, it is important that you keep the number of drivers to a minimum. This is because, you can expect to pay a fee, for more people are use the car. So, it is best to decide, prior to booking, who your drivers will be.
4. Shop for Insurance
Sure, you can always get insurance from the car rental agency. For the best deal, look into a few car rental agencies prior to committing. Depending on which car rental agency you choose, you’ll notice a drastic shift in rates. It is also important to check with your personal vehicle insurance, which could already cover rentals.
5. Stay Safe
Try to keep in mind, that this is not your car. It is essential you take as much care of it as possible. Be extra mindful while driving, and aim to return it, in the exact condition you borrowed it. To protect yourself against any false accusations; take photos or a video of the vehicle, prior to hitting the road. Rental agencies will be eager to dock you for damages, so it is best to take precaution. Finally, it is important to return the car with a full tank of gas. If you do not, the rental agency may dock you costs to ‘fill up’- at a premium, of course.