With summer in high gear, more families are renting cars for vacation fun, but renting comes with its share of hassles, worries and fine print.
You can make up your own mind about whether to prepay for gas or how much insurance to carry, but AARP, the giant organization of retired people, is offering rental tips that could help save your trip.
Here are the top five, which could save you a lot of money:
1. Early returns. Don’t think you’re saving money by returning the car early. Many major companies tack on fees for bringing a car in before the time stipulated in the contract, not just late penalties. Ask ahead of time.
2. Rent away from the airport and save. Renting a car from an airport location can be anywhere from 20% to 50% pricier than renting from a neighborhood one. Weigh the costs and hassles of getting an off-airport location vs. the actual cost of the car rental.
3. Collision coverage. If you’re renting domestically, chances are your personal car insurance will cover the rental car already. In other cases, your credit card may cover collision damage, but not necessarily liability or personal injury.
4. Carry a camera. Take pictures of your rental before you leave the lot to avoid getting dinged for dings that aren’t yours, and take pictures of the interior to make sure the camera records dates and numbers.
5. Get the final price. Taxes and fees added on to that daily rate are enormous and not always mentioned until the final bill. Make sure you are clear with your rental agent about the total price including taxes and fees before you drive off the lot.