11 Ways to Reduce your Rental Car Rates

rental car rates

With gas prices retailing at $4 per gallon and continuing to rise, a weekend road trip can be expensive nowadays. Most people worry about rental car rates before anything else. However, the cost should not be the only determining factor when renting a car. You should also consider the model, service, and timing among other things before renting one as they can be frustratingly elusive.

Renting a car doesn’t need to poke a hole through your wallet. In fact, you can save money along the way. In order to guarantee yourself a good price when renting a car, you should consider these 11 simple ways on how to save some extra cash on rental car rates.

  1. Go Opaque for Deep Discounts

William Shatner is absolutely right about this one. Booking a car through opaque travel websites (this is where you pay straight away without knowing the specific model of the car) like Hotwire and Priceline can reduce your rental car rates. A rental agency that you are booking with can ensure that you get significant discounts. In reality, there is no big difference between one car rental agency and another. If you think about it, most rental companies have the same type of cars. However, turning to the smaller players in the field is also another alternative as they offer cut-price rental car rates from more obscure firms.

  1. Try an Aggregator

You don’t always need to move from one company website to another. Why? Because an aggregator site like Kayak or SideStep can also handle this for you. After you are ready to book, the sites connect you directly to the rental agency’s website.

  1. Avoid Renting at the Airport (If You Can)

Hiring a car from airport locations leads to you paying much more. Airports are frequently required by the law to add extra charges to their rental car rates. An estimate carried out by Neil Abrams, who is an industry consultant, reports that airport fees can hike the cost of hiring a car by 25-45%. In order to make sure that you don’t pay more than you need to, Perkins advises that you avoid a city center or suburban location. 

  1. Rent Locally When Abroad

You should consider booking a car through a foreign rental company. Some examples are DanDooley in Ireland or TigerCarRental, which specializes in 37 countries, including in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. They might even offer a much better deal or a broader selection.

  1. Search Foreign Sites for Lower Rates

When you are planning to hire a car abroad, you should check the international websites of U.S. companies for comparison. You should, however, bear in mind that some foreign websites may need you to have a credit card billing address in the country they operate. You might, however, be charged extra for insurance as you are a non-resident.

  1. Do Top Off the Tank

You should also be aware of the more strictly applied fuel policies. Some companies will charge you handsomely unless you produce a receipt from a service station near the rental office. Don’t return the car with less than a full tank unless you want to pay a steep premium over gas-station prices.

  1. Watch Out for Conversion Fees

If you are renting a car in a foreign country, you should find out the cost in U.S. dollars and in the local currency. And then, do a comparison between the two rates. If you opt to pay in the local currency rate and use a U.S. credit card, conversion fees may apply.

  1. Beware of Restrictions

Checking insurance coverage and age requirements before hiring a car abroad is very important. Some credit cards don’t offer insurance for rental cars in some countries. Whereas international car rental companies can sometimes put restrictions on older drivers. Also, some options that are commonly available in the United States, such as unlimited mileage, might not be available in other countries.

  1. Avoid Hidden Fees

Rental car rates usually go up with various fees added on in case of an accident. These charges usually cover administrative services, towing, and storage. However, you should check in with your insurance company to find out whether your personal auto policy covers these fees. You should consider all your options when buying auto insurance for your rental car.

  1. Know Your Coverage

Having your own personal auto insurance policy might cover you in case of a liability or a collision. In some cases, your auto insurance will also apply to rental cars, but some personal policies do not contain collision coverage. Some credit cards provide secondary coverage that is only activated after a renter’s primary insurance has been exhausted. Frequent renters may want to consider a credit card that provides primary collision coverage, such as Diners Club and select Visa cards.

  1. Get an International ID

Though you do not always need an international driver’s license to rent a car abroad, an international ID provides a familiar form of identification. These permits are available at the American Automobile Association (AAA) for only $15.

Featured Image Source: feelgrafix.com

Posted on October 6, 2016