1. Know what you are buying – When you step into a car rental service, don’t hesitate to negotiate with the salesmen. Have a candid conversation with them and state your requirements very clearly. If they try to sell you a plan, inquire about any hidden costs that might crop up later. Under normal circumstances, the salesmen will try to advertise a fancy plan with many features that you will probably never use. Don’t fall into the trap and insist on getting a basic rental plan.
2. Extra car insurance isn’t always necessary – When you hire a car, the rental company will charge you a large sum of money to provide extra insurance. However, in some cases, your personal auto insurance policy might cover rental cars. In that case, you won’t need the extra insurance provided by rental companies. Alternatively, it’s likely to be cheaper to buy rental insurance from a third party company.
3. Get your own satnav – If you are on a holiday, chances are that you will be in dire need of a satnav. On an average, rental companies charge £10-£20 per day for satnav. To save money, either activate a data plan on your smartphone or buy a satnav separately.
4. Inquire about fuel policy – Fuel and mileage policies can vary considerably from one company to another. In some cases, you will be required to pay for the full tank even when you might not be able to use it entirely. Similarly, there might be a surcharge if you exceed a particular mileage. Before you zero in on a rental plan, inquire about any such caveats.
5. Check your car for damage – Oftentimes, rental companies might charge you additional fee for damages including dents or scratches. Before you drive your car out of the company, check it thoroughly for any damage and report the same to your salesman.
6. Compare quotes – A week or two before you want to hire a car, visit the websites of a few companies and get rental quotes. For instance, you can check out Hertz, Sixt and Alamo car hire services and compare their prices. This way, you can get a fair idea about the current market prices.
7. Lookout for coupons – Always be on the lookout for any discount coupons or special deals on car rental companies. Such deals are usually available during the off season. Alternatively, some of these might be linked to the hotel you are staying in or your frequent flyer account. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask and you might be surprised by the deals you get.