Renting a car is one of the greatest ways to really get some freedom when you go on a vacation. There’s nothing quite like being able to go where ever you want to in a new place and explore everything you see without the limitations of public transport. But you also need to be careful. There are various ways to car rental companies can really destroy your holiday if you don’t know about them. Here are a few things you need to know about how to avoid becoming a holiday horror story when renting a car.

The Insurance Trap

Most of the time, advertised car rental prices are extraordinarily low. A reasonable mid-size sedan for under $30 a day sounds like a real bargain . But did you know that these advertised prices don’t include top level insurance. Did you know that if the car is damaged in any way including ways that are not you fault, that you can be charged an insurance excess of many thousands of dollars? A tree branch falls on your car or a hail storm puts a few dents in the roof, you can be liable for thousands!

It simply isn’t worth the risk. When you book a rental car always ask them to quote you for the top level of insurance. It is more expensive but it can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Several tourists have been hit for this amount when their cars have been damaged in freak weather circumstances or in sudden natural disasters such as floods. It is not as uncommon as you might think, so make sure you protect yourself and take out the relevant amount of insurance on your rental car . It usually doesn’t cost that much extra and is definitely worth the cost.

The Return Time Trap

When a car rental company gives you your rental they are supposed to tell you the day and time that your car is due to be returned. Often times they “forget” about the time. But if you return your car even an hour or two late, you can be forced to pay for an extra day of rental. A full 24 hour charge for a an hour or two of time seems unfair (and it is), but they are within their legal rights and they will often enforce it.

Make sure you know exactly when you are supposed to be returning the car and that you get there early or as close to that time as humanly possible. It isn’t much to be forced to pay an extra day’s rental, but it will leave a sour taste in your mouth. Some of the more unscrupulous smaller companies will conveniently “forget” to tell you the exact time so make sure you check your contract for the return time. Unfortunately it is a case of buyer beware.


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