What NOT to Do: 5 Rental Car Tips to Save Money

Female car agent giving key to male customer for test drive.


Have you rented a car before? If you have, you’re far from alone. The car rental market is one of the fastest-growing markets, and experts expect it to reach $214 billion by 2027.

But as more people get behind the rental wheel, the more people fall victim to rental company scams and marketing ploys. So what are some car rental tips that can help you save money?

Keep reading to learn about five rental car tips that will help you save money and avoid unnecessary expenses.

1. Don’t Prepay for Gasoline

Rental companies know that your life is stressful, especially when you’re traveling. Many companies now offer prepaid gasoline charges, with the promise of making your life simpler and saving you time. Don’t fall for this ploy.

Unless you know that you’ll return the tank empty or are boarding a flight at 3 AM, make time to refill the car yourself. Rental companies overcharge the fuel price, making it not worth it.

2. Don’t Get Rental Insurance

Although auto insurance policies vary, most cover rental cars. This means that if you have a car, the insurance you have should extend to the rental, as it’s considered a replacement vehicle.

If you don’t have a car, you can take advantage of non owners insurance. In other cases, your credit card insurance may cover your rental. Regardless, it’s probably not worth it to buy the company’s rental insurance.

3. Don’t Forget to Check for Upgrades

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to reserve a cheaper vehicle, then try to upgrade to a better one later on. In many cases, inventory management issues work in your favor, letting you drive a larger or more luxurious car with ease.

Desk agents often have a lot of discretion when it comes to setting the upgrade rates. With a bit of haggling, you might be able to end up in a better car for a tiny additional fee.

4. Don’t Forget to Check for Discounts

Are you a part of AAA or some other membership program? If you are, there might be a membership discount you can take advantage of.

Membership programs should list any potential discounts on their website. As you pay membership fees, check to see what they offer. You might be able to save some money!

5. Don’t Leave the Inspection to Chance

Modern car rental companies have a checkout process that resembles that of a hotel. You leave the car in the designated spot with the key on the seat, then walk away without a second glance.

Take photos or videos of the car to ensure that you have evidence if any damage claims come up later. You don’t want it to be your word against that of the rental company.

Save Money With These Rental Car Tips

If you’re renting a car, it’s easy to fall for catchy slogans and marketing tactics. However, by following these five rental car tips and avoiding the things mentioned, you can be certain that your rental experience will be an enjoyable one.

Did you find these car rental tips helpful? If you did, make sure to check out some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.

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