Renting a car for use on your next holiday is easier than ever. With package deals available with booking your flights and accommodation, you can simply add a car rental package with a few clicks. You need to pay attention to the fine print, though.
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The best way forward is to familiarize yourself with the rental car agency’s policies and conditions. While you are paying for the use of the car, you’re not paying for insurance cover on the car should it be damaged or stolen.
Limit the drivers of the rental car to just one person. The more drivers that are named as registered drivers for the rental car, the higher the rental cost and the more complex the insurance policies become. It is best to limit this to one nominated driver.
Remember that you are only renting the car from the rental company. That fee does not include any insurance cover for damage or theft, or otherwise. For that, you need to add a cover to your car rental agreement or use a third-party cover. Sometimes, your own personal car insurance policy includes accident damage and car theft coverage for rental cars. Before you leave on your tip, check this with your insurance provider. If you don’t have that personal cover, be sure to ask for a comprehensive insurance cover for the rental period: it is someone else’s car you’re driving and to repair it would be expensive. Don’t skim on insurance.
Restrictions and allowances are sometimes tricky to understand. Before driving off from the rental car company’s office, make sure you fully understand the policy’s terms and restrictions. Some policies restrict you to certain mileages, such as only 15 miles allowed per day. When you exceed that mileage, they can stick you with hefty penalties. If possible, ask for unlimited mileage policies to avoid that. These are slightly more expensive, but you can drive as far as you wish without incurring additional costs.
When collecting the rental car, ask whether the company places a hold on your credit card or debit card to secure payment. That block might make it more difficult to access your other funds in your bank accounts. Sometimes, it can take up to 6 weeks for the car rental company to lift the hold on your debit and credit card as they process your trip and the potential damage of their car.
If your car has a full-to-full policy regarding fuel, ensure that you return the car to them with a full tank of fuel. Not only do they charge you for the replacement fuel, but they’ll also add a penalty and a surcharge for refilling the fuel tank. Look for a fuel station close to the car rental office to top off the tank before returning it to avoid those costs. Some car rental agencies have early and late drop-off times. Make sure it suits your travel plans. If not, they will charge you an extra day’s fee for being late.