Traveling for work or pleasure oftentimes involving renting an automobile. Renting a vehicle is often less expensive than taking a taxi, and provides access to more locations than public transportation. However, it is very easy to rack up a bunch of expenses related to the rental car that were not anticipated when the vehicle was rented. Recently, a woman in Canada was told she will be charged $47,000CAD for a Mustang GT that was stolen after the person dropped off the vehicle. While that may be an extreme case, here are a few ways to avoid exorbitant charges after a vehicle rental.
1. Fill the Fuel Tank
In many cases, if a vehicle is returned without the same amount of fuel in it than when it was rented, the driver will be charged to fuel the vehicle to that point. Typically the amount per gallon is more expensive than what it would be to stop and fill it up before dropping it off.
2. Inspect Vehicle Before Leaving When Picking Up
Briefly inspect the vehicle for damage before leaving the car rental lot when picking up the car. Any damage at that point should be pointed out to the rental company, photographed, or otherwise notated. If an inspector sees the damage after dropping the car off, then it is possible the company will think the renter did the damage and charge them for the repairs.
3. Make Sure Vehicle is Checked In When Dropped Off
At big car rental lots, this is not a problem. A person will scan the vehicle and notate mileage, damage, and other issues when the vehicle is dropped off. This often happens immediately, before the renter even has time to walk away. In the case of the Canadian woman, no one was there to officially receive the vehicle when it was dropped off. Even though she had to return it that day, the rental company had no idea when she dropped it off or even if she did at all.
4. Consider Purchasing the Extra Insurance
All rental companies offer renters additional insurance on the vehicle. If the renter is worried about damage, and accident, or other issues out of their control, the full-coverage insurance is a worthwhile investment. In the event the vehicle is totalled or stolen, the insurance will cover the loss so that the renter does not have to report it on their own automotive insurance.
The people who are often caught with charges are the ones who are in a bit of a hurry when dropping off the vehicle. Taking a little time to make sure these steps are completed before dropping the vehicle can help avoid a costly bill later.