Renting a car on vacation can be a pleasant experience. It can also be an over-expensive hassle. Knowing what to look for in a car rental company is crucial, but with all the options, hidden fees and potential snags and hangups, it can be difficult for customers to know what to look for and what to avoid. So, how can you get the best service when you’re on vacation?
The difference between the daily rate and the weekly rate for a car rental can be quite steep, especially if you plan your trip during peak seasons. The moment you know how long you will be away, you should be comparing rates and looking for the longest continuous rental term you can in order to get the best possible rate.
Contact your car insurance company in advance and make sure you are covered for both liability and collision on rental cars. This will ensure you don’t need to purchase the massively overpriced daily insurance offered by the rental company.
Pick-Up and Drop-Off
If at all possible, arrange it so you pick up and drop off your rental car at the same office. Very often, even if the drop-off is just across town you can be charged for a “one-way rental” which can include a steep fee on top of your rental charges.
Price Comparison Services
It is worth checking on sites like Priceline and the like to determine if the price the rental car company quoted you is the best price you can get. Sometimes you may find price comparison services will have a deal close enough to what you want that saves you a considerable sum.
Before you accept the keys, do a walk-around of the vehicle with a representative from the rental office. Make certain they record any damage, scratches, dents, etc. no matter how small they might be. You don’t want to be blamed for damage to the vehicle and you certainly don’t want to have your insurance company raise your rates for an “accident” you weren’t a part of.
Most people have mobile phones now, and it is always a good idea to take a series of pictures of your rental vehicle, inside and out, so you have a record of what condition the vehicle was in when you picked it up and when you dropped it off. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings if the vehicle turns up damaged later through no fault of yours.
Another simple thing that will help you avoid hassles and extra expense is to make sure you get any promises on costs, extra features and fees in writing from the rental agency. What the counter person said at the time of the rental is not likely to help if you wind up in a dispute. Keep everything in writing to avoid problems.