Renting a car is a process that most people have to go through at some point in their lives, whether it be for business or pleasure, as the fast-moving world often dictates that a car is necessary in order to get around. Renting a car can be more confusing and complicated than people first think, though, and everyone wants to get the best deal and the best car possible to enjoy their time to the maximum.
Within this article, we will list 10 things that people may not know about the car rental process, from ways to save money renting to things that have to be done before taking the car back and everything in between.
When you first go to rent a car, the chances are that the company will offer its best available vehicles in the hope you pick the premium options. While you might not be swayed into that, there are often even cheaper possibilities than what is on offer. Many companies actually have a range of slightly older cars available, and even though they might have more miles on the clock and won't be in as good of a condition, they can actually bring the cost down significantly.
Of course, a vintage car will be different; in fact, the price will probably rise. But if you are able to get an older vehicle for less money, it could be a viable way to save some cash right out of the gate.
Everyone loves a bargain, and the possibility of making the car rental process a little bit cheaper is something that everyone can get behind. This is why it is always important to look for discounts or promotional codes before booking.
Many rental car services will directly offer codes or vouchers during their peak times in order to get as much business in as possible, but other, third-party companies often run codes that can be redeemed as well. While they will not always be a code available to shave off the price, the chances are that, if you look hard enough, you will find a way of saving money.
One trap many people fall into when renting a car is feeling that they must go with one of the major car rental companies such as Enterprise because it seems like they are the best bet and the safest option.
However, you do not always have to go with a gigantic company to get a fantastic deal, as many smaller companies are now far more competitive, all because they want to get your business. Those companies will have a much smaller collection of cars and they are not as likely to be the newest models, but if it comes to saving money in the long run, then that could be worth considering.
Whilst it is fairly obvious that you shouldn't return a car late, as the company is likely going to need the vehicle for someone else and the necessary checks have to be made before passing it over, some companies can charge for being too early as well.
It might seem crazy that you could potentially be punished for bringing a car back too early, but sometimes, the companies simply do not have the space for all of their vehicles at one time, and therefore an early arrival can cause problems. It is always best to ask the rental agent ahead of time about the company policy in regards to a drop-off time, especially if you know that it is going to be earlier than planned.
You might think that the only time you need to put fuel into a rental car is during the duration of the rental itself when it is being used on a regular basis, but there is one more crucial time that the car must be topped up. If the car isn't turned back in with a full tank of gas, then you're going to be penalized, likely in the way of a fixed fine.
Most airports have refueling stations close to the airport. However, in more remote places, it is going to be important to take that into consideration and plan ahead of time. Of course, this is where cost-effectiveness comes into play, as a premium rental is going to require a higher grade fuel, which can end up racking the bill much higher than anticipated.
One common mistake that a lot of people make when renting a car on holiday is that people tend to get their rental cars straight from the airport, mainly because it's the most convenient thing possible.
However, something that a lot of people do not know is that it's actually a lot cheaper to rent a car from places outside of the airport. At the airport, companies add on extra fees, which they do not openly talk about. While it might mean having to sort out travel as soon as you arrive from the airport, which can be a hassle, it does have the potential to save a lot of money.
While you might be of the opinion that there are lots of different companies to rent a car from, the reality is that there are actually much less than you would imagine, despite the fact that there are lots of names around. The majority of car rental companies are under the same umbrella, all working together for one major company.
This creates a monopoly effect within the industry, although it holds everything too much higher standards and benefits the customer. However, the real lack of distinct companies has made the industry fairly stale, which means it can be a lot harder than it used to be to find a great deal.
The idea of spending time cleaning a car that you do not actually own might sound like work you just do not want to do, but there is a major benefit to ensuring that the car is returned to the company is gleaming condition.
Nowadays, when you rent a car, companies demand a deposit is placed down with a credit card on file, giving the companies a back-up if the cars are returned in a poor state, and that doesn't just mean bumps. While they don't expect the vehicle to look like it belongs in a showroom, they also do not want to see it be filthy inside and out. Therefore, giving it a clean can help avoid any extra penalties.
Something that car rental companies rely on is people buying extra items when they arrive, from a simple upgrade of the car to other extras, one of which tends to be a Sat Nav or another form of a navigation device. The idea behind this is it is an easy way for a company to make an extra bit of money from the customer who likely doesn't know their way around.
However, with modern technology, the need for things like this has shrunk dramatically. Instead of splashing the cash, why not simply use your phone as a map, allowing you to put in the destination and travel? Maps can also be saved with WiFi, so the need for cell service is not even a barrier anymore.
The biggest 'extra perk' that companies will try to sell people is extra insurance for driving a rental car, but what most people do not know is that their own car insurance normally will cover them for driving a rental. While it should be noted this is NOT always the case, if you have full coverage, the chances are you will be fine to drive a rental without buying anything extra from a company at a premium price. But it's always worthwhile checking first.
Not only does this fact save you a lot of money, with the need to fork out on extra insurance being deemed unnecessary, but it also provides peace of mind that you are still indeed covered if something goes wrong.