Tips to Avoid Getting Ripped off When Renting a Car
Booking a rental car when on a trip can be a bothersome experience, especially if you don’t know the tricks. You should be able to identify and avoid rental car scams.
When renting a car, you must not make hasty or impulsive decisions. The decision might be a simple one, but you must follow a few steps when you are looking to save money and avoid getting ripped off. We have put together a list of car rental tips that you need to look at so you can save time and money and not go crazy with rental troubles on your next vacation.
Try to Book Early
You need to get a refundable rate. This way, you can lock in the best available deal but also have the option to keep looking for something cheaper.
When you have two weeks to go before your vacation, recheck the rental company prices, and repeat this process one week out. This way, you will be able to take advantage of the special deals that many rental companies offer when they face a lower-than-expected demand. If you come across a better deal, just cancel the refundable reservation and rebook at the special discounted rate.
Check and Compare Prices
When checking prices, you need to start early, ideally two months before you go on your vacation. There are online sites that will help you find the best price as they comb through the rates of different companies. You can go through these search results to select the cheapest car rental company for the dates you want.
When picking a rental company, you need to check if your car insurance policy covers collision damage that occurs on a rental car. Many premium credit cards provide auto insurance for rentals, so you won’t need to pay for any extra insurance from the rental company if you have one of those cards and are covered. You can also check with your travel insurance, as many of them cover car rentals.
Get Your Own Car Seat and GPS
If you bring your own car seat and GPS along, you won’t have to spend extra money to rent them. For route planning, you can use Google maps on your phone. You can also use your own toll pass; just be sure to call ahead and add the rental car to your account before starting your journey. Of course, you must also remember to take it off your account when your trip is over and return it.
Look Out for Pre-pay Gas Options
When you take the option of prepaying gas, you pay for the first tank from the rental company and bring it back fully used ideally. The thing is, if you don’t use up all the gas, then you have paid for more than you needed. Plus, the pre-pay-per-gallon price tends to be higher than what you would pay at a local gas station. Therefore, you can forgo the pre-pay option and just fill up the tank before returning the car yourself. You can do this easily at gas stations located near the airport.
Also, try not to pick the last station before the airport as they typically charge higher than stations that are a little farther away. So remember to leave a few minutes to stop for gas. If you bring it back without a full tank, the rental company will fill it up for you at a monstrous rate. So beware of this situation and take preemptive measures.
Don’t Rent at the Airport.
If you try to rent from the airport right after you arrive, you might end up paying higher for it, as airports are known to charge various additional fees. So it’s best if you take a bus or shuttle into town and rent the car somewhere else. Then, while returning the car, you may have the option to drop it off at the local airport without having to pay any extra airport fees or charges.
Choose the Car Model Wisely
If getting from point A to point B is all you require, then book the cheapest model available or get the mid-size car that has a great deal on it. You can usually scroll through the car options before booking. Just book the cheapest one, and if you are lucky, you might be able to upgrade to a better car at no extra cost when you arrive.
See if a One-Way Rental Deal Is Available
One-way car rental deals are sometimes offered during peak seasons to drive in and out of tourist locations. Mostly you will find drive into Florida deals in the fall and spring. However, they are not very common, so you need to keep an eye out for the best deals that can sometimes be less than what you might have to spend on a typical one-day rental in one of the big cities such as New York or Los Angeles.
Avoid ‘No-Name’ Car Rental Companies
There are perks to going with the big names in the car rental business. Almost always, the car rental fleet is pretty well taken care of, so you don’t end up getting any nasty surprises on the road when it comes to the car’s condition. Big companies usually will take care of issues such as a broken windshield or a flat tire if you face such untoward situations on your trip. You can certainly not expect such perks from no-name companies; on the contrary, they might have many shady rules that they don’t disclose upfront, and adherence to customer service isn’t their specialty. So avoid these companies and go with reputed ones just to be on the safe side.
Choosing the right car rental company can mean the difference between having an enjoyable trip or a horrible one. So be sure to choose wisely to avoid being stuck with a bad deal from a shady car rental company. Have a great trip!
Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia on Unsplash