Unfortunately, many travelers make costly rental car mistakes if they don’t do a little due diligence beforehand
It’s no surprise that American cities lack the sought-after public transportation found in European and Japanese cities. Whether they’re in the Big Apple or Maui, many Americans rent cars when they’re traveling around the United States. Although many deals are to be had, it’s easy to overlook the hidden expenses associated with renting a car. Not only that, but many car rental companies sell you extra perks that aren’t worth the money.
There are the most common mistakes to avoid when renting a car:
Purchasing Additional Insurance
Earning first place on our common rental car mistakes list is purchasing additional insurance. This extra insurance costs anywhere from $10 to $20 per day, depending on the car and city. However, the added protection usually isn’t necessary. Most major credit cards offer rental car protection. Additionally, your personal vehicle coverage should extend to your rental car. Before denying coverage from the rental car company, you should ensure your credit card or personal insurance covers you.
Not Paying Attention to Parking Fees
Although renting a car makes traveling super convenient, you can’t forget the commonly overlooked fees. These extra fees can vary significantly, depending on where you’re traveling. Parking in a garage in Manhattan? You can expect to pay between $40 – $50 per night. A rental car might seem cheaper at first glance, but you could save money by using ride share applications after you add up the parking fees.
Booking a Car Rental that You Don’t Need
If you’re visiting a city with a solid public transit system, renting a car may not be necessary. Depending on where you’re visiting, renting a car could cost more than an Uber or Lyft. And not only do you save money on the vehicle itself, but you’ll also save a ton of money on parking fees and gasoline.
Forgetting to Compare Prices
Even if you have a favorite car rental company, comparing prices is worth the effort. Popular car rental comparison websites include Kayak, Expedia, and Travelocity. When looking at different car rental options, don’t merely look at the price. For instance, you may be able to get a compact car for the same price as a full-size vehicle. Comparing prices can easily save you a hundred dollars two over a week. You can also book directly from the car rental company to avoid fees charged by travel websites.
Not Examining the Car Before Leaving
When you rent a car, you’re responsible for bringing it back in the same condition before you rented it. Thus, it’s imperative to inspect the vehicle carefully before leaving the car rental garage. It’s not uncommon for car rental companies to overlook bumps and dents, primarily since they process hundreds of cars daily. Unfortunately, you might be responsible for a blemish if you don’t catch it before leaving the lot. It’s also an excellent idea to take a photo or video of the car, including the inside and outside.
Buying Gas from the Car Rental Company
Car rental companies charge up to $9 per gallon for gas if you prepay for it. Since the average gas tank holds 12 gallons of gas, you would pay $108 to fill the tank. If you filled the gas yourself, you could save around $5 per gallon, depending on current gas prices ($48 total). The only benefit to prepaying for gas is the convenience factor. Paying for gas ahead of time is one of the most costly rental car mistakes.
Renting from the Airport Branches
Renting from the airport branch is another convenience factor. You pay a premium since you can take a short shuttle or walk to the rental car center. If you rent from an offsite branch, you can save a significant amount of money. Best of all, most car rental companies have a free shuttle that takes you to the rental facility. There are tons of common rental car mistakes, and this might be one of the most common.