When it comes to renting a vehicle, there are a number of questions that immediately arise – especially when the person behind the counter starts trying to get you to add a bunch of things to the bill. The following are four essential things to know before renting a car.
Nearly every car rental employee will try to convince you to prepay for gasoline, and we know, it does sound tempting. After all, that’s one less stop you have to make. However, the rates for prepaying are considerably higher than what you’ll pay on your own at the pump. Additionally, make sure you pay attention to the gas stations in the area as you leave to save yourself from ridiculous charges if you return it with less gas than when you picked up the car.
Paying for Insurance
Before you pay for insurance on a car rental, check your own first. In most cases, your car insurance will cover you in any vehicle you have permission to drive, thus making the agency’s insurance unnecessary. There are also some credit cards that offer protection when used for renting a car as well. Make sure to check your policies before you head to the counter so you know whether you need their insurance or not.
Don’t Ignore the Inspection
While you may be tempted to jump right in the vehicle and take off, take the time to do a thorough walk around to check for any type of damage. If you see even a small scratch, point it out to the employee so it can be noted. Failing to do this could result in you having to pay for damages that were already there when you took the car. If an employee isn’t walking around with you, take photos or a video with time and date stamps so you have proof the damage was there.
Ask About Upgrades
When renting a car, you should consider reserving a vehicle a step down from what you actually want. When you arrive at the rental location, you can ask about upgrades. If the location is busy and inventory is low, you might just find you get a free upgrade to the vehicle you wanted in the first place.
Renting a car doesn’t have to be overly expensive. Taking care to follow these tips will help ensure you don’t sign up for a much higher bill when you make it back to town.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 4 Essential Things to Know Before Renting a Car and was authored by Valerie Johnston.