Whether you’re on a holiday and exploring destinations locally or interstate, or someone who drives occasionally when you need the convenience that only a set of wheels can provide, car rentals are a convenient option that many of us take advantage of. But while most journeys are trouble-free, we often hear horror stories about customers getting hit hard with additional fees and bills that make the overall cost of renting a car skyrocket.
To ensure hiring a car on holidays or whenever you need it remains an option that won’t cause you to shudder whenever “car rentals” are mentioned, here are 5 tips you don’t want to overlook the next time you hire a car.
As most rental cars have been around the block a few times and have often been subject to some pretty hard use by previous customers, you don’t want to pay for someone else’s damage. That’s why it’s so important to conduct a thorough inspection of the rental car before you drive it away. By noting any damage on the inspection report straightaway, informing the rental company of any further damage immediately and taking photos, you can ensure that you won’t have to pay for the damage that another driver caused.
A common problem among rental car customers is getting stung by exorbitant fuel prices for failing to return the rental car with a full tank. But don’t make the mistake of filling up on the way to the rental agency — be sure to do it just before you arrive so it’s as full as it can get. Most car rental companies charge an arm-and-a-leg to refuel their rental cars — some charge as much as $4 per litre! That’s a very expensive tank of fuel. Especially if you drop it off with an empty tank!
Always read the fine details of the insurance policy and if you’re unsure of something, ask a staff member for clarification. Many rental companies offer different options in relation to excess payments payable in the event of an accident — it’s always good to understand what your options are. What’s more, you should also check with your credit company to see if they offer insurance as a benefit of car ownership. You may already be insured by your credit card provider when you rent a vehicle. But still be sure to read the fine print!
Another benefit to credit card membership is that many credit card companies (and many professional associations, like workers unions and automotive clubs) offer their members free vehicle upgrades or reduced insurance premiums with allied rental car companies. If you use your credit card to pay for car hire or belong to a union, be sure to check before you book, especially if you use rental cars regularly. After all, who doesn’t love an upgrade?
Just as you would when you pick up the car at the agency to ensure you don’t pay for the damage another customer has caused, you must also inspect the vehicle when you drop it off. With a smartphone, it’s now so easy to take a few photos of the car when returning it, which helps to make sure you won’t be held accountable for any damage to the car that occurs after you’ve already handed back the keys.
Take note of these 5 car rental tips to save money on car hire and stay safe on the road.