7 Things You Should Never Do when Renting a Car
Whether you’re heading out on a holiday vacation to the Florida beaches or just going to visit family, the last thing any traveler wants to deal with is car rental drama.
While renting a car can sometimes be tricky, the freedom of having your own set of wheels can be invaluable. Being able to come and go when you please can make a travel experience exciting and flexible. But before you put the key in the ignition, there are a few things to consider.
Between insurance options, prepaying for fuel, and car inspections, there are a lot of details to look at when booking a holiday car rental. Many renters return their car after their travels to find themselves loaded with unforeseen costs on the bill.
Knowing what not to do when renting your car can save you trouble and money. We’ve collected the ultimate not-to-do list for you to consider before you hit the road:
1. Purchase Insurance
Always make sure to check with your own insurance company first to confirm whether your car rental is covered under your policy. While many insurance companies can vary on this, most include holiday car rental.
The policy usually extends coverage to your rental car because your rental is considered a temporary replacement vehicle for you. Comprehensive coverage is extremely helpful in this case. Even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, it’s likely that your credit card has some sort of coverage for your rental.
If your car does get damaged, there may be a “loss of use” applied to cover the income loss while the car is out for repairs. They might charge you the rental amount per day of a car. Though many insurance coverages do not cover this, cards like American Express and Visa do if you use their card to purchase your rental.
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2. Ignore Upgrades
Sometimes all it takes is someone asking about upgrades to receive one. When going to pick up your rental car, ask the desk if there are any available upgrades that day. Specials change on a weekly basis, and there may have been upgrades made available since the time you booked your rental.
Online is another great place to look for holiday car rental upgrades. There are often discount codes and special deals available to those looking for car rentals. Many car rental companies in Florida offer upgrades to bigger vehicles at a minimal cost.
If you are a member of AAA, AARP, or airline frequent flier programs, they may have member perks for you. They are usually offered through their websites.
3. Forgetting to Refuel
As soon as you leave your car rental lot, make sure and look for where gas stations are in the area. Make a mental note and plan for extra time on the day of your holiday car rental return to stop by one of these gas stations to refuel your car.
Rental car companies charge you much more if they refill the car than what you would pay having done it yourself. Even in unfamiliar areas, find those gas stations!
4. Forgetting to Inspect the Car
Before leaving the lot, inspect your car thoroughly. Note any scratches, dents, or chips in the paint. You may catch something the car rental company did not. This will help you avoid being held responsible for any damage you did not cause when you return the car.
Besides the exterior, check for any interior problems as well. Interior tears or scuffs can be a costly thing to repair if you are held accountable.
A lot of people disregard the inspection sheets offered by the rental companies because they are in a hurry to start their trip. But be meticulous with this step. It can save you in the long-run. Consider snapping a few photos on your phone as well.
If you’ve rented from a reputable Florida car rental company, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about inaccurate inspections.
5. Leaving Inspections Up to the Holiday Car Rental Company
Returning a rental car can be extremely easy. Perhaps too easy. You can now leave your car on the lot and drop off the key in a box and head to your flight. This may seem like an appetizing thing to do if you are in a hurry because you spent some extra time on the beach.
But without being present when the agent is checking over your car, you might receive some complaints that you absolutely disagree with. Disputes of damage claims can be extremely tricky if there is no one there to defend you. Word against word in car rental damage procedures can be tiresome and expensive.
Your advocate in these cases will be the photos you took before, as well as the photos you should take upon returning your vehicle. A video of a 360 degree walk around the car will work too.
It’s always important to rent from companies that encourage customer feedback. Read reviews of other car renter’s experiences, and find a company that hasn’t had many customer dispute complaints.
6. Failing to Return Your Car On Time
If you bring your holiday car rental back late, it will cost you additional fees. If you think you might have to return your car late, call the company in advance to see what can be done to avoid extra charges.
7. Crossing the Border
You may not be considering crossing international borders but if you’re in Florida and planning a southern road trip through Texas and think it might be fun to dip down into Mexico, then read on.
Most U.S. car rental contracts don’t allow you to drive through international borders. Your insurance coverage also most likely won’t cover you outside of the U.S.
If you know you want to cross borders, check with your rental company and insurance policy to see what is possible. Sometimes agreements can be flexible and things can be purchased ahead of time to help you avoid any problems.
Carefully inspect your holiday rental car, refuel it, follow the rules and don’t cross any borders for the ultimate, hassle-free car rental experience.
Renting cars can be a seamless, drama free experience by following these tips. And after all, wouldn’t you rather spend your time at your destinations instead of arguing over car rental agreements?
When you’re ready for an easy, affordable and efficient car rental experience, contact us!