Car rental companies are notorious for adding extra charges to your bill, to the point where you will be completely shocked by the final price. You might be charged cleaning fees, upgrade fees, GPS fees secondary driver fees, and other hidden fees that balloon the original costs of the rental.
One of the biggest additional charges that you might face is insurance. Car rental insurance is supposed to protect you from handling the entirety of car repairs and other related expenses when you encounter problems like collisions. But did you know that you don’t have to sign up for this insurance? Despite the pressure that the rental company puts on you, you do not have to agree to this service. You could save yourself some money and skip this addition to your bill.
But how will you be protected in the worst-case scenarios? Don’t worry. You may already have coverage through these various safety nets.
Your Auto Insurance Policy:
If you already own a car, you likely have an auto insurance policy — it is mandatory to have auto insurance to drive a vehicle in almost every single state. If you happen to live in a state where auto insurance is not required, you should still sign up for it to protect yourself from expenses related to auto accidents.
Your auto insurance policy may extend protection to any vehicles that you rent. So, you could still access liability coverage and collision coverage through your policy if you happen to get into an accident in your rented vehicle. Double-check your policy to confirm that your coverage extends to rental cars.
Your Travel Insurance Policy:
Did you sign up for a private travel insurance plan before you went on vacation? That’s a great safety net to set up for yourself. A travel insurance plan can help you cover expenses related to delayed flights, canceled flights, lost baggage, and emergency medical treatments while you’re abroad.
It could potentially help you with rental vehicle troubles, as well. Check your policy to see whether you have any protections for rental vehicle issues like collision damage or theft of personal effects.
Your Credit Card Perks:
Some credit cards offer rental car insurance as a benefit, as long as the account holder uses the card to book the expense and denies the rental company’s insurance offering. This rental insurance tends to supply coverage for collision damage, theft, towing charges, and loss-of-use charges (these are charges meant to compensate rental companies for the financial losses they can incur while a damaged vehicle is removed from circulation for the sake of repairs).
Usually, credit cards offer what is called “secondary insurance”, which means that the policy won’t kick in until after the primary insurance provider (in this case, your auto insurance company) accepts the claim. After the primary provider accepts the claim, you can turn to the secondary insurer to help cover any additional costs, including your auto insurance deductible.
Your Emergency Fund:
Do you have an emergency fund sitting in a savings account? If you do, then you’ll be ready to pay for urgent expenses out of pocket, like a roadside service fee when you aren’t signed up for a roadside assistance plan. You could use your savings to pay for services like towing, fuel delivery, and jumpstarting a dead battery without breaking a sweat. You could also use these savings to pay for an auto insurance deductible if you ever needed to make an emergency claim.
What if you don’t have enough savings in your emergency fund? When you’re facing an emergency expense and you don’t have enough in your emergency fund to cover it all, you could try to apply for an online personal loan through CreditFresh as a backup plan.
Your application for an online personal loan could get approved, which could give you enough temporary funds to handle your emergency in a short amount of time. After the emergency is paid for, you could commit to a simple loan repayment plan through a monthly billing cycle.
You should only use personal loans for emergencies. This borrowing solution is not meant for other types of expenses, like paying to upgrade your rental vehicle or buying fuel for your road trip.
Don’t get pushed to spend more on your vehicle rental than necessary. Your current safety nets might offer you plenty of protection in case something goes wrong on the road.
Age and License Requirements
Before renting a car, it’s essential to check the age restrictions and license requirements imposed by rental companies. Most companies require renters to be at least 21 or 25 years old, and a valid driver’s license is a must. Some companies may also have age-related surcharges for younger drivers, so it’s crucial to understand these requirements to avoid any surprises at the rental counter.
Understanding Rental Terms
Familiarizing yourself with the rental terms and conditions is vital. These terms outline the rental period, mileage limits, fuel policies, and return procedures. Pay close attention to mileage limits, as exceeding them can result in additional charges. Fuel policies may require you to return the car with a full tank or pay for the missing fuel. Knowing these terms ensures a smooth rental experience.
As you embark on the journey of car rentals, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the intricacies of the process, including understanding the timelines involved in resolving vehicle incident claims, a topic extensively covered in another resource.
When you pick up your rental car, take the time to inspect it thoroughly. Check for any pre-existing damage, such as dents, scratches, or interior issues. Document any findings on the rental agreement and ask the rental agent to acknowledge them. This inspection is crucial to avoid being held responsible for damages that were present before your rental.
Returning the rental vehicle correctly is essential to prevent extra fees. Follow the rental company’s guidelines for refueling, which typically involve returning the car with the same fuel level as when you received it. Ensure you return the car on time to avoid late return charges. It’s also a good practice to clean the interior of the vehicle and remove personal belongings before returning it.