How to get the best car hire deal. Many items purchased at the last minute can be exorbitantly priced because the seller knows you have no other arrangements in place. This can be especially true when renting out a car on landing at an airport. Many car rental companies charge airport rental surcharges for the convenience of being able to rent immediately on arrival. However, pre-booking can save you this unnecessary charge, and you still get to collect your car at the airport. An even more cost-effective option is to pre-book your car rental with a company based outside of the airport complex and collect it directly from their offices…although you will have the added cost of the bus, train or taxi ride to consider to get to collect your car rental.
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Compare Car Rentals:
Before booking a car hire online always research what is available in the marketplace and select the best option that fits your needs and of course your budget. Very often the best place to review and compare what is on offer is to go online and input your requirements into comparison car rental website. This will do all the work for you, showing you who is cheaper, the add-on costs, the necessary documentation required, etc. In addition, try to get a quote from the less recognisable ‘big name’ car rental brands, as they may be keener to undercut the prices of their more salubrious competitors! Finally, make sure that the price being quoted includes any taxes due, like value added tax.
Cross Company Discounts:
Sometimes when we purchase a product, we are offered discounts on non-related third-party products, typically through a discount card or discount membership number. It is always worth checking to see what third party offers are available, particularly from your insurance policy on your car, home, health, etc, to see if they also offer any cross company offers on car rental.
Another possible avenue to seek out cross company car rental discounts is through your own employer. Many companies have discount schemes in place with car rental companies, typically used to offer to their visiting clients…so ask your boss first before booking!
Avoid The Extras:
How many times do we go shopping for a basic item and end up spending more than we budgeted by buying all the add on options, many of which are unnecessary, like top of the range sat nav systems.
Some car rental companies penalise younger car renters, particularly the under twenty-fives. There are a couple of ways to avoid this. Firstly, the most obvious is to seek out a car rental company that des not have any unrealistic age restrictions/penalties and secondly, if there is an older person in your travelling party (who you can persuade to drive on the trip!), make the booking in their name instead if your own age is attracting a cost penalty.
Ask About Offers:
Never book a car rental at the advertised rate before you ask if there are any special deals on offer first. Many car rental companies use these offers as a last resort to win the business so will not flag them initially if they feel you are prepared to pay the full rate.
Small Is Good:
Never book a car that is bigger than you a have a requirement for. Typically, the bigger the car, the greater the rental cost. However, make sure you take into account that the car needs to be big enough to transport all your luggage requirements!
Avoid Multiple Drivers:
The more drivers in your travelling party you put on the rental policy, the greater the rental car package cost. The cheapest option is to try and have only one driver, particularly for lower insurance costs.
This is the most important item to check out before signing your car rental agreement. All car rental policies should come with third party cover to cover car damage or personal injury to any third parties, but this will not cover you or your family members liabilities should something go wrong. It is imperative that your policy also includes the following insurance policies:
In addition to ensuring that you are fully covered for third party, CDW, theft and personal accident liability it is important that you check out the excess the policy requires you to pay in the unfortunate case of having to make a claim. This is money you need to pay before the insurance policy kicks in to pay the balance.
Make sure you know in advance of picking up your car all the necessary documentation that will be required before the keys are handed over. A credit card, driving licence and of course your passport for identification purposes are commonly required. You must also give details of all the other passengers in your travelling party.
Make sure to check the car for any pre-existing damage outside and inside the car BEFORE you drive off in it. If there are scratches/bumps on the body of the car, stains on the seat upholstery, missing accessories, etc, take pictures and notify the car rental company immediately. This will protect you from being charged for damage that you were not responsible for. Of course, if there are items not working properly, like safety belts, worn tyres, difficulty starting, strange engine sound, etc, ask for an immediate replacement car.
Check out the fuel refill conditions in the car rental contract. Sometimes it is cheaper to refill the rented car with fuel from a local garage before returning the car than the fuel charge the car rental company might bill you with if the tank is empty.
Make sure you have a widely accepted credit card (for example Mastercard/Visa), as cash may not be sufficient to secure the rental. Most car rental companies will require that you give them your credit card number so that they can bill you with any additional charges that might be incurred over the rental period, for example car damage, if you have not refuelled the car, etc.
Check out what extras the car rental agreement policy covers, and the items that fall outside it. Car rental companies may charge you for items like a GPS sat nav system, baby seats, etc. If these are not included as standards in the car rental price, consider bringing your own ‘extras’. For instance, Google Maps on your own mobile phone is probably as good as any GPS system being offered at an additional cost by the rental company.
Number Of Drivers:
There might be a ‘comfort factor’ is placing more than one driver on the car rental policy, just to give the main driver a day off! However, it is important to check the additional cost being charged by the car rental company before doing this, particularly if the car rental company discriminates against younger car drivers and your plan was to add your very safe twenty-three years old daughter to the policy!
Keep To The Road:
If you are planning to take the car ‘off-road’ e.g. dirt tracks, ensure that you are covered for this as most policies will only cover you for driving on normal authorised roads.
Many countries have automated toll roads so it is important to check out with the car rental company what is the most economical way of paying these, otherwise you could be hit with heavy fine fees from the car rental company (through your credit card) weeks after you return home.