Are you planning to go on vacation and you’re considering getting a car for hire instead of commuting? That idea will surely bring you more convenience when you’re traveling, but as they say, every choice has its own pros and cons. While it can give you flexibility and freedom, renting a car can also cost a pretty penny and perhaps an unexpected big slash to your budget if you’re not careful enough.
A lot of customers would usually complain about getting “ripped off” by car rental companies due to the additional fees they end up paying for, especially upon returning the vehicle. Of course, you wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to you, right? According to Jordan Perch, an editor for the automotive services site DMV.com, “To avoid these types of charges, customers need to be familiar with the most common car-rental rip-offs and know which of the add-ons offered by rental-car companies are truly necessary and which are not worth paying extra for.”
Now, how can you avoid overpaying on car hire? Here are the ten tips you should follow:
- Do your research first before you travel. Check out several car rental companies and compare their fees and services. The more options you have, the better. That way, you’ll have greater chances of getting the best deal that will suit your time and budget.
- As much as possible, book your car hire in advance so you can get cheaper rates. Not only that, you can also enjoy other advantages like getting your preferred car and of course, in case something comes up and you’d change your mind, you will still have enough time left to shop around for alternatives. Making a last-minute booking will most likely leave you with only a few (or sometimes no more) options.
- Be familiar with the different types of charges that you’ll incur when you rent a car. They can be tricky, so always pay attention to the details. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about what exactly your rental fee covers. As per Nenad Cuk, a frequent car renter who works for a marketing agency in Salt Lake City, “Always make sure that you listen to anything that might be mentioned that you’ll have to pay for upon returning the car.”
- Be familiar with car hire excess insurance and how it works so you can avoid buying an expensive collision-damage waiver. While it is an important add-on to have with any car rental since it covers YOU in the event that you’ll collide with another car, we cannot also deny the fact that there are some rental companies that take advantage of those customers who are clueless about its real cost. One good site you can check out that offers quick, easy, and affordable car hire excess insurance is https://carinsurent.com/.
- Make sure to read the contract carefully before signing it, then review it as soon as it is issued, particularly those items with tick boxes tagged as “accepted” or “declined”. If there are charges or rules that confuse you, ASK ABOUT THEM. It is both your right and responsibility to clarify things you don’t understand.
- Don’t forget to inspect first the vehicle you’ll be renting before using it. Be thorough. If you see any scratches, make sure it is indicated in your contract for your own protection. You wouldn’t want to pay extra for whatever damage you didn’t cause, would you? If possible, take photos/videos of all four sides of the car. Again, that is for your own good.
- Make sure to check the fuel type of your rental car. Remember that putting in the wrong fuel is considered as negligence and this will automatically invalidate your CDW cover.
- Make sure to keep the receipt from the gas station where you filled up the car on the final day. This is your only proof that you’ve purchased fuel prior to returning the rental vehicle. Also, keep in mind where you refuel your car as some companies have a policy where the refueling must be done.
- Make sure you take a new set of photographs/videos of all four sides of the car once you turn it over to the rental company to prove that you’ve returned it without any new damage.
- Check all the charges made by the car rental company when you receive your credit card statement. Once you see any discrepancies or errors, dispute it as soon as possible.
While it may require a lot of effort on your part to follow all those tips, remember that “prevention is always better than cure.” If you want to avoid overpaying on car hire, you need to be careful. By being alert all the time, from the moment you book your rental car up to the day you return it, you can save yourself from being ripped-off.