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Car Rentals: What To Know

by Dave Dobson

If you’re new to travelling by car or renting cars, you may wonder: what’s with all the paperwork? Car rental companies use rental contracts, agreements, and other forms to spell out the terms—and responsibilities—of renting out cars. While these companies should explain all pertinent details to you, some of the languages in the contracts can be confusing. Below is a quick guide to help you comply with rental car company forms so you can enjoy your time on the road.

Here Are 8 Things To Know About Renting A Car

If you don’t have cash, use a credit card when picking up the car

Renting a car can be a great way to explore a new city or get from an airport to your hotel. However, renting it without a credit card can be scary since most rental companies require you to pay upfront. But what if you don’t have cash? Most of them will accept major credit cards, but you’ll want to call ahead to make sure.

Keep drivers to a minimum

A car rental is especially good if you’re travelling in a large group, have kids, or don’t feel comfortable driving in a new city. Renting a car allows you to be mobile and plan your day at your own pace. Plus, it is cheaper than buying and maintaining your own.

Kids cost more to drive rental cars

Finding the perfect car to accommodate your family when travelling can be a headache, especially when you have young children or babies. There can be a lot of hidden fees, such as extra charges for car seats and booster seats, as well as extra charges for paying with a credit card. The good news is that there are better options out there.

Shop around the city for car insurance

Renting a vehicle is always a hassle, and even more so when you don’t know what you’re getting. What many people don’t know is that rental car insurance can get costly and, in a lot of cases, isn’t required. All rental agencies are required to offer basic coverage, but it’s up to you to go a step further and protect yourself. Take a little time to shop around for insurance and ensure you get all the coverage you need.

Stay on paved roads

Renting a car is a great way to explore a new area. Although they can be expensive, they can help you see areas you may not have otherwise. However, renting a car and driving on unpaved roads is extremely dangerous.

Try not to rent a car at the airport

One of my pet peeves is when people drop rental cars off at the airport. These cars typically get returned late in the evening, and since most airports have car rental lots, this can cause a bottleneck in traffic. It’s one thing to drop off a car at the office counter, but to drop it off at the airport, where the terminal is full of travellers just trying to get home, is rude. Please try not to rent a car at the airport for your own sake.

Fill up the tank before returning the car

Most people book their car rentals online, but if you are doing it in person, make sure you know how to fill the car up with gas. Not all rental cars have a gas station, so you will need to know how to fill up the tank before returning it.

Bring your own extras as much as possible

Travelling by rental car is a great way to get around. Many rental companies will allow you to bring whatever extras you want. Be aware, though, that you need to make your reservation in advance. Also, try to limit or avoid bringing certain items that will end up costing you more in excess charges.

Importance Of Renting A Car

You need a social security number, a valid credit card, and a valid driver’s license to rent a car. Some rental companies will also require a debit card or cash deposit. Some companies will also charge a deposit to your credit card. Most companies will inform you upfront what these deposit requirements will be, but some may estimate when they see the state’s license/reservation number.

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