Car rental requirements: The minimum age is 25 in most states. In some states the minimal age to rent a car is 18-12. Check the state you will be renting the car in.
Most car rental agencies have various makes of cars to choose from, including economy, compact, full size and luxury. Smaller rental cars are usually less expensive. Save money by getting the smallest rental car that will fit your needs.
Before choosing a car rental agency, check their rating with the Better Business Bureau. If there are multiple unresolved complaints and a poor rating, choose another car rental agency.
Compare online prices as well as by phone of car rental agencies. Before checking rates, decide what type of car you need, where and when you can pick the rental car up, how many days the rental car will be used, how many miles you expect to drive and when and where you will be returning the rental car. Check for special deals, and be sure to ask about the specifics of the deal. If you must have a certain type of car, ask how many rental cars of this type are available and if you are guaranteed to get the type of car requested.
When phoning a car rental agency, ask if there are any discounts for members of AAA, AARP, or warehouses such as Sam’s Club or Costo.
If traveling by plane, check prices of rental car agencies that are not located close to or in the airport. Car rental prices can be cheaper at agencies farther away from the airport. Some car rental agencies such as Enterprise will pick you up and drop you off free of charge. Check the rates of an Enterprise car rental agency that is not located close to the airport.
Car rental rates are based on the type of car rented, length of time of car rental, gas charges, and/or mileage used. There are different plans for car rental, including a daily rate plus mileage rate or a rate that includes free mileage per day (a fixed amount of miles). Be aware that If you go over the fixed amount of miles, there is usually an extra fee.
Many companies set the car rental contract in 24 hour periods and have an extra fee added on if the vehicle is not returned on time. There can also be an extra fee for not returning the rental car to the location indicated in the contract, even if the rental car is returned to the same rental car company in a different city.
Rental cars generally include a full gas of tank when you pick up the car. Return the rental car with a full tank of gas, or you can be charged an extra fee for the gas. This can be 2-3 times the price of gas at the pump.
You may be encouraged to purchase extra auto insurance for the rental car. Check your personal auto insurance to see what coverage is provided for a rental car. Extra rental car insurance may not be necessary.
Before signing the rental car contract, read over it carefully. Inspect your rental car for any body damage or malfunction, such as headlights or windshield wipers not working. Check the contract and make sure any body damage or malfunction you notice on the rental car is listed in the contract. (Ask for another rental car if you deem the malfunction is a safety risk.) You can be charged an extra fee for damage incurred to the rental car upon its return.
Rental cars can be especially beneficial when vacationing or when emergency situations arise such as an accident and/or when a car needs repairs. Enjoy the rental car experience by protecting yourself before signing the rental car contract and driving off the lot.