The car rental industry is huge, with the US as the leading country for car rental services. That isn’t a surprise though, even with the rapid adoption of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, Americans still love their rentals.
You see, the reasons why people rent vehicles are so unique that the industry can’t be replaced. At the core of it all, we all just want that private space that a personal car offers.
And so, whether your car broke down or you don’t wish to pay for taxi rides all day, car rental seems like the next best option.
However, there are things you need to keep in mind when renting a vehicle to ensure the process goes without hiccups. Let’s get down to it!
You may want to treat car rental like shopping for an outfit at H&M. Look around and don’t just settle on the first thing you see.
Also, like everything else, rental prices vary by company. It’d be best to compare rates and narrow down your search to the deals that sit well with you. From there, check out the individual companies and get a feel of their services before booking a vehicle.
If you’re wondering which sites list rental companies for comparison purposes, here are a few you can check out:
2. The User Agreement
Rental companies have legal contracts that you’re required to sign before you can drive away with their vehicles. Now, this is one of those things you really don’t want to gloss over, even if you’re in a rush.
The contact usually explains the terms and conditions and the penalties you may face if you breach any of those terms. Also, if there are hidden fees, that paper is where you find such things. It’d be best to take your time to read and understand the agreement before signing.
When renting a vehicle, it’s in your best interest to check that it’s in good condition. Driving away with a car that may have problems could ruin your day and even get you in trouble.
The last thing you want is to get stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting for the company to do something about your situation.
Also, keep in mind that a vehicle with issues can lead to an accident or land you in trouble with the law by breaching certain driving rules.
While rental companies generally maintain their vehicles for business reasons, you can’t always count on them. Try and inspect the vehicle yourself before leaving with it. Some of the things to look out for include:
- Check the windscreen and side mirrors
- Ensure the tires aren’t worn
- Check the seat belts
- Check the headlights
- Check for emergency gear like jack and spare tire
4. Your Budget
Granted, drafting a budget may not be your first thought when renting a car. It may not seem that necessary when you already know how much you’re willing to spend.
But the thing is, rental companies are pretty sneaky with their extras and conveniences, which may seem like little expenses, but they can add up pretty fast. With a drawn budget, you’ll easily decide on which extras to accept and which ones not to. That way, you won’t go beyond the limits you’ve set.
Before even sitting in the rented vehicle, make sure you’ve sorted out the insurance problem. Sure, most likely nothing will happen, but what if something does happen?
Rental companies offer insurance coverage that you can buy for the duration you have their vehicle. You may want to exhaust other options first as rental companies are well known for their unreasonable offers.
If you have your own auto insurance, you may want to check if it covers rentals as well because many do.
Additionally, find out if your credit card offers rental car coverage. This will allow you to decline the insurance offered by the rental car company.
6. The Day’s Plans
When renting a vehicle, it’s important to consider your day’s plans and the things you need to get done because they’ll factor into the overall cost. By making a clear plan, you’ll have an estimate of how long you’ll need the car for.
Things like the places you visit, the routes you’ll be taking, and the purpose of your trip are essential aspects of your planning. Remember, a detailed plan will save you a lot of time, which, in this case, is literally money.
7. Driver Requirements
Rental companies are pretty strict about drivers. Typically, the acceptable age is 25 and over, as they figure younger drivers can be irresponsible. If you’re below 25 years, you may need to produce a fee before you can sit behind the wheel.
There’s also the issue of additional drivers, which can be necessary if you’re going on a long trip. Remember that you may be charged extra fees for additional drivers added to the rental contract.
8. The Terrain
The subject of terrain is a sore spot for rental companies because that’s a genuine way of losing money in damages. But they’ll hold you accountable if you take their vehicle off-road.
Keeping in mind that your insurance will most likely not cover unusual terrain, you really should consider your destination and discuss it with the rental agency beforehand.
Generally, rental companies forbid off-road driving, but they may allow it if they have vehicles that fit rugged terrain.
Renting a vehicle has pros and cons; knowing about them will certainly give you an easy time. Remember, you may be held liable if something goes wrong, so if you have concerns about the vehicle, address it before leaving with it.
While it’s unfortunate, you could get into an accident while driving a rental. You don’t want to compromise on insurance. You’ll also need to check with a legal firm like JT Legal Group about filing a personal injury lawsuit, which you’d need if you’re having a hard time with your insurance provider.