At some point in your life, you’ll end up renting a vehicle. Maybe you’re on vacation, your car is in the shop for repairs, or you’ve been involved in a truck accident. Whatever the case may be, there are a few things you need to know before renting a car for the first time.
You can’t legally rent a car in the United States until you’re 21, but don’t expect the same treatment as everyone else once you can. Renters under the age of 25 run into age-related fees on any rental. These fees can be so drastic that they overshadow the rental price itself.
The only way to avoid these fees is to book the car with code for a specific rate, which often details waiving age-related fees. Without that, you’ll find out just how much extra the rental company will charger at checkout.
In order to even talk to an agent about renting a car, you need to show them a valid driver’s license. You can’t hand over a photocopy, it has to be your physical license. You’ll also need a valid credit card. The prepaid variety do not count, and neither do any that are expired.
There are some instances where agencies allow renters to use a debit card instead. These are few and far in-between, however. Even if you do find what appears to be a more reasonable company, expect a new set of hassles and fees without any credit built up.
While you’re going over the rental contract, you’ll notice that the majority of information it entails is insurance. Agents identify who is responsible for an accident, where the money to cover damages comes from, and as what happens afterward. Regardless of the details, expect the insurance to be expensive.
According to attorneys at Bowling Law, most renters end up overpaying for this coverage. You can save cash in this department by seeing if your current car insurance covers a rental. If you do have a credit card, your issuing company might include coverage as well.
There are a few ways to avoid a financial pitfall when shopping for a rental. Use agencies that offer quote matches, sign up for their loyalty programs before reserving your vehicle, and make sure to go through all of their rules with a fine-toothed comb. If you can, lock your rate in once you find the rental you want.
You can save money when returning your rental, too. Several companies charge extra for returning the car after-hours, so make sure to bring it back when they’re open. You should also fill up the gas tank to avoid unnecessary fees.
While you have the vehicle, make sure to keep a detailed record of any damage it sustains. Take photos of any damage the car has when you pick it up and anything that happens to it while it’s in your possession. This record will keep you from being subject to false claim and help you settle the cost of any accidents that might happen.