4 min read
Avoid a big rental car bill.
You’ve spent months planning a week of care-fee relaxation. You can't wait to trade your routine for a well-deserved retreat to a sunny, sandy destination.
Before you run toward paradise, know these 6 rental car rules to avoid a big bill after you’re done having fun.
Rental Car Rule 1: Make Sure Your Insurance Checks Out
The rental car company will try to sell you insurance for your rental vehicle, but the vast majority of insurance policies transfer over to rental cars. That being said, the auto policy and coverage you have is the exact coverage you will have for the rental car.
For example, if you have liability-only coverage for your own vehicle, you will have liability-only coverage for the rental vehicle. If you choose to use your own insurance, you would file a claim with your insurance company in the event of a loss.
When you use a credit card to pay for your rental, your credit card company could provide “loss of use” coverage to handle charges from damaging a rental car.
Rental Car Rule 2: Your Age Affects Price
The good news:
- Though age requirements vary by company, you’ll probably be able to rent a car if you’re 20 or older. You might qualify for a senior citizen discount, too.
The bad news:
- If you’re younger than 25, the rental car company may apply a “young driver” charge to your bill.
Stop before you read the bad news and say, “That’s not fair!” Drivers under 25 years of age are more likely to turn in large insurance claims on cars. You may not like it, but rental car companies base their pricing on this statistic.
Rental Car Rule 3: Watch Out for Extra Fees
You want to start your vacation as soon as possible, but carefully reading the rental agreement will help you avoid extra fees. Look for these contract stipulations and talk to your rental car representative about them, if needed:
- Leaving the car with a full tank of gas when you drop it off.
- When you need to return the vehicle. Some companies will charge you for an entire day if you return the vehicle 30 minutes late.
- Fees for extra vehicle equipment such as GPS.
- Vehicle clean-up charges.
Rental Car Rule 4: Skip the Inspection at Your Own Risk
Before you drive off the lot, you’ll fill out a vehicle condition report. This document encourages you to note the vehicle’s visible damage before you leave with it. You don’t want to pay for damages you didn’t cause, so involve the representative in the inspection, if possible. Whatever you do, don’t rush it!
One quick walk around the vehicle simply won’t do. Review the vehicle interior and exterior until you’re 100% sure you’ve documented all damages.
Rental Car Rule 5: Think Before You Sync
There’s nothing wrong with wanting all the bells and whistles in your rental car. Unfortunately, you put your confidential information at risk when you sync your phone to in-vehicle systems. Several in-vehicle systems store a wealth of information, including:
- Personal contacts
- Phone numbers
- Work and home addresses
- Garage door programming
Protect your data by:
- Checking your phone’s information-sharing permissions
- Making sure your phone isn’t synced with any of your rental vehicle’s systems before you return the car
Rental Car Rule 6: More Drivers Could Mean More Money
You have an option of adding more drivers to your rental car. You could be responsible for extra fees per driver, and as we stated before, drivers younger than 25 will cost more.
Hopefully, these rental car rules will help you relax as you finalize your vacation plans!
As always, contact your local Pekin Insurance agent if you have any questions about your auto coverage.