How to Rent a Car For First-Timers
If you are planning a trip and need to rent a car, there are a few tips that you can follow. These include finding a great rental rate, saving money, and inspecting the car before you return it. Additionally, you should purchase extra insurance to cover any potential damages to the car.
Saving money on a car rental
Many people believe they can save money by renting a car and not having to request pick-up at the airport. While that option is tempting, most car rental companies charge a minimum of $30 for airport pickup. Instead of paying the additional money, ask your rental car company to extend your rental period by one day or waive the late fee.
Make sure you fill the tank before you pick up your car. Some rental companies offer a special discount to first-time renters. Before you drive away, ask the agent to mark any damage. You should inspect the exterior and interior thoroughly. If your rental car has a stereo system or air conditioning, make sure you turn it off.
You might consider joining a loyalty program if you rent cars often. You won’t need to worry about paying more gas or tolls. It is also a good idea to price several car rental locations to compare rates. The company with the lowest price is the best. You may even be able to get rewards from your credit card for your rental.
Finding a good rate
You should always shop around before signing a contract when renting a car. You can do this by using a service such as Kayak or Priceline. These sites allow you to compare car rental prices, track bookings, and apply coupons to get the best deal. You should also visit the website of the car rental agency to confirm that they match the price.
Avoid paying late cancellation fees when renting a car. While this may be tempting, it can end up costing you more than you’d expected. Depending on your trip, you can also use a service that offers a pay-later rate, which means you can reserve the car you need and pay later. Pay-later rates also avoid the cancellation penalties associated with booking ahead.
Before returning the car, inspect it
Before you leave, inspect the car you rented. You should note any dents and scratches that you may have found. You should note any issues with the car’s interior and technical components, including the roof. This will help you avoid paying more for a damaged vehicle.
Always get the car inspected by a mechanic you know or trust. A mechanic can inspect your car, including under the hood, to help you avoid major problems. A mechanic can also inspect safety equipment. A faulty or unreliable vehicle can put you at risk of losing thousands of dollars. An hour and a small fee are reasonable prices to have an experienced mechanic inspect the car before you return it.
Before returning the car, it’s also important to note any damage to the car. If you damage something, you could end up paying for it later on, so make sure to take pictures or videos of any damages.
If you don’t have your own car insurance, you’ll want to get additional insurance when you rent a car. Many states require rental cars to have basic liability coverage, but you should always check the details of your coverage before renting a car. If your personal policy covers enough liability, you can skip renting additional insurance through the rental agency. If you rent an older vehicle, it might be a good idea to get additional coverage through the rental agency.
A lot of rental car companies offer additional insurance, but it comes at a small monthly fee. This is the cheapest way to rent a car. However, it is also the most expensive. You can purchase additional insurance from the rental agency when you make your reservation or add it at the counter.
Many rental companies offer loss damage waiver (LDW) and collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance. While they’re optional, the extra coverage will increase your rental price by up to 30%. The daily fee can vary, so it’s worth comparing the costs before you make your decision. It’s worth it for extra peace of mind.