Car Rental Smarts: Saving Money on Your Temporary Wheels

You need a rental car. But, do you need all the extras? Most people spend extra money for things that they don’t need. How do you know what’s necessary and what’s not? Here are a few ways to figure it out.

Ditch The Extra Insurance

Most people think that they need extra insurance. It’s true that you may be involved in an accident in a rental car, and need the services of an attorney after the fact, but your existing auto insurance policy might already cover that.

Check with your insurer. If they cover rentals, then you don’t need the extra insurance from the rental agency. If you used a credit card to book and pay for the rental, it might also provide secondary collision coverage. Your credit card will kick in to pay for whatever your personal policy doesn’t.

If you don’t have an automobile insurance policy, however, picking up insurance it probably a good idea.

Don’t Rent From the Airport

Another way to save money on car rentals is to not rent from the agency located in the airport. This is something most people do. Renting from an airport means extra surcharges. Avoid this by renting a vehicle outside the airport. You may need to get transportation to the offsite rental agency, so check to make sure the extra travel expense doesn’t exceed what you’d pay the airport car rental agency.

Shop Around

If you’re in a hurry, it’s understandable that you might take the first deal you see. But, car rental rates can vary dramatically depending on the time of year you travel, and where you’re traveling. Websites that offer discount bookings can help you find deals that you might not otherwise get. If you’re planning on driving long distances, check for mileage caps. Many rental companies will give you unlimited miles so you can drive as much as you want without extra overage fees. But, if a company does have a mileage cap, you want to know about it before you start driving — before you even rent the vehicle.

Don’t Prepay For Gas

This is one of the most expensive ways to pay for gasoline, but it’s convenient, which is why many people do it. You’ll pay for a full tank of gas, even if you return the vehicle with a half-tank. That’s expensive.

It’s better to just pay for the gas yourself out of pocket after the fact than to prepay for it. Don’t forget to fill it up though, because car rental companies might charge you for a full tank if you don’t.

And, check the gas tank meter. Some companies charge even if it’s off by just a little bit.

Do Not Pay For GPS

With smartphones and native GPS being ubiquitous, it’s just not worth the cost to pay for services like GPS. Ditto for a child car seat. These amenities can cost a lot — $10 per day or more. For that price, you’re better off bringing your own.

And, if you have a generous data plan on your phone, you won’t need the rental agency’s GPS service anyway.

Charles Phillips has past experience working for a large car rental company. Now having moved on in the world, he enjoys sharing some tips and tricks on how to save money on car rentals.

Categories: General

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May 6, 2016 Car Rental Smarts: Saving Money on Your Temporary Wheels