President’s Day weekend is coming up, which means a large amount of folks are looking to spending the three- or four-day weekend traveling across the US. Whether you’re taking a scenic road trip through the diverse natural landscapes of the nation, or taking a flight to a new, exciting city, there’s a good chance that, somewhere along the line, you may consider springing for a car rental.
Renting an automobile during your vacation can have many benefits:
- Prevents you from putting mileage on your own vehicle
- Rentals are relatively inexpensive – and choosing one with great mileage can save even more money
- They can be the most convenient way to travel through a state or city you’ve never visited.
However, with all these benefits come a slew of rules, responsibilities, and potential ways that rental companies can mislead you into giving them more money. Here are some things to take into consideration while renting a car.
Know Your Coverage
One service that car rental companies will immediately push on you is forms of insurance. After all, these aren’t your vehicles, and if you end up wrecking them, it should make sense that you’re on the financial hook for the damages and whatnot. Some of the options and add-ons they may offer include:
- Loss-Damage Waiver – also known as a Collision Damage Waiver, purchasing this means that the rental company agrees not to make a claim against you for damages to the rented vehicle.
- Liability Coverage – a form of supplemental coverage that protects you if you were at fault.
- Personal Accident Insurance – covers your medical bills in case you’re injured.
- Personal Effects Coverage – covers your valuables if they’re stolen and/or damaged during a collision.
While these may seem absolutely necessary for your weekend trip, none of them are. If you’re already insured by an existing auto insurance policy, they may cover your rented vehicle – and if not, there’s a good chance that adding that coverage is just a quick phone call away.
Additionally, did you know that your credit card may offer insurance options as well? If you rent a vehicle with a credit card, you may be eligible for secondary insurance – a form of insurance that kicks in after you’ve exhausted your primary insurance coverage.
Before opting into any unnecessary add-ons, be sure to consult your auto insurance provider and/or your bank to see if they already offer the coverage you need.
Document Potential Headaches
So you’ve rented a car, and you’re about to hit the road – but before you put the pedal to the metal, give your vehicle a thorough inspection. Be on the lookout for dents, scratches, or anything that may resemble damage that the company can later see, and take pictures to properly document them. You don’t want to be held responsible for any damage you didn’t do yourself, no matter how minor it may be buy essay online reviews.
Additionally, make a note of the gas level in your vehicle, so when you refill it upon return, you don’t overfill. You want to only pay for the gas that you’ve used, after all.
Understand Your Rental Terms and Conditions
Thoroughly read through your terms before embarking on your vacation – there may be things there that may bite you later on. For example, if you’re traveling out of state, ensure that the car’s terms actually allow you to do so. Other things to consider may include:
- Potential fees for additional drivers
- The minimum age of the driver (for liability purposes)
- An early return fee for handing off the rental earlier than the intended time
- The grace period for returning your vehicle within the intended time before racking up late fees (some places may have a 30-minute period, while others may have a 2-hour period)
If you’re simply unsure of something, it never hurts to ask.
Upon return, you should now be able to check the vehicle in with minimal hassle. Be sure to be there with the inspector as he looks for any potential damage – if there’s a point of contention, you can always refer back to your photos.
Remember to stay safe and be smart on the road this President’s Day weekend!