All of us will rent a vehicle at one time or another, whether for vacation, business or while your personal vehicle is in for repairs. While renting a vehicle can be convenient, some aspects can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are five tips you may wish to share with your valued customers to help them obtain the best rental rate and avoid additional charges:
1. Rental Insurance – Rental Car companies often push their “insurance coverage,” collision damage waiver, and liability coverage, but it can be costly. If you have your own auto insurance policy, it may cover liability and collision damage for temporary use of a rental vehicle. Be sure to ask you agent before you rent. If you are using a credit card to reserve and pay for your rental car, it may provide secondary collision coverage. Often the credit card coverage will cover what your personal auto policy doesn’t, and you may not even have to pay your deductible. Before renting a vehicle, contact your agent and your credit card company to check if you’re already covered. If you don’t have your own policy, rental vehicles aren’t covered. If you’re concerned about a potential premium increase if you need to file a claim on your policy, the car rental company’s insurance may be the better option.
2. Rates – Car rental rates can vary based on the company, location, and when you’re booking a rental. It’s always a good idea to comparison shop among companies and look for deals. Many websites let you compare rental car rates. If you’re renting a vehicle at an airport, be prepared to pay a higher cost due to airport surcharges. Many off-site rental car companies provide transportation to and from the airport, which may be more cost effective.
3. Gas – When you return your rental vehicle, you should always top off the gas. If you return the rental with less than a full tank, the rental car company will charge an inflated price for gas.
4. Inspection – You have the right to inspect the vehicle before you sign the rental contract. This is important because the contract often states you’ll be responsible for any damage found on the rental vehicle when your return it. Before you drive it, thoroughly inspect your rental car with a rental car employee. Before you sign the contract, be sure the employee notes any prior damage, including scratches, dings, and dents. It’s also always a good idea to take photos of any damage at the time of the inspection. Never assume any damage is too small to document or you may end up paying for it. It’s equally important to make sure the rental car staff inspects the car in your presence when you return the rental so you can agree on any possible damage.
5. Returning Rental – Returning your car early may cost your money. The rental car company may charge an early-return fee or your rate structure might change, leaving you responsible for the difference. For example, if you rented a vehicle at a weekly rate but return it after only six days, you may lose the discount you got for the weekly rate and pay a more expensive daily rate. Returning your vehicle late could also cost you. Many rental car companies only give you a 30-minute grace period before adding late fees. Before leaving the vehicle, be sure to check that your didn’t leave any personal belongings. Examine your rental agreement for all charges and make sure the agent credits any deposit while you wait.
Next time you rent a vehicle, keep these tips in mind to help keep your rental cost to a minimum and to avoid any surprising charges.
SOURCE: West Bend, Tess Frost, Claims Representative II, West Bend, The Trend, May-June 2018 Issue