Car Rental Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Renting a car while on vacation is an extremely popular choice for travelers, and with good reason. A car allows you to visit places off the beaten track, operate on your own schedule, and generally enjoy more independence and flexibility. But be aware when you line up at that car rental counter that while the process is straightforward enough, there are still some basic mistakes to look out for in order to prevent unexpected costs or aggravation. Here are three of the biggest car rental errors to avoid on your next holiday:

Identify a final refueling station in advance.

Unless you’ve prepaid for gasoline (which is a convenient option, but generally much more expensive than refueling the car yourself), you’ll need to return your car to the rental agency with a full tank. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check out nearby gas stations as you leave the agency after picking up your car and to plan your route from the station back to the agency. At the end of your trip, the last thing you’ll want to do is to be driving around in circles trying to find a place to gas up.

Conduct a thorough initial inspection.

It’s important to take your time on the initial inspection when picking up your rental car, as you will be held responsible for any damage that wasn’t originally noted when you return it. Be on the lookout for major problems, such as a loose bumper, as well as smaller scratches and dents, and report absolutely everything you notice. It can also be helpful to take photos or video in case there is any later dispute about when the damage occurred.

Check your insurance coverage.

Standing in line at a crowded rental agency counter before your flight is not the ideal time to be making decisions about the type and amount of insurance coverage you need. Advance planning is critical to ensure that you are adequately covered and to avoid purchasing unnecessary additional insurance from the agency. Before your trip, check to see what kind of coverage your auto insurance and credit card provide. If possible, it is a good idea to get specific details in writing from your insurer.

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