9 Things You Should Do Every Time You Rent a Car

Are you planning on renting a car soon? You should always do a few essential things to ensure a smooth renting experience.

We put together this guide with everything you need about renting a car. So, make sure to read it before you do! Let’s begin.

1. Research Car Rental Companies

First, you will want to research car rental companies near you. You don’t want to rent a car before comparing prices, vehicle options, and online customer reviews. Not studying first could lead to you choosing a less-than-stellar rental company.

Doing your research first lets you know that you’ll find a car you like at a reasonable price. Plus, you’ll have access to the best customer service. It’s not a good idea to leave these things up to chance when making an expensive purchase.

Then, make sure you also read the company’s policies. Every place will have different rules for you to follow. You wouldn’t want to get any fees or penalties either.

2. Book Ahead of Time

Next, you’ll need to make sure you rent the car ahead of when needed. You can often get better rates and discounts this way, especially if you plan on traveling during peak seasons.

Booking earlier also helps ensure that more cars are available, letting you browse, compare, and select your favorite.

Waiting to the last minute means you’ll have fewer choices and likely need to pay more since there are fewer rates to compare.

So, book in advance whenever you can.

3. Look for Discounts

You might be able to get a discount if you’re a member of AAA, AARP, or USAA. Some car rental places also accept hotel points or airline miles, which can significantly reduce the final price. You might be able to gather more miles too.

Lastly, make sure to check with your credit card company for deals. Some may make special offers when you rent from a specific company. Car rental can be expensive, so you should save wherever possible.

4. Choose the Right Car

You’ll also want to choose a car that suits your needs. You’ll want it to be comfortable if you travel long distances. You’ll also want to ensure enough space for everyone coming with you and enough space in the trunk for your belongings.

Some cars have additional features, like GPS, that can make your trip easier. You’ll want to spend some time checking everything that the vehicle comes with and compare it to your other options.

5. Inspect the Car and Take Pictures

You’ll need to inspect the rental car before you’re ready to take it. Make sure to look over the outside and inside for signs of damage. Then, record and take pictures of the entire car.

That way, you won’t be blamed for damage already there. Cars can be costly to fix, so you should never skip this step, as you could be responsible for paying for the repairs.

You’ll also want to note any problems with the rental agreement. Doing so ensures there’s no way you’ll be responsible for paying for them.

Skipping this step could put you at risk, so it’s worth inspecting the rental car before taking it off the lot.

6. Spend Time Learning About the Car

Before leaving with the car, spend a few minutes in the parking lot familiarizing yourself with the controls. You’ll want to know where the hazard lights, headlights, and wipers are. Plus, if the car has other features, you’ll want to know how to use the GPS and Bluetooth systems.

Next, take a moment to adjust the mirrors and seat, so you can easily see all around you. You wouldn’t want to get on the road, then realize you can’t see clearly from the mirrors. Doing all of this while you’re still parked is much safer.

7. Check Your Rental Insurance

It’s also essential that you check your current car insurance policy for coverage for your rental. You want to know that you’ll be protected if you get into an accident. Otherwise, you could end up paying the rental company a ton in damages.

Suppose your insurance doesn’t cover the rental. In that case, you’ll want to consider purchasing the rental company’s insurance to protect yourself. You could also look into getting a temporary plan from somewhere else, but make sure it only lasts the duration of your trip with the car so you don’t overpay.

Driving a rental without coverage can be risky, so you’ll want to take steps to protect yourself.

If you have a question, saving the rental company’s contact information on your phone is essential. It’s also good to have on hand if you get into an accident or the car breaks down while renting it.

These situations can be stressful, so you wouldn’t want to worry about wasting time finding it again.

9. Schedule the Return Carefully

When it’s time to bring the car back, you don’t want to have to rush. You can avoid that by making sure that you plan ahead and leave yourself ample time to rent the rental. Many places will let you choose what day to bring the car back, so take advantage of that.

If you’re worried about being pressed for time, rent the car for a little longer. If you get home sooner than expected, you can always return it earlier than what you tell the rental company. You’ll still want to plan to return it as close to the end of your trip as possible since you probably won’t get refunded.

It’s also important to look into early and late return fees. You may be charged for returning the car early, so ensure you understand the contract before attempting this.

Use This List Every Time

Use This List Every Time

If you use this list every time you rent a car, you’ll be in great shape! You’ll know you’re getting a good deal and have photos of the vehicle before you leave the lot. Following these steps each time, ensures you have a smoother rental process.