Car Rentals: 3 Things You Overlook that Could Save You Lots of Money

Getting a rental car can be the most convenient solution when going to a new place for a short while, since it gives you the convenience of dictating your own schedule and routes. However, many people still don't know how to go about the entire process, including valuable tips that could help them make significant savings off their car rentals, and so they end up making these costly mistakes.

Buying insurance when you don't need to

Car rentals typically offer insurance to cover you during your trip. Even though it's a good idea, sometimes you may not need the insurance they offer. Check with your auto-insurer first; if you have comprehensive coverage, the policy considers rentals a replacement car (because your own is unavailable). This applies even if the rental car isn't the same model as your own, so you don't have to worry about getting a car that's exactly like the one you own. However, claiming insurance on a rental car after an incident may increase your premiums.

If you don't have comprehensive cover, the next place to check is with your credit card company (of course, it has to be the card with which you're paying for the rental). Some credit card companies provide insurance that's just as good as the insurance policy you're paying for, but then you wouldn't have to incur the additional cost of paying a premium. Before taking up the insurance offered, check with your auto insurer and the credit companies of the cards you own to see if you're already protected.

Not taking the inspection seriously

This applies to inspection prior to and following departure. It's important to have a camera with you, as well as a member of staff from the rental company to inspect the vehicle with you at both times. Give it a thorough going over inside and out, looking out for scuffs, scratches, loose parts, mirrors and operation of power windows among others. Don't just walk around the car perfunctorily. Take lots of pictures or even a video in the presence of the staffer, so that you have them as evidence when you return the car.

This also applies to your final inspection. Do not just return the car and leave without having an agent inspect to ensure everything is in place. If you do this and there's a dispute over damages (these will come later on), it will be your word against the company since you cannot prove that you returned the car in the condition you took it in. Always ensure that an agent signs off on the condition of the car before you leave. Again, take pictures or a video in their presence.

Paying for fuel in advance

Paying the rental company to fuel the car for you can increase your convenience, but it can also shave a lot off your pocket. Even though most car rentals have metres that charge only for the fuel you use, they'll also charge extra to cover the cost of the service. There are fuel stations virtually everywhere; bear the inconvenience of fuelling the car yourself, which allows you fill up only as much as you will use. You can also shop around cheaper fuel stations, or take advantage of coupons and deals, e.g. those offered by credit card companies. Unless you're on a strict timeline or headed for the middle of nowhere, prepaying for fuel is a cost you can avoid.

For more information, talk to a professional like 1300 Meteor Rentals.