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● The cost of renting a car
The rate you see advertised in big print is most likely not what you will be paying. That rate will be increased by state and local taxes, additional driver fees, airport surcharges, insurance and gasoline bills and drop-off charges, which could mean paying much more than what you expected. Also, the advertised rate may be valid only for a car size that you would find unsuitable. Rates vary according to the size and style of vehicle but most firms rent economy, compact, intermediate and deluxe cars. Some car rental companies can be talked down. Make sure to ask about special discounts from auto club memberships, corporate contracts, or other special clubs. Special promotional rates are often available, especially over weekends, but these should be specifically requested in advance. If a car rental firm is offering a low rate, be sure to read the rental agreement carefully to see what the rental rate covers, possible restrictions, and the liability for the renter. An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different city or location than where it was picked up. The drop-off charge may already be included in the car rental rate. It is always a good idea to ask about fuel charges. Some companies will charge you for gasolene by asking you to return the car empty, they will charge you more for gas than the local filling station station. Since gas prices are usually less expensive at gas stations, it is advisable to fill the tank before returning the car if you are expected to return it with a full tank of gas. You will more likely save money this way. Some companies will charge you for extra mileage over a set amount. If that is the case, you may want to think about using a different rental company or asking for a deal on mileage costs. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about avoiding taxes; they are determined by the state or municipality where you are renting the car. Sometimes it may be possible to avoid higher taxes in an urban location by picking up the car at a suburban location. There may be an applicable charge if you leave the state where you rented the vehicle.

● Insuranse
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
If a rental car is damaged, the renter may be responsible for the first several hundred dollars of damage up to the full price of the car. By purchasing CDW (Loss Damage Waiver or LDW), the renter is released from responsibility of any loss or damage to a vehicle up to the full value of the car. A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is an optional insurance charge. However, some companies require renters to purchase this waiver. Determine, whether or not you need LDW/CDW before you arrive at the rental counter. It can cost $8 - $15 a day. In some cases, you may find a special rate for a larger automobile, which already includes CDW/LDW. Some credit card companies and motor clubs offer free rental protection when you use their cards to pay for the rental. Your personal auto insurance may already provide coverage for damage to rental cars and the purchase of CDW or LDW may not be necessary. Be sure to read the fine print on these agreements. It will save you a lot of money in rental insurance fees. A CDW does not cover personal injuries or damages to personal property. You may not be covered if you are guilty of driving in a negligent manner, out of state, on unpaved roads, drunken or if a non-authorized driver was using the rental car.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Personal Accident Insurance, which costs about $3 per day, provides accidental death and medical coverage for the renter and additional passengers during the time they are riding or driving with you. Check your personal car insurance policy to see if it covers car rentals. If your policy covers car rentals, you may not need PAI. This insurance is usually optional.
Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
This coverage will protect your personal belongings against damage.
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)
ALI is an optional insurance that protects the renters against claims made by third parties for bodily injury/death and property damage caused by the use or operation of the rental vehicle.

● Picking up car
It is very important to inspect the car for the correct mileage information and any visible damage to the car. Be sure to check the following: the exterior and interior of the car for cosmetic damage, the brakes, the headlights and turn signals for proper functionality, electric windows, the windshield wipers, audio and heating systems for working order, the tire pressure, the oil, water, gas levels and the availability of an owner's manual for the car. You should get an employee to make note of all existing damage, and to write a description of the damage on your contract. This ensures that you are not held responsible for any costs for the aforementioned damage. Travelers should always receive a voucher or confirmation from their travel agent before departing. This document should have a confirmation number, the car rental company name, type of car requested, flight information and date. Be sure you understand all the conditions of your reservation. Is there a penalty for a no show? How long will the car be held if you're stuck in traffic on the way to the pickup station? Is there a fee for additional drivers; Ask about any restrictions on interstate travel, about drop-off charges, this is important, as they can be outrageously expensive. Read your car rental agreement before you signs it to familiarize yourself with your liability and to ensure that you know exactly what you will be paying for when you return the car.

● Returning the rental car
Rates are usually based on a 24-hour period. That is, they probably won't rent to you if you only want a car for 12 hours. Although you might want to check some local agency, because they might have leniency with the rules. Make sure you leave enough time to return the car so you don't get charged an extra day. Even if you're late 2 or 3 hours, you'll probably be charged an extra day. Always fill the tank yourself before returning the car.


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