Planning a trip can be stressful enough not to add the twists and turns of renting a car while on holidays. Whether you’ll be traveling locally, regionally or crossing borders, if driving a rental vehicle is part of your plans, you’ll find here some interesting tips that will help you avoid being ripped off or a victim of a scam.
Avoiding Scams Is Not Impossible
A quick and light Google search will introduce any traveler to the thousands scams and complaints related to car rental agencies and their services. Most customers complain about their aggressive sale tactics, the hidden costs that turn an initially competitive fee into a pricey one and how difficult it can be at times to actually see the contract before signing it.
Knowing this beforehand can help you be better prepared both at the pick-up and the drop-off desk and look for a car rental agency with the best reputation in customer service.
Stay Away From Brokers
Avoid making reservations via a car rental broker. He is just an intermediary and the actual deal will be done with the agency. As sales agents, they are price comparison sites but they won’t help you if any problem arises.
Do I Need An Upgrade?
As part of their sales tactics, many agencies will try to push you to opt for a larger car even if it is not what you initially had in mind. Remember that you are under no obligation to rent a car that you don’t need. Remember that agents can be convincing and they are trained in almost every sale tactic you can think of. Don’t let them push you!
Try to Catch The Best Deal!
Many a time getting the best deal is not a question of discovering an attractive last-minute offer but of being patient and an excellent planner. You can increase significantly your chances of renting a nice car for a fair fee simply by going to the rental agency as soon as you start planning your trip. The earlier you are able to book your car, the more affordable the fees will be.
As you won’t be leaving the car hiring to the last minute, you’ll be able to shop around, surf the web and check for recommendations in order to find the company that fits your needs. Shopping around will be especially helpful if you are considering adding additional drivers or if you need to hire a children’s car seat. Some companies can ask for quite a fortune for these extras!
Is It The Right Vehicle?
It may seem to be a silly question but make sure that you are choosing the right vehicle before signing the contract. Make sure that the car you choose has enough room for all passengers and luggage for a comfortable ride, check that it is a brand and model you are familiar with and that it is appropriate for the kind of driving you’ll be doing and roads you’ll be going through.
Are You Insured?
Just as you wouldn’t even start your car without having it insured you shouldn’t drive a rental car without insurance. You can expect the agency to offer to you theirs at the pick-up desk. However, the coverage they offer is limited and usually pricey. Your credit card can be another option, but you can only use it as second-hand insurance meaning that you cannot claim against if if you need to if you have another car insurance. Car owners can also take advantage of their own car insurance if they are paying the extension to get covered when driving rental cars. But they should know that, in case they have to raise a claim, their policy may suffer an increase up to 44% (Wow!)
In such a context, buying an insurance policy for your rental car from an independent company can be a great idea and probably the most affordable and suitable for your budget. Most independent insurers offer drivers an ample coverage and interesting additional services.
Review the car you are offered at the rental agency. Check for dents or scratches on the surface of your vehicle, check the tyres are in perfect condition, etc and make sure that anything you see is well recorded in the papers you’ve received. You don’t want to be charged for scratches that were not your fault!