We’ve all run into a situation where we need a rental car – sometimes renting a vehicle is just part of vacation, but sometimes we look to a rental company for a replacement vehicle while ours is in the shop. You may find that your insurance policy covers a rental car for as long as a month depending on the damage to your own car, but you may not be this lucky. If the cost of a rental car falls to you, it is important to craft your rental agreement wisely in order to get the best price.
If you normally get by driving a mid-sized sedan, there is no need to rent a luxury SUV or town car. Similarly, you have no business driving a flashy sports car while your Honda is waiting on a new transmission. The size and brand of you rental should be no more extravagant than your own vehicle – the price of the rental just isn’t justified, and your insurance policy may not cover damages to a model that is significantly more expensive than your standard vehicle. You will be best off if you can rent the smallest economy car that will get you through the week.
Depending on the daily base rate for your car, you may save money with a week-long rental over a 4 or 5-day rental period. Additionally, extending the rental period tends to be more expensive than shortening it, so you’re better off overestimating the length of time you will need the vehicle. Find out if you get any credit for returning the rental car early; if not, keep driving the rental for the couple of days after your own vehicle is repaired and save yourself the mileage on the vehicle you own!
Comparison shopping is guaranteed to save you money on a rental car. There are so many national and international rental agencies flooding the market that they have to compete to get your business. You can get quotes online from travel sites, or you can book directly through the rental agency website. Each company will have different pricing schedules, different policies when it comes to additional drivers, refueling, and insurance coverage, so ask lots of questions to find a rental car agreement that works best for you.
When you have narrowed your decision down to two or three rental car companies, do a quick online search for coupons. Often you can find printable coupons that get you free upgrades, or lower rental fees for extended rentals. If your rental is for vacation, travel sites like Expedia may get you a discounted rate if you can book your flight, rental car, and hotel all at once through them as a package deal. Another option is that your insurance company may have an agreement with certain rental agencies – if this is the case, your insurance agent can draft a rental car agreement for you and secure a very low rate.
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