Car Rental Saving Tips and Tricks

car rental saving tips and tricks

If you are the kind of person that does not need to save money when you are renting cars or traveling, then you are not going to need these cost savings tips.

But if you are like the rest of us who get sticker shock every time you rent a car, you might consider these five car rental deals cost savings tips.

Car Rental Saving Tips and Tricks

1. Off Airport Rentals

If you have ever rented a car at O’Hare or Lindbergh Airports, or for that matter many large city airports, you will find that the car rental part of your bill can be almost the same cost as the tax/fee part of the bill. This is because, the Cities are trying to charge the business visitor for their internal costs, rather than raise local taxes. They know that the business traveler may not have many options, if they have to be in that city, so they will pay.

  • Fees and Taxes: Five Recent car rentals at San Diego and Chicago facilities charged a combined surcharge over the cost of the rental of 53%. The “facilities charge” is the largest of the surcharges.
  • Off Airport Rentals: If you were to take an Uber to a facility that is closer to your ultimate destination and rent the car there, you would find that you can save a significant amount. Not to mention the hour you might spend waiting in line at the airport counter for your car keys.
  • Time is money and Money is money!

2. Free Upgrades

When you rent from an off airport smaller facility, there is a good chance that if you reserved a full sized car, they might have to upgrade you as they are likely to have only economy cars available. If they downgrade you, you will pay less, but if they upgrade you, the upgrade is free.

3. Insurance Costs

While we all know the pain of reading an insurance policy; you should take some time and email your agent to be sure your auto insurance policy covers rental cars. This can save you a great deal of time and money. The rental agents are very good at scaring you into thinking that you need their insurance. Make sure you ask your agent about foreign rentals as some countries have unique rules that can also cause you pain.

4. Fuel Option

We have all been guilty of bringing the car back with slightly less than a full tank of gas. After all you have to drive it from the service station to the rental facility don’t you! The rental car companies know this and play on your fears by either asking you for a receipt to show you refilled, or creating the “Fuel Option” where you buy a full tank up front from them. The problem is that by purchasing a full tank initially, you will probably never use it all and therein is the profit for the rental car companies. Always make a mental note of any service station you see as you drive away from the airport, for your return fill-up.

5. Add-On Costs

Some times you cannot avoid taking advantage of the additional services that rental companies provide like child car seats. It can be difficult lugging around those seats, especially if you have more than one youngster. However, Satellite Radio and Mapping devices and Road-side service, are definitely not necessary. With your new iPhone, or other such device, you can provide the first two, and an inexpensive AAA membership (or again maybe your insurance policy) will take care of the last. In these cases you can use these other services all year round. In many cases your car will come with radio and navigation in any event, as they cannot take it out just because you did not want it.

There are a few other considerations for rental car companies that most experienced travelers understand, but are worth mentioning since you have read this far:

Other Rental Car Issues

1. Off Site Car Rentals

Be sure to go far enough away from the airport so that you do not have to put up with long lines at the counter. Sometimes the lesser known rental companies save money by having just one attendant. You and your children will appreciate the shorter line!

2. SUV vs. Mini-Van

All you young dads/moms, who do not see yourself in a Mini-van take note that in many cases they hold more than the SUV.

3. Lower Mileage Cars

While not a necessity, you should check the mileage on the car you rent. Obviously the lower the mileage the better.

4. Lastly Some Pet Peeves

  • Tell the rental company you do not appreciate lugging around multiple keys sealed together, when all you need is one!
  • You do not need to be bombarded with surveys after each rental, you will tell them if you had a bad experience. If only they were so conscientious about sending you your misplaced phone charger.
  • Don’t try to cover up a smoker’s car with that awful smelling spray and rent it as a non-smoking car, we know better.
  • Make sure you walk around the car and note damage, because they certainly will when you return it.
  • We don’t mind a slight wait for a receipt, so we can do our expense report, but don’t allow the attendants to stand around ignoring customers while they are in a hurry.

Feel free to write us with any other suggestions that you have for making your car rental experience better. You can reach EINSURANCE at questions@einure.com. We know some car rental companies try to do a good job and deserve your loyalty, until they don’t!  Happy Driving!

If you need cheap car insurance policy that can cover your rental cars, don’t forget to use our free online quote service to help you compare multiple quotes from top insurers.

About David Thompson

David Thompson is President and CEO of eINSURE Services, Inc. Dave is on the Board of Directors of AmerInst Insurance Group, Bermuda and is Chairman of the Underwriting Committee, as well as co-inventors of RINITS, a new insurance securitization product. He has a history of creating successful new ventures in the insurance business.