Five things to consider before renting a car

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

lemon car

Car rentals can provide lots of flexibility when you’re traveling. You can avoid taking your own car on long trips and access locations that may be difficult to reach with public transport. This is perhaps why Zion Market Research reports that the global car rental market is poised to be worth $132.6 billion by 2028.

But renting a car comes with a few considerations that may be important for you to know. Before you go on your trip, here are some car rental factors you need to address.

Car insurance

You don’t actually need to head straight to a rental company to seek coverage for any damage you might incur. Sound Dollar explains that rental cars may already be adequately covered if you own a car at home or have a credit card with travel perks. Some credit cards also offer rental car insurance as a benefit, so it’s best to ask your bank about what they include in their coverage. You can buy coverage through a rental company as a last resort, but this may cost you as much as $40 daily. And though discounts are available, we reported that many Americans are unaware of auto insurance discounts. As such, you might want to shop around before getting insurance from a rental company.

Your destination

If you’re going to an unfamiliar place, it will benefit you to know the climate it experiences and how well-maintained its roads are. This can help you determine what amenities you’ll need in your rental car. For instance, if you’re going to a cold place, you may want to rent a car with seat warmers. If you find out the roads at your destination aren’t paved well, you might opt for a car with suitable suspension and wheels, like an SUV.

The rental shop’s location

Rentals at the airport are more expensive than off-airport locations. USA Today states that when renting a car, car rentals at off-airport locations in some cities can be as much as 50% cheaper than an airport rental. This is why you should book your vehicles at an off-airport site as soon as you book your hotel and tickets. If you don’t get the chance to do this, you can consider taking a taxi or rideshare directly to a rental shop from the airport.

Extra charges

Be wary of extra charges you may incur. Some companies charge more for young drivers (usually under 25) or seniors (over 65 or 70) due to the risks of accidents that drivers from these age groups typically pose. You may also be charged a one-way fee if you pick a car up in one location and drop it off at another. Additionally, some rental companies require that you return the vehicle with a full tank. Failing to do so can cost you more than if you had driven by a gas station before returning the car. Call the company ahead and inquire about additional charges to avoid these extra costs.

The car and its condition

Familiarize yourself with the model that you’ve chosen. Know how to adjust seats, lights, wipers, air conditioning, and other features. Make sure to ask the shop what fuel to use. Inspect the car thoroughly for any damage, both inside and outside, like dents, scrapes, or faulty amenities. Report them immediately. Otherwise, you may be held responsible for someone else’s mistake. The company can fix these faults or replace your car with a better one.

There are many factors to consider if you want a smooth time renting a car. Considering these four factors helps you avoid unexpected problems on your trip.

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