I’ve had my share of rental car remorse. There was the time hubby and I were leaving town for good and hired a car for the last few days to get us through. We were just metres from the hire car company, parked at the lights, when BANG – a tradie in a ute slammed right up the back of us. It took us an entire six months to recover the excess money from the tradie (he was a good guy – but struggling for the cash) since we weren’t in town and he knew we couldn’t come knocking! And no. He wasn’t insured – so it hurt him too.
Believe me. There are plenty of hidden costs when hiring a car and I’m here to save you the heartache of going through an experience from hell like I did.
Here are three of the biggest ways a rental can exceed your expenses:
Rental car insurance can be expensive. Insurance can range from $10-20 a day, which can add up if you are using the car for an extended period of time. Luckily, many credit card companies can act as insurance for your car at no extra cost. Just be aware that some credit cards have limited or non-existent coverage, so call and check first whether yours does. Many credit card companies do not cover the cost of damage to the car, and even if they do, some do not cover the fees incurred by the rental company. If you need legal advice, go to professionals like the Motor Accident Legal Service who can provide legal assistance if you get yourself in a bind like I did!
If you happen to have a partner or a younger person driving your rental car, this can cost more. If you or the person driving the car is under 25 years old prices go up considerably. A few years ago, most companies didn’t allow people under 21 to drive rental cars, and while most do now, these age groups face higher fees and they are assessed daily. Each additional driver adds to the price, even if they are over 25. Be conservative when deciding who will drive the car. The less drivers the better.
3. Extra fees
There are a host of extra fees incurred too. Read the fine print!
Some of these include:
- Prohibiting the use on unpaved roads. Stick to bitumen!
- Collision damage waivers
- Filling up the fuel tank upon return. If you don’t they’ll charge you their petrol fees, which will be higher!
- Extras like navigation equipment and car seats. Bring your own!
Above all, know what you’re getting into and know exactly what you’re paying for. Research well and prepare ahead of time for your trip. With this in mind, you can drive your rental car knowing that if someone slams into your rear, like what happened to me, you are covered!
Always spend more to reduce the excess you would need to pay should you have an accident.