Articles and Guides.

What To Do Before Picking Up Your Rental Car


Renting a car is meant to be convenient: Skip the public transport, do things on your own time and don't compromise on the radio station.

And with a little preparation, it certainly can be. Just follow these 5 tips to ensure your car rental experience runs smoothly.

  1. Don't wait until you get to the airport to rent a car. A little bit of planning can ensure you get the exact car and pickup time you need, while possibly saving a few bucks in the meantime. Most car rental companies will let you book online, which sure beats searching for the “CAR RENTAL” sign in a crowded airport.

  2. Don't rush into choosing the car. Even though you'll only have it for a few days, you should feel confident and comfortable in your rental car, and most importantly, you should enjoy driving it. To help make your decision, think about your purpose for renting the car and what features are important to you. Narrow down your choices based on the cars that suit your needs and then start factoring in aesthetics. As an added bonus, if you're in the market for a new car, maybe this is an opportunity to take an extended test drive!

  3. Take out car rental insurance so you're protected for the worst case scenario. Hopefully you won’t need to use it, but at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re covered. It's also worth printing out a copy of your car rental companies' Vehicle Incident Report, which you'll need to complete if things go wrong. Having a hard copy on hand will ensure you don't miss any important details and will help get the claims process moving as quickly as possible.

  4. Review the car rental's FAQs before you go. These will provide you with important information, such as extra fees that you could incur in the event of an incident (i.e. a cleaning fee if you don't return the car in the same state that you rented it in). You should also review the FAQS for the Vehicle Incident Report (described above) to get an idea of how a potential claim would be handled.

  5. Research your refuel options. Depending on your rental car company, you may have several choices when it comes to refuelling. For example, Hertz offers their customers the option of prepaying for fuel at the time of rental and benefiting from competitive local pump prices; allowing the company to refuel for you and returning the car with whatever fuel is left in it, or; refuelling prior to your return, at the same level that you started with. Find out what your options are ahead of time so you aren’t inconvenienced when it’s time to return the car.