What you need to know before renting a car

December 1, 2014

If you've decided to take a trip and have places to be and people to see, here’s what you need to know before renting a car.

What you need to know before renting a car

Whether you’re going on a quick drive, a day-trip, or a roadtrip across the country, you’ll need a vehicle to get you there. Most people get so caught up in planning the itinerary of their trip that they forget to think about renting a car. But before you step into a car rental company, you should do a little research. A little bit of preparation goes a long way.

Here’s what you need to know before renting a car:

  • Size of the rental vehicle.  To figure out the size of vehicle you should rent, think about the purpose of your rental, how many passengers or the amount of baggage/cargo you’re taking with you. Car rental companies use words like “compact”, “economy”, “mid-size”, “luxury”, “minivan” and “cargo van”.
  • Shop around. It’s a good idea to visit a few different rental company locations and a few websites to get an idea of pricing options. By shopping around, you’re more likely to find the best deal when you rent a car.
  • Driver requirements. In many provinces, rental companies require drivers be at least 25 years old. For drivers under 25, there may be an additional charge associated with the rental. Many companies may look into driving records and can turn you away if there is something in your records that don’t align with their company policy, so do a little research.
  • Car rental insurance. All car rental insurance provide different levels. This insurance may cover minor accidents that might occur during your rental period. It’s a good idea to consider these options carefully. You might rest easier knowing that you’re covered for any unexpected accidents. You can even check with your credit card company to see if you have any preexisting insurance covereage with them. Plenty of credit cards offer this car retal insurance, but it may be limited. Make the quick call to find out if you’ve got coverage. Since car rental insurance can be pricey, it is worth the extra effort to find out what your options are.
  • Fill it up. Take as many pitstops during your trip as you want. Make a stop to grab a bite or to pickup a coffee. It’s up to you, but there is one stop that is a must before you return the car rental: the gas station. It's usually communicated in your car rental agreement that you will return that vehicle with gas. There is usually a fee associated with not filling up.
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