Auto & Automotive

Essential Tips For Saving Money on Car Rentals

Research can save travelers a lot of money on car rental fees. Use a comparison site to search for the best prices and car types available for your dates.

Check for discounts with memberships to organizations or stores. Also, consider maximizing the perks built into your credit card.

Book Early

Leave it to the last minute, and you might not get a car – rental companies are often sold out of certain vehicles, particularly during peak seasons. Additionally, prices typically surge closer to the reservation date. To secure the most favorable rates and ensure vehicle availability, it’s advisable to make your reservation as soon as your travel dates are confirmed. Booking in advance helps lock in the lowest price and provides peace of mind, knowing that your car is reserved. For hassle-free and timely reservations, consider opting for services offered by Budget Car.

Look for Discounts

If you have an auto insurance policy with rental car coverage, don’t be convinced to pay extra for a “value-added” package. According to NerdWallet, using your insurance is often cheaper, which many cards offer as a bonus perk.

Keyes says to make sure you compare prices on sites, including taxes and fees. Also, if you can spare two minutes a week, set a reminder to check rental car rates on a site.

Membership clubs, auto insurers, and frequent-flier programs may also offer discounts on rentals. Also, consider bundling your rental with airfare or hotels. He adds that this can save you up to 35 percent on a vehicle.

Don’t Pay for Extras

Car rental add-ons can be a money pit for unsuspecting travelers. Rental companies often try to sell unnecessary extras like roadside assistance, GPS navigation systems, and Garmin devices. Stick to the basics to save a bundle.

Other hidden fees include airport concession, license recovery, and tire disposal. Also, many rental companies charge a premium to prepay for fuel, and you don’t receive a refund for unused fuel.

Check your rental agreement’s terms and conditions to determine the company’s fuel policy. Also, consider whether your credit card or personal auto insurance provides coverage. Those policies might be more cost-effective than paying for the rental company’s prepaid fuel policy.

Don’t Pick Up the Car at the Airport

When you pick up your car, the rental company may try to sell you extras. Some of these add-ons are worthwhile, but others can be expensive.

If possible, avoid renting a car at the airport. Instead, look for a location near the city and take public transportation or a rideshare to the airport for pickup.

Also, don’t let the rental agency charge you for fuel or tolls. Utilizing a service can help you locate local gas stations and reduce the cost of refueling. Plus, your primary insurance and many credit cards cover these costs. Skip the car rental insurance offered by the rental agency, as you likely already have coverage through your own policy or credit card.

Don’t Rent a Two-Door Car

Rental cars can be expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank. You can save money by strategically planning and negotiating.

Using an aggregator website to check out pricing is an excellent first step, but don’t stop there. You can often negotiate directly with the company to get a better deal.

Car rental companies make a lot of money by selling add-ons like GPS, child safety seats, and ski racks. If you can fit everything in an economy car, don’t upgrade. You’ll be paying for a vehicle you don’t need and may run into trouble if the car isn’t up to par. Moreover, you’ll spend time in the rental office dealing with fictitious damage claims.

Don’t Let the Rental Company Charge You for Tolls

Hidden costs are a well-known problem for car rental firms. Be sure to read your quote and ask plenty of questions carefully. Ask if the company has special deals like bundling with airfare or hotels. Also, inquire if your auto insurance provides coverage in the event of an accident.

Look for ways to avoid additional driver fees and renting during off-peak times. Finally, compare the prepaid fuel rate with local gas prices and choose the full-to-full policy to save money on fuel. And bring your toll transponder or pay in cash to avoid paying those pesky convenience fees. Those extra charges can add up quickly.

Don’t Rent a Car with a Spouse or Domestic Partner

Many hidden fees associated with car rentals can quickly add up. These include fuel service charges, airport access fees, and more. Avoiding these fees can save a lot of money on your rental.

Using corporate codes, renting during off-season or promotional periods, and using credit card points are all great ways to save on car rentals. It’s also essential to compare shops and know the fine print to ensure you get the best possible price on your car rental.

Remember to bring your travel extras, such as child-safety seats or GPS systems, instead of paying for them at the counter. These can add up to a significant cost, so research beforehand.

Don’t Be Convinced to Upgrade

It would help if you always resisted the temptation to “buy” an upgrade at the counter. It is rarely worth it unless the rental car company runs out of smaller vehicles that save gas, which rarely happens.

Similarly, rental car companies try to sell insurance that you probably don’t need. Compare their charges to your car insurance and third-party providers to see if it makes sense.

And if you decide to prepay for fuel, check the gas gauge when you return the vehicle. Many companies charge a fee to refill the tank, even though it appears complete. You can avoid the surcharges using a free app or website to find cheaper local stations.

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