Save Money With a Rental Car Comparison

Between the travel, lodging, and food costs, a family vacation can quickly turn into an expensive undertaking. One way to save money is to conduct a rental car comparison before you leave. Identify the major rental agencies in your destination city and get price quotes from at least three of them in order to get the best deal. There are so many rental car companies, each with rental terms structured differently, so here is a guide to a few of the details you will want to ask about.

Services and Base Fees

First you need to identify what size vehicle you are interested in renting, how far you plan on driving it, and what the duration of your rental will be. With these three pieces of information, you can begin your rental car comparison. You should be quoted a base rate for the rental terms you’ve outlined, as well as upgrade fees that you can consider later. Make sure that the pick-up and drop-off locations and times are convenient given your travel plans. Sort through the fine print to find out what amenities the company offers with their vehicles – will you be charged for a GPS navigation system, child safety seats, or roadside assistance? Don’t forget to factor customer service into your rental car comparison – your time is valuable, and it should be treated that way!

Insurance Coverage

That brings you to the second stage of your rental car comparison. Most states legally require that you have some form of car insurance, and this will apply to your rental vehicle as well. Speak with your own auto insurance representative to learn what kind of coverage your current policy has for rentals. You may find that you already have comprehensive insurance and will not need to pay for additional coverage through the rental agency.

If you do need additional insurance, find out what kind of liability you will carry, what your deductible will be, and how insurance claims should be handled if they arise. The prices of the various levels of insurance will vary dramatically as you conduct the rental car comparison, based simply on your geographic location, the type of vehicle you are driving, and your personal driving record.

Payment Agreement

Are you required to make your rental payment in full when you pick up the vehicle, or can you complete your payment upon returning the vehicle? This may or may not be negotiable with different rental companies; however, it never hurts to ask! If you have narrowed the choices down to two or three, this may be the deciding factor in your rental car comparison.

Hidden Fees

The most important and surprising aspect of a thorough rental car comparison is uncovering any hidden fees. Ask about refueling costs, mileage penalties, extra driver fees, young driver fees, and vehicle drop off flexibility. With some companies, you will be charged a late fee if you miss your scheduled drop of time by even just fifteen minutes. Talk to a representative ahead of time to make sure you are aware of their fee schedule so that you have no unwanted surprises.