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A few things you shouldn't do if you're renting a car

Renting a car is such a common part of travel that you might think the process would be simple and transparent - however somehow it is not possible. Many travelers don't know how to rent a car without making some common mistakes. Do I have to take out additional insurance? What about paying to refuel your car? I hear terrifying stories of false compensation claims; should i be concerned No one is around to see the car with me; Is it OK? Can I enter another country? Do I need all the extras that the rental company offers me? These questions arise almost every time someone rents a car. Again everything but not simple.

Among all the options, there are a few things you shouldn't or shouldn't even do when renting a car. Check them out below.


Prepayment for gasoline

Prepaid gas charges appeal to a desire to simplify travel, as well as the fear of being late for flights, as every few minutes added to an airport journey puts a greater risk of late arriving. As airport security extended this process a lot of time, car rental companies have come up with new options for refueling the cars and offer them difficult selling at the rental company.

Unless you're absolutely sure you'll return an empty tank or have a pre-dawn flight that makes it worthwhile not to refuel, don't be fooled. Even the option where the company only charges you for the fuel you actually use is aggressively tilted in favor of the rental agency as the cost of refueling your car is almost always higher than the cost of refueling yourself.

To beat rap on it, don't make another mistake:

Failure to check the refueling place on the way back

The best time to find a place to refuel your vehicle is the moment you pick it up. When departing from the airport or rental agency, pay attention to local gas stations and plan to return to the most accessible or cheapest one after your rental is complete. The neighborhoods around airports can be confusing and unfamiliar, so you don't want to drive around looking for a gas station when flight time is approaching. Think about it when you leave when you don't have time.

Purchasing insurance Reason # 1: Your own car insurance covers you

Before you accept it at face value, it's important to point out that car insurance policies can vary widely, so it's worth contacting your own insurer directly. If you have the minimum coverage legally allowed, it may not cover car rental insurance - whereas if you have what companies call "full coverage", you almost certainly do, at least in your country. Call or email your insurer to find out.

In general, a rule of thumb is that the insurance you have on your main vehicle also covers the rented vehicle as under the policy, the rental is considered a replacement vehicle. So if you have full insurance for your own car, your policy will also provide you with comprehensive coverage for your rental vehicle.

Most policies cover you even if the rental car is a "better" or more valuable car than your own, so you don't have to worry if you get an upgrade or rent a much better car than the one you insure at home.

Keep in mind, however, that an accident with a rental car usually raises rates if you need to make a claim on your own insurance policy.

Too cursory pre-departure check

When you pick up your car, check the inside and outside for any potential damage prior to departure. Look for scratches, scuffs, loose parts and power windows and mirrors.

Keep an eye out for problems both small and large; the tendency is to walk quickly around the car looking for scratches and blemishes, thinking that big problems would already be noticed, but this is not always the case. I once rented a car with a loose rear bumper that the rental company had not noticed before. If I hadn't noticed it before I left the garage and the inspector saw it later, I would have been entirely responsible for it.

Your best protection here: Take photos or record a video of a slow walk around your car and "kick the tires", so to speak.

Leaving the ultimate control to chance

Recently, the car return procedure resembles checking out of a hotel, where you leave your card on the bedside table and go out into the lobby just waving your hand to reception. Car rental returns took on a similar character; as often as not, you follow signs to the back of a row of recently returned cars, take out your belongings, leave the key in the car and walk away without speaking to anyone directly.

If the mere exiting of the car without being checked by an agent is disturbing, it should; the most serious complaints against car rental companies in recent years have been disputes over claims for damages. If there is no assistant (and sometimes there is) at the lift, the dispute later becomes your word against them.

Again, the best protection here is to take pictures or record a video of the slow walk around your car.

Crossing international borders

Most car rental contracts do not allow the car to cross international borders. Additionally, your domestic car insurance rarely covers international car rentals, so you'll likely want to take out insurance from the rental company at the time of rental.

Credit card companies can help here as most offer coverage to many international destinations.

Border crossing rules vary by destination and car rental agency. In some cases, entry into another country is permitted subject to prior notification and / or payment of an additional fee.

If you are crossing international borders without a permit and have a problem, the protection of your rental agreement, insurance and other sources could be denied. For more information, see Tips for International Car Rental.