What to Know Before Renting a Car

Renting a car can be one of the most bewildering experiences to face new and experienced travelers. Remember to always compare at least three car rental agencies before deciding where to rent your car. Make sure you are getting the best deal and that you ask the right questions, using the guidelines below. There are a number of facts you need to know before booking a rental car on your trip or vacation:

The rate that car rental companies charge varies according to the company, but there are some general charges and basic rates that apply. There is a rate that offers free miles over an extended period of time, a daily rate with a charge per mile, a daily rate with a limited number of free miles per day, and a daily rate with unlimited mileage.

Depending on the style or size, car rental rates vary. Cars are usually categorized as: economy, which is usually the least expensive; compact or smaller cars, which vary in price; intermediate or mid-size, which are usually in between; and luxury or deluxe cars, which are the most expensive. Be sure to check for special promotions or ask the rental car company in advance; these are often available on weekends. Special promotional rates are often available, especially over weekends, but these should be specifically requested in advance.

Because car rental companies have to pay airports additional fees, this is more often than not transferred to the customer. Ask about this when you request a quote and see whether it is included or not. Taxes can also add quite a lot to the quoted price.

When making your reservation, check with your car rental company to see if they charge for drop offs in other locations. If they do, ask if this is included in the car rental rate. Many times it is, but save yourself a surprise and ask.

Another charge that can take you by surprise is the charge for gas. This is especially important, as knowing about your rental companies’ policies regarding gas is important as they can vary. Some companies charge a flat rate for gas, and expect you to return with the tank empty. The most common practice is to rent you the car with a few gallons in the tank, and charge a fee when you return based on how full the tank is. If they do this, return with the tank full, as the gas outside is cheaper than the fees charged by the car rental agency.

Many companies charge extra fees for renting to those under twenty-five, if at all. If they do allow younger drivers, the fee is often five to ten dollars greater per day, and there may be other restrictions as well. On collection of a car, a full valid driving license and identification is required. Some car rental companies rent to drivers between eighteen and twenty-five if they provide proof of insurance with a credit card, or a personal policy that offers primary coverage when renting a car.

Be sure to read the rental agreement carefully, and look for the car rental company’s section on late fees. Late fees are often steep, and can include penalties like gas surcharges. Car rental companies usually charge for periods of about twenty-four hours. Make sure you book a car with hours and dates within twenty-four hour periods of time.

Insurance on rental cars is offered by the auto rental company if you don’t have insurance of your own. Check the terms carefully to see how much you’re covered. Damage waiver is offered, but this can be a rip-off, so shop around. If you have your own insurance agent or are covered through your credit card, call and check your insurance company’s policy regarding rental cars-there may be limitations to how much is covered. For example, your card or policy may exclude rental cars in different countries. While it might allow you to rent a car in the , it may not allow you rent one in or

.As far as break downs, most of the major car rental agencies offer towing services and road repair. If it can’t be repaired immediately, they will often replace it for you. If you get it fixed at a local repair shop, keep the receipt, as you will probably be reimbursed. Once again, check on your insurance company’s policies regarding this subject.