If this is the first time you are renting a car, there are many things that you need to know. Here is a short guide on dealing with the nitty-gritties of renting cars.
The conditions for car renting may vary, according to the brand or size of the car you opt for. The rented vehicle should be returned in good condition, and should not exceed the prescribed driving distance specified by the car agency. If the distance exceeds the normally prescribed one, the agency will ask for a payment for extra distance covered. In addition to this, there is a minimum age for the vehicle driver, mostly 18 or 21, but in some cases, it is 25.
GPS (Global positioning System) technology is used to locate the vehicle in case of any mishap. A majority of car rental agencies insist on the use of credit cards to make it easier to identify the person who steals the car. This also lets them charge additional fees, if any defect is later found with the car, after the it is return.
The information or documentation required to collect a car are passport or any other identification similar to it. This includes driver’s license, prepaid car voucher, and a valid credit card in the driver’s name. In some countries, international driver permit, along with national license is mandatory. Normally, if a rental customer needs to make any changes in the booking, he will have to contact the customer service.
Depending on the insurance coverage offered, base rental rate may vary. But in most cases, this insurance is already covered by an auto insurance policy. Exception from this is collision damage waiver (CDW), which is the extra daily charge, covering both cost of car damage involved in an accident, and loss of use charged by the agency.
Loss of use points towards the time and money lost by the car company, as the vehicle cannot be rented during the time of repair, in case of an accident. Some credit cards cover the damage or theft of the rented car. Most credit cards which offer this feature only cover basic models, excluding SUVs and luxury cars.
To avoid being taken for a ride by rental agencies, consult with an insurance agent before renting a car, especially if you plan to use it for a long duration.
Some Points to Remember
- Know the age requirement for drivers, specified by the agency.
- Compare the rent charged by different agencies.
- Determine whether it is a free upgrade or discounted rate.
- The classes of the car depend on the brands at different car rental agencies. Rental cars will typically be the base models.
- Book the vehicle as soon as possible to avoid the confusion during travel.
- Before providing the credit card number, ask about the cancellation policy.
- Avoid paying up double for the car insurance.
- If two people are going to drive, make sure that both of their names are present in the agreement.
- Inspect the car before taking it from the car agency.
- Ask for map and directions to the destination.
- Frequent renters should prefer the membership of an agency that has special offers for them.
- Make sure that the mileage policy is favorable, to avoid extra charge.
It is better to rent the car according to the weekly rate, if you plan to use it for more than five days. That leaves room for a last-minute change in travel plans, besides saving money through the discount.