Renting a Car can be a very stressful thing. Even if you’ve done it many times, it doesn’t always get easier. There are so many decisions to make, it can be overwhelming. Do you want all those fancy upgrades, or do you want to get out as cheap as possible?

Here are a few tips on how you might make it a little easier on yourself when you step up to the counter and talk to the rental agent. The more prepared you are, the better it can be. So don’t be afraid of the agent, just read on.

Before you do anything else, you have to decide where you are going to do the renting. Shop around online. Find out what sort of cars are available, and at what sort of prices. Make sure you check travel sites as well as the actual rental company’s website; sometimes there are special deals offered for booking your rental one way or another.

While you’re doing the research, pay close attention to the “hidden” charges. Taxes, surcharges, and other fees can creep up on you it you aren’t careful. It’s usually a little easier if you’re looking for a rental while your own car is in a Utah auto repair shop. If you’re going on vacation in another state, make sure you are familiar with that state’s regulations.

Look for ways to save money. Find discounts for weekends or weekly rates. When you are looking online, check for areas where you can enter promotional codes. You may be able to find a code by searching online, or there may be a code affiliated with a group you already belong to such as AAA. You can also save money by providing your own car seat if you’re driving with children. Also check your own insurance coverage before you pay for extra from them. You may be surprised to learn you’re already covered for most things under your regular policy.

Be alert to the rental agency schemes. They may be trained to encourage an upgrade you don’t need, hoping you’ll just pay for it without thinking too hard. Remember, the average renter is a little overwhelmed by the process, so they are more likely to give in. Know what you want and be insistent, you may even get the same upgrades at a lower cost because they are out of the economy models. Never prepay for gasoline. Rather, just keep track of what you use, and by all means, don’t forget to refill it when you’re done! They will almost always charge you much more if they have to fill it—before or after—than you would have paid to do it yourself.

Some things seem straightforward, but you may have to clarify them anyway. You may have payed for “unlimited mileage,” but check what “unlimited” actually means. Some agencies have restrictions on where you take the car. Crossing state lines could mean a heavy charge. Clarify before making the deal. Make sure you’re clear on what it means to return the car on time. Sometimes even a little bit late can translate into a full day’s charge, and since it’s not part of your original agreement, they may get away with charging you even more. If you can’t avoid it, call ahead and explain why you are late. They may be sympathetic and cut you some slack.

The list of extra charges seems endless when it comes to car rental. No wonder so many people are frightened by the prospect. Whether your renting for a vacation, business trip, or just to keep from being stuck during your Utah auto repair, don’t go in unprepared. You’ll probably end up paying much more than you have to.

Categories: Auto Repair

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