It seems easy, right? Show up, get the rental car, pay for it and that’s it! Well, it’s not that easy. Here are some tips on how to avoid the common costly mistakes when renting a car.
Ready for your next trip? Follow these tips to make sure you don't start, or end, your vacation with any headaches.
10 Common Rental Car Mistakes
1 | Renting The Car At The Airport
There is typically a premium location fee and the cost per day for cars can be higher when renting from the airport. Check out an alternative pick-up location and you could be saving more than you think. It's probably worth it to Uber to the location down the road.
2 | Not Knowing Your Penalties
Read the finer details in your contract. Smoking in a rental car or dropping off a car earlier or later than the determined time, are a few of the penalties that can add to your bill.
3 | Upgrading To Unnecessary Services
Know what you’re paying for. You likely don’t need to pay extra for the GPS system, we all have that on our phones nowadays. If you're renting for more than a few days, those extra expenses add up.
4 | Not Knowing Your Personal Insurance Coverages
Make sure you know your coverage before signing off on the contract. Your own insurance policy may already cover your rental car, so you wouldn’t need to purchase extra car rental insurance. If you don’t know what coverages you're paying for through the rental car company, how do you know if you need them or not? Read the fine print and figure that out first!
5 | Not Refilling The Gas Up Yourself
If you don’t return the rental car with a full tank of gas, they charge you, and it will cost you more than it would stop at a gas station before dropping the car off.
6 | Ignoring Existing Rental Car Damage
Before driving the car off the lot, make sure you’ve assessed the car for pre-existing damage and document it. Having time-stamped pictures would ensure you aren’t billed for someone else’s damaged when you return the car.
7 | Failing To Know International Rental Laws
Rental car laws and fees vary depending on where you are in the world. Research this before your travel so you know if the agent is up-selling you and taking advantage of you because you’re a tourist. Also, if you’re planning on driving your rental car across an international border, make sure the rental company and the rental contract you signed will allow you to do so. Speaking of international travel, learn more about travel insurance.
8 | Returning The Car Late
Most rental car agencies charge on a 24-hour basis, so even if you’re an hour late, you’ll be charged another entire day.
9 | Not Erasing Your Bluetooth Information
Did you pair your phone to the car’s Bluetooth? Make sure you’ve erased all contacts and settings before returning the car. If not, the car could save your personal information, contacts, and call logs.
10 | Checking If The Car Is Standard Or Automatic
Seems obvious, but we’ve all been there. Especially when traveling in other parts of the world, where almost every rental is a manual car.