People rent cars for a variety of reasons. Whether it is a business trip, a desire to try out the hot new car model or having a car stuck in the shop after an accident, almost everyone will rent a car at some point. Whatever the reason, renting a car doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here’s how to make sure your rental experience will be a breeze.
#1) Know What You Can and Can’t Use to Pay for a Rental
One of the biggest problems in car rental is the simplest: People don’t realize there are specific payment requirements. Rental agencies generally need some form of payment that will allow them to automatically recoup costs in common situations, such as the car not being returned on time. As a result, they’ll generally ask for a credit card. So call ahead and ask about your payment options. A great alternative to this is to have either your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company set up a direct bill in which the insurance company will pay the rental car company direct.
#2) Have Insurance That Will Cover the Cost… and the Car
People often believe that their insurance is tied to the driver. But in reality, it depends on both the insurer and the policy. You may have great auto insurance… but that insurance might stop at the doors of your personal vehicle. Or you might not have coverage for rental cars in the event your car is in the shop. Here at AIS, our policies allow you to, for example, walk in, offer a claim number, get a car and drive off the lot as your insurance policy will likely cover a non-owned auto or rental car. Again, it is always best to consult your policy and insurance company directly.
#3) Sign Up for Preferred Status
If you’ll be using a specific rental agency a few times a year or more, ask about their preferred status program. Joining a loyalty program can often be worth the money; as a preferred member, you get speedier service, access to different programs, and your choice of cars. Different rental agencies have different programs, so look at your rental history and companies you prefer, and call them about what they can offer you for being a loyal customer.
One thing that can really help the rental team get you out the door and into a car is walking in knowing exactly what you’re looking for. True, not every rental agency will have every car. But, if you have a list of two to four cars that you know you can drive and that you’d like to rent, they’ll often be able to quickly put you in one of them. If your preferred rental company has an app for phones or tablets, consider using it to look at inventory before you walk in the door; that way, you’ll spend less time looking at cars and more on the road. Just be sure you check the limits of your rental coverage to determine if the entire cost of the rental will be covered or if you will have some out of pocket expense if the car you want is a bit more expensive than what your rental coverage will afford you.
#5) Have Your Paperwork with You
It seems simple, but believe it or not, this really is a problem for rental car outlets: Customers walking in the door without proof of insurance or insurance claim information … and sometimes without a driver’s license! So, take a moment before you head out to get your paperwork in order; the fewer calls a rental agent has to make, the less time will be spent hashing out the details.
Follow these tips and your next car rental will be a breeze!
This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms, and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.