Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mistakes to Avoid When Renting a Car

I was out of town this weekend and consequently had to rent a car. There are basically only 3 rules you need to know in when you rent a car.

1) Never take the rental company's insurance policy unless you don't have a car of your own with auto insurance. The rental company's insurance is generally a $25-$40 per day rip off because your insurance already covers rental cars. If you don't have your own car and insurance you should definitely buy theirs (better overpriced insurance than none at all).

2) Never take the "fuel option" which involves paying modestly expensive prices for a full tank of gas and then being allowed to bring the car in empty. There is very little chance you drive the car back into the rental place on fumes and, unless you do, you are giving the rental company free gas. You are generally much better off topping the car of on your way back to the rental place and returning it "full." Unless you are always pressed for time you will come out ahead filling up yourself.

3) Be sure to report any problems with the car before you leave or you may be held responsible for the damage. This is especially true if you are a "frequent renter" (e.g. Hertz #1 Club) and don't need to check in at the desk. I one time drove a terribly smokey smelling car for a whole weekend because I didn't bother to complain about it before I left; it just wasn't worth it.

Happy driving!

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