How to Rent a Car

How to Rent a Car

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Smart car renting tips

Whether flying into a city far from home or needing another car locally for a few days, you may find yourself considering renting a car. Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, Avis and others would be only too happy to let you drive one of their cars, but there are certain rules and restrictions you must be aware of before renting one.

Age Restrictions

You may be a licensed driver and at least 18 years of age, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to rent a car. Some companies set the rental age minimum higher, requiring drivers to be 21 or even 25 or older.

Legally, companies can “discriminate” based on your supposed lack of driving experience, but not all companies offer such restrictions.

Payment Options

Cash won’t do when renting a car or at least in securing a rental. You’ll need a major credit card although you may be able to pay your rental in cash after you return it. The rental company will reserve the right to charge your credit card after the fact if it has been shown that your car was damaged while you were using.

Always inspect your vehicle before turning it in.

Insurance Requirement

Though you may not need to demonstrate insurance coverage in order to rent a car, you may need to buy optional rental insurance from the rental company before getting the keys to the car. That insurance can be costly, but the cost of having no insurance means you pay for whatever damages you incur when renting including the loss of the vehicle.

Check your auto insurance policy to verify that car rentals are covered and what deductibles, if any, apply. Sometimes your credit card provides that protection.

Shop Around

You’ll do better with a car rental deal if you shop around first. Use Priceline, Say Fun Travel or similar pricing network to help you find a deal on your car rental. Compare rates, look for special deals, find the car in your class you want and agree to an upgrade if paying for extra fuel consumed is fine with you.

Read your contract carefully, take note of mileage restrictions, review costs related for refilling the car by the rental company and familiarize yourself with drop off times and locations. Enterprise, for example, will pick you up and drop you off again.

Resources

Edmunds.com: Top 10 Car Rental Tips

USAToday: Should You Say Yes To Rental Car Insurance? It Depends

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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".