5 Money Saving Tips for Rental Cars

Follow these tips to save money on your next rental car

Whether you use rental cars frequently for business or only once a year for vacation, it never hurts to know a few tricks to protect yourself and to get the best deal. Here are three tips that can help you do just that.

Tip #1 — Make sure you’re covered

You aren’t required to have insurance for rental cars but you always feel better if you do. Car rental companies offer accident insurance but at a high price. To avoid being caught without insurance or paying the high cost of car rental company insurance, before your trip, check with your auto insurance provider.

Most auto insurance policies cover any rental car you drive but you need to check the details. Your regular insurance company will usually cover you as long as your rental is in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. They might not cover you if you’re taking an International trip. Better safe than sorry, check with your insurance provider before you leave.

Tip #2 — Go small

When you call ahead to reserve your rental car, choose a small model. The majority of the time, the company won’t have the small car available and will automatically upgrade you to a larger model for the same price. This way, you get the cheapest car rental possible, but a great car.

If the company has the small car in stock and you don’t want it, simply tell them you changed your mind and upgrade yourself to a larger car. They’ll be happy to do it.

Tip #3 — Pay attention to details

Before ever leaving the lot with your rental car, check for damages. If you spot any damage to the car, make sure you have the manager note it on your file. You don’t want to pay for damage you didn’t do.

Tip #4 — Fill’er up!

When you pick up your rental car, it should have a full tank of gas. This comes standard with the rental. But, you should also return the car with the tank full. If you don’t, the rental company will fill it up for you and charge you their price per gallon. You’ll save money if you take care of this before you turn the car in.

Tip #5 — Plan ahead

To get the cheapest car rental possible, book your rental car the same time you book your flight. You’ll usually get a discount. Before your trip, check again to see if prices dropped and take advantage of the lower price.

If you’re traveling during peak season, make sure there is a car available before you book your plane ticket. You don’t want to have a nonrefundable plane ticket with no transportation when you reach your destination.

Having a rental car for business or pleasure is a nice convenience but one that can get expensive. Follow these 5 tips for saving money on rental cars and you’ll be sure you get the best possible deal.