The dos and don’ts of car rental

Renting a car, whether for business or pleasure, is not quite as simple as it first appears. It’s not just a case of getting the keys and driving off into the distance; there are all sorts of factors to think about both before booking and while you’re out and about in your temporary set of wheels. Hopefully, the following pointers will make car hire as stress free and convenient as possible.

Do

  • Book in advance. Car rental companies may offer enticing discounts to customers who buy policies as far in advance as possible, especially online. It may also save you time as well as money when it comes to picking up the motor itself as it should just be a case of showing the relevant documentation and off you go onto the open road.
  • Plan ahead. Think about how many people will be traveling in the car, what terrain you’ll go journeying over and how much space you’ll need for luggage before deciding which vehicle to select. It’s important to be as comfortable as possible if you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time in the vehicle so be practical. Do you need an SUV? Is it really worth paying more for a sports car?
  • Inspect the car. You need to be aware of the general state of the vehicle before you set off as any changes to the exterior or interior will result in you incurring some sort of financial penalty. If you spot something that’s not right, flag it up straight away to the rental company.
  • Read the small print. The terms and conditions of your rental policy are important as you don’t want to end up having to pay any more than the original price. Check to see if you’ll be punished for things like returning the car with an empty tank or if you’ve got limited mileage. You need to be sure exactly what the consequences are if certain scenarios occur, like if you’re involved in an accident.
  • Be cautious. The aim of the game is to return the car in the same state you received it so be extra cautious once you get behind the wheel, particularly if you’re in a different country that may have a different driving culture as well as separate rules and regulations.

Don’t

  • Be late. If you fail to stick to the agreed drop-off time then you’ll be faced with the prospect of being charged for the inconvenience caused to the rental company. This would undo all your time and effort in making sure you shopped around for the best deal going.
  • Get needlessly insured. You obviously need to be insured, but it may not be a case of having to start a new, temporary policy as your existing policy could cover you. To clarify the issue speak to your insurance agent and see what they suggest. Car hire companies will often try and sell you rental insurance, but it can be more beneficial to bide your time before parting with your money.

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