If you are renting a car or other vehicle, the process will be the easiest and smoothest if you have a credit card to use for the transaction. Some car rental companies won’t even rent you a vehicle if you don’t have a credit card for payment. If the car rental company does allow you to rent without a credit card, you may have to pay a large cash deposit to cover any potential damage to the vehicle you are renting. If you are using a travel agent and do not have a credit card, ask your agent about using pre-paid vouchers to pay for your vehicle rental. A voucher is typically easier to use than cash when renting a vehicle.
Be aware that a large part of your credit line on your credit card may be tied up while the rental vehicle is in your possession.
The car rental company may place a certain amount of money on hold on your credit card for possible additional charges such as late return fees and damage fees.
The charge won’t be processed unless you incur those additional expenses.
But because that money is on hold you won’t have it available to you for other purchases so you may want to use for other purchases such as your hotel.
Your driving record may be a factor when you rent a vehicle. Not all car rental companies check driving records but some do. If your driving record doesn’t meet the car rental company’s standards they will not let you rent from them. To prevent this from happening check with the car rental agency to see if they check driving records and what their standards are.
Twenty five is the magic age when renting a vehicle. If you are at least twenty five years of age you will not incur additional fees to rent a vehicle. If you are between the ages of eighteen and twenty five you will likely be required to pay more money for renting your car than a twenty five or older driver. If you are under 18 years of age you will not be able to rent a vehicle in the US. Although those rules may not seem fair, it is just the way it is in the car rental industry
Rental car companies will offer you various optional insurance and waiver options, but you may already be covered. Before you go to rent a vehicle, check with both your personal auto insurance agent and with your credit card company. You may already have protection if you have an accident, lose, or damage your rental vehicle. If you do have protection, you shouldn’t need to purchase the collision damage waiver or CDW offered by the car rental company because it will be a duplication of coverage you already have.
If you do purchase a CDW, keep in mind that it is not insurance but an agreement between you and the car rental company.
It states that you will not be liable for loss or damage to the rental vehicle as long as you comply with conditions stated in the agreement.
Those conditions are common sense ones such as:
not driving while under the influence of alcohol
not driving the vehicle off-road
not allowing an unauthorized person to drive the vehicle.
A CDW will almost always not cover you though for personal injuries or damage to personal property sustained while using the rental vehicle. If you are renting overseas though, you may not have a choice of whether or not or purchase a CDW. Some countries require you to purchase it.
If you are renting a vehicle overseas you may need to obtain an international driving permit. Check on this before you show up at the overseas rental car counter.
After you get to your rental vehicle walk around the outside of it and inspect it for any possible damage. If you notice damage such as a dent or noticeable scratch report it to the lot attendant right away and get it noted on your rental agreement so you won’t be liable for that damage. I learned this lesson the hard way. On one of my first rentals I noticed a dent in the vehicle, told the lot attendant about it who told me not to worry about it. I didn’t insist he write anything on my rental agreement stating the damage was already on the vehicle when I picked it up. When I returned the vehicle the rental car company wanted to charge me for that dent. I eventually got my money back but it took time me quite a bit of time and frustration to get those charges reversed.
If you find you are going to return your rental vehicle more than 4 hours late, call the rental company and arrange for an additional day’s rental. Although most companies allow you a one hour grace period before they start to charge you additional money, the hourly rates can quickly add up to more than the cost of an entire day’s rental. Usually when you get to the 4 hour mark, renting the vehicle for an additional day is cheaper than paying the hourly late fees.