Is this going to be your first time renting a car? Settle down fast, this is going to be an exciting ride. Frequent car renters don’t really think much about renting a car as they have learned almost everything there is to learn about the car rental industry and they know how to navigate the seemingly delicious rental terms with so many hidden charges and other such things. Here is what you need to know about renting a car for the first time and the important things you should care about to get the best value for your money.
First and foremost, you need to be aware that there are two types of rental rates: prepaid and postpaid. As a first-timer, choosing the pay later option is probably the best choice but keep in mind that usually, this option isn’t accompanied by any cancellation policy. However, you’re likely to get a better rate.
Car rental rates are always fluctuating and with the immense use of technology in almost every sphere of our life, things have only become more complicated. The rate you have booked is valid only for a particular stretch of time and if you are late, you will have to pay the rate prevalent at that particular time. You also need to return the car on time. Car rental offices don’t work at your convenience. They have fixed hours and they expect you to return the car before closing time.
When you go to pick up your car, you will need to provide a valid credit card, a confirmation number as well an original driver’s license. Don’t think about using a prepaid credit card is that it won’t be accepted and paying by debit card has its own complications. Needless to say, cash isn’t the king when it comes to car rentals. There will be a hold on the credit card for a particular time. It may range from just a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
One of the ways AAA Rent companies make an immense amount of money is through insurance. Insurance is expensive as a lot can go wrong when you’re driving a rental car and the rental company wants to protect their asset in the event of an accident. However, you don’t always need to buy insurance from the car rental company itself.
If you already own a car, you must have some kind of insurance. Call up your own insurance company and ask them if you’re already covered for rental cars or if there are other options available for you. Some credit card companies also cover rental car insurance. In short, just go through various options instead of blindly signing up for insurance without shopping around.
All car rental agencies ask for a deposit but the amount of deposit you need isn’t always fixed. Sometimes, additional insurance means a lower deposit, or using a particular credit card may lead to a lower deposit or other such things. One of the ways to save money on car rental is to take advantage of various loyalty rewards programs. A majority of the popular car rental companies allow special privileges is to members of various loyalty programs. More often than not, these companies offer their own loyalty programs. Check out these options before making a booking as you might be able to get a substantial discount.
If you want the royal treatment, sign-up for everything the car rental company has to offer. The salespeople there will make you feel like a king/queen. However, there are cheaper ways to feel royal. Stay away from anything you don’t need. There are a lot of things on offer such as toll passes as well as prepaid fuel but you will always be paying an extra margin that you don’t need to pay.
Don’t expect to always get the car you booked. In most cases, the listings always mention a particular car or something similar. You’re likely to get a car with either similar or better specifications such as similar fuel efficiency, seating as well as luggage space. Do not drive off the lot without taking a good look at the vehicle. Make sure you take photos of the interior, exterior as well as glass, and don’t shy away from finding out scratches or damages to the consultant before driving away. Also, make sure everything is on record.
Always take videos and photos of the car from several angles to make sure that you have returned the car in the right condition and that no damage has been done. It will help you in case such a claim is ever made by the rental company. As far as the return is concerned, make sure you do it within the official business hours of the company. There are companies that allow customers to make after-hours returns but you will get charged extra for that pleasure.
Overall, the car rental business offers an in-demand service and allows you to explore a new city or town at your own convenience. However, not every car rental agency is transparent about charges and other things. This is why you need to keep the above-mentioned tips in mind to have a pleasant experience with your first-time car rental.