Renting a car can make a trip easier, and they come in handy if you’ve been in a fender bender or your car is in the shop for repairs.
As a go-to source for travel information, AAA reveals six things for consumers to check before renting a car:
- Do the math. An unbelievably low rate might not be so low when everything is said and done. Clarify taxes, surcharges and other fees you’ll be expected to pay in advance. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Plan ahead. Before arriving at the rental counter, decide whether you’re going to insure your rental. Review your auto insurance policy and major credit card agreements, because you already may be covered.
- Check restrictions. If you’re planning to drive across state lines or on a dirt road, check to see that it’s OK before you lock in your rental deal to avoid extra charges and/or penalties.
- Be on time … but not too early. Dropping a rental off late or early could result in extra charges. Call ahead to explain your situation and see if there’s any wiggle room on these fees.
- Supply your own car seat. If traveling with children, you can save $13 a day by providing your own child safety seat rather than renting one from the car company.
- Ask for discounts and deals. Often times, discounts are available through organization memberships and affiliations. When renting through Hertz, for example, AAA members receive the following benefits:
- Discounted GPS rental (a savings of $10 per day)
- Additional AAA member-driver at no charge (a savings of more than $13 per day)
- Use of child seat at no additional charge (a savings of $13 per day)
- 10 percent off Hertz's per-gallon price for Fuel Purchase Option
To make sure you don’t get hit with surprise charges once you turn in your rental, consider the following:
- Inspect your rental car and note any existing damages such as dents, scratches, broken items and smells before you drive off the lot. When you return the vehicle, complete the walk-through with the rental car agent.
- Write down anything you discover doesn’t work as you drive, such as windshield wipers, radio, air conditioning and CD players.
- If you do not select the prepay fuel option, find a gas station close to the rental car return and fuel up before returning it – keep the receipt just in case you need it.
For more travel expertise, visit highroads.az.aaa.com.