Easy steps for hassle-free car hire

car rental tips

Simple ways to make car hire safe, easy

Often, when hiring rental cars, people are caught up in the excitement of the moment.

They’ve just landed in a new city and can’t wait to grab the keys to a shiny new car and go and see the sights.

But car hire can have some catches and hidden traps that you should be wary of, particularly if hiring a rental car overseas.

Here then are some common sense tips that might help you have a hassle-free car hire experience…

Look for an industry association logo

Making sure that your preferred rental car company is the member of an industry association is a great place to start.

This is a sign that shows the agency meets industry codes of practice and should give you some extra peace of mind.

This is especially important if renting a car overseas.

Research before you book

Pay close attention to what is and isn’t included in the reservation quote, especially when using price comparison websites.

Many car rental companies only provide a basic drive-away quote that may not include additional extras, such as child seats and sat-nav units etc.

Read the paperwork before you sign the contract

We know, it’s a big pain, but make sure you take the time to read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract with the rental company before you sign anything.

You can ask for a copy of the agreement prior to your rental, conversely, terms and conditions are often published on car rental agency websites.

Check your accident cover

It’s important to know the difference between the excess waivers offered by rental companies and the policies sold by third-party excess-reimbursement insurers – they’re not the same product.

Make sure to check if there are any exclusions in your loss or damage waiver, such as roof, windscreen or tyre damage.

Be aware of local road laws and regulations

You’ll be liable to pay fines and an administration fee if you’re caught committing a road traffic offence or fail to pay a toll charge.

It’s best to familiarise yourself with the driving regulations of the country before you arrive.

Understand the fuelling options you have

Your car rental quote will not include the cost of fuel. Most companies will give you the option of buying a tank of fuel from them and returning the car empty or with a fuel tank.

Make sure you remember which option you agree to in order not to return the with more or less petrol than required.

Arrive prepared

Remember to arrive at the rental desk with the correct documentation required by the company, such as the credit card used to make the booking and your driver’s licence.

Ensure you have considered any extras or upgrades you may wish to make and how much you are prepared to pay for them.

Check the vehicle over before you drive away

Thoroughly inspect the vehicle inside and out before driving away and familiarise yourself with its controls.

Note down every chip, dent and scratch and inspect the wheels, windscreen and lights, as these are common damage areas.

Make sure that the damage is reported to the rental company and try to take photographs of any damage on the vehicle before leaving the parking lot.

Don’t drop and dash when returning the vehicle

Allow plenty of time to check over the vehicle’s condition with a rental agent present when returning the vehicle.

If you can’t return it during opening hours and sign a condition report, photograph the vehicle to be able to prove the condition you left it in.

When you drop the car off in out of office hours, you are liable for any damage that occurs between you returning it and the company inspecting it.

Got any other hints and tips in regards to rental cars? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About Kate Richards 1615 Articles
Kate has always had an interest in writing and cars and now as a key member of the Behind the Wheel website team she gets to spend her days consumed by both. Aside from being a contributor and an editor at Behind the Wheel, Kate enjoys driving her Lancer EVO and walking her beloved dog, Max!

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