As you plan for summer vacation, keep these five tips in mind when booking a car for your next trip.
1. Prepaying For Gasoline
Prepaid gasoline charges appeal to our desire for ease while traveling, and fear of missing a flight while stuck at the gas pump. As airport security lines have increased, rental companies have come up with new options for quick car refueling, and are giving them the hard sell at the rental desk.
Unless you are completely sure you will return the tank empty, or you have a pre-dawn flight that would make it worth the money not to have to refuel yourself, don’t fall for this. Even the option of being charged only for the fuel you actually use is tipped aggressively in the rental agency’s favor because of the high fee for having them refuel.
2. Don’t Buy Extra Insurance
For business purposes, your business auto insurance policy covers your business rental under your “full coverage” policy. In general, the coverage you have for your main vehicle extends to your rental vehicle, because the rental is considered a replacement vehicle under the policy.
3. Your Credit Card Provides Some Coverage
Anything your own car insurance does not cover, it is likely that your credit card will. In some cases the credit card coverage is as good as or better than your auto insurance. In others, it is intended to be secondary insurance to help cover anything your auto insurance does not. Of course, you will need to pay for your car rental using that card! Consult with your credit card company before your trip.
4. Check Your Vehicle Before Departure
When you pick up your car, check it inside and out for anything that could potentially be considered damage before you drive away. Look for scratches, scuffs, loose parts, working power windows and mirrors, etc. Don’t assume that the car rental company has noticed any damage, big or small.
Your best protection: Take photos or a video of a slow walk around the car, and “kick the tires,” so to speak.
5. Don’t Leave The Final Inspection To Chance
The vehicle return process has been sped up to allow travelers to make their flight. Park, take your belongings, leave the key on the dashboard and walk away without speaking to anyone directly.
If it feels unsettling just to leave the car without an agent checking it over, it should; the most serious complaints about car rental companies in recent months have been disputes over damage claims. If no attendant is present at drop-off, the dispute later becomes your word against theirs.
Your best protection: Again, take photos or a video of a slow walk around the car.
As a renter of the vehicle, report claim damages to Alper Services. Things to submit:
• Rental Agreement
• Rental Accident Report
*Note: Personal Rentals are for “personal use” and are subject to an individual’s personal auto policy for coverage. Many auto policies are different. Please contact your agent to review your personal coverage before you to on your next trip!
Source: Smarter Travel