● Choosing a Rental Car Company
Before you even consider which company to
go with, you are going to want to evaluate your needs, decide on the size of car
you want so that you can avoid making hasty or expensive decisions. How long
will you be renting? If it's for less than a week, you'll probably do best with
a major company, for rentals of a week or longer, you may get better rates from
local companies, particularly auto dealers. Make sure ask about special deals,
discounts and credit card programs you may belong to. They'll frequently offer
deals on car rentals. If you're employed by a company that frequently rents
cars, they may have a negotiated rate. Make sure to check. Always shop around,
even on the Web. Many companies often offer Web-only discounts, take advantage
of them whenever possible. Make sure to ask if there will be extra charges that
will increase the base rental rate: fuel charges; mileage fees;
● Drivers License
All car rental companies require a valid driverís license.
In some foreign countries, an international driverís license may be
● Driver's History
Some car rental companies check the driver's history and will deny a
car to a customer with a poor driving record. Ask if the rental car
company checks the driving records of customers. Some companies will
reject customers whose driving records don't meet company standards.
Even if you have a confirmed reservation, you may be disqualified
from renting a car for violations within the last few years, including
accidents, seat belt law violations, regardless of fault,
convictions for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving Under the
Influence (DUI), reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an
accident, or driving with an invalid, revoked or suspended license.
Ask your rental car company in advance, whether your driving record will be checked.
● Age Restrictions
You will encounter an age limit at every car rental company. Most
agencies will have a non-negotiable minimum age requirement of 25.
For consumers under 25, a credit card is usually required for
payment and the rental rate may be slightly higher. The "younger
driver" surcharge varies from agency to agency, and even location.
Even if you do meet the age requirement, some agencies have an upper age requirement for certain vehicles (e.g. you must
be at least 30 years old to rent an Audi TT from Hertz). On the other
end of the age spectrum, some companies may decide not to rent to
senior citizens. If you are government or military personnel, you
may be exempt from the age limit. However, the rental vehicle must
be used for business purposes. A similar exemption may apply if you
are a corporate employee who has an agreement with the rental
company, and are using the rental car for business purposes. Check
with the agency to get clear details about the younger driver policy
and your particular situation. The easiest thing is to check the
company's policy beforehand; call the hotline or check the website.
● Additional Drivers
Read the rental contract
carefully; it will specify who can drive the car. If you are going to need or
want other people to drive your auto rental, it is necessary that you inform the
rental company. Signatures of all drivers and their driverís licenses may be
required to rent the car. There may an extra fee for each additional driver. If
you do not have any other names stated on the rental contract, it is prudent not
to let anyone else drive the rental car. Allowing some unlisted person to drive
your rental car may even void personal insurance or any insurance provided by
your credit card. This could result in serious consequences if the car has been
in an accident. In an extreme case, however, the unlisted person driving the
rental car could be charged with theft, if caught by the police.
● Credit Card
Most big companies do not
accept cash deposits as payment. They require a credit card to guarantee. And
you can be denied a car rental if you have a less than almost perfect credit
history. Besides what if you can't pay for the car? The company needs a
guarantee for services. If a credit card is being used for payment, be aware of
your credit card limit; some car rental companies require immediate credit
approval before renting car which can substantially reduce your remaining
balance of credit. Many car rental companies will accept their own pre-paid
vouchers issued by an appointed travel agent. Some car rentals require
that you fill out a cash qualification questionnaire at the rental location. The
final acceptance of a non-credit card rental, however, is the decision of each
individual rental location.