Sooner or later you may need to get temporary transportation. When your car is being repaired or for a convenient way of getting around on vacation, sometimes you need to rent a car. As an informed consumer, you should know the ins and outs of the car rental business. This will help you avoid unnecessary charges and hidden fees.
Will several people be operating the vehicle, or will you be the sole driver? Additional names on the contract could mean increased cost. Also, the age of the drivers is a factor; there will be a higher charge for operators aged 21–24. It is best to simplify things and limit the number of drivers.
While your auto insurance may pay the full cost of a rental car, it does not cover accidental damage. Review your coverage before tackling the optional insurance offered by the rental agency. Chances are if you have collision and comprehensive on your owned vehicle, the protection will transfer to a rental.
Get educated about restrictions and fees included if you plan to drive the rental out of state. Know what you are getting into if you will be renting abroad. Many insurance carriers won’t cover rental cars out of the country.
If you don’t fill up before returning the car, rental agencies will charge an inflated fee if they must refill the tank. Do yourself a favor and fill the gas tank yourself.
If you opt for all the extras, it will cost you. Just like a less than filled gas tank, rental companies will charge an arm and a leg for added perks like an infant car seat or navigation system. These charges are compounded daily. Save money and bring your own.
If you have a less than perfect driving record you might not be able to rent a car. Some agents will run a background check to look for incidents on your driving record. If your past performance is not up to par, you may be rejected.
Carefully inspect the rental car before you sign the contract. Avoid being blamed for any pre-existing dents, dings or scratches. Make sure any damage to the car is signed off by an employee so you won’t be held accountable. It is common for rental agents to require customers to sign an inspection form. However, travelers and busy people are often in a rush and don’t take this step seriously enough.
Research car rental locations outside of the airport. Although it is most convenient to pick up and drop off at the terminal, that benefit comes with additional fees.
Is your checking account balance low or are close to reaching your credit card limit? Be prepared for the car rental agency to place a block on your account, to ensure the bill gets paid.
This may sound crazy, but some rental companies will charge extra for an early return. Bringing back the car either ahead of agreed upon time, or late can cost you additional charges. Know the company policy before you rent the vehicle.
Get the information you need before sealing the deal. If you wait until the last minute, you may wind up paying far more than you need to for your rental car.
Of course, you are always more than welcome to book our limo and taxi services to eliminate the burden of renting your own vehicle! We offer transportation throughout Houston as well as to and from neighboring cities such as Austin, Galveston, San Antonio, and more!