Costly Gaffes to Avoid When You Are Renting a Car

by Ernest Perez

Do your summer vacation plans this year involve using a rental car? While renting a car can save you the trouble of using an unreliable personal car for the vacation, the actual costs involved when renting can be befuddling. Here is a basic primer on blunders that can cost you money when you are renting a car and how to dodge them.

Buying insurance you don't need.

Avoiding having to pay a premium on your car rental rates all starts with not opting for the over-the-counter insurance cover that many car renters often offer to their clients. Some car rental companies will often try to sell insurance that you don't really need so that they can make you pay more. If you've already taken an auto insurance cover, it may provide protection against personal liability and collision damage for the period you will be using the rental car.

And, if you use a credit card to settle your car rental bill, it may cover against secondary collision coverage. Before you can rent a car, you should always check your auto insurance and credit card coverage to ensure you don't pay for extra insurance.

Opting for prepaid fuel.

Often presented as a convenience feature, prepaid gas is a source of big money for car rental companies since you are likely to pay for gas you might not have used. It is more cost-effective to refuel the car yourself, as you should be able to find cheaper gas prices at any of the stations nearby. Instead of incurring the inflated prices per gallon that the rental car company will charge for prepaid gas, just spare some time to refill the gas tank when you are returning the car.

To save yourself the hassle of finding a gas station when you are returning the car, be on the lookout for any that may be nearby when you are leaving the pickup point.

Not signing up for the club program.

By not joining the car rental company's club program, you are missing out on privileges and money-saving discounts available to members. Aside from enjoying perks like being able skip the long line at the counter, being a member of the club may also earn you loyalty or reward points that may be redeemed in the future, allowing you to pay less compared to non-members.

The best part about joining car renters' club programs is that it is usually free to sign up, and the rental company will keep your insurance preferences in its database so agents won't attempt to overprice you.

For more information, contact a local car hire company or visit sites like