Looking a rental car may seem like a fairly straightforward idea, but be informed. We’ll provide a few simple tips and strategies that will not only make your car hire and booking process easier, but may help you save you money and frustration.

Tip number one – Despite what you’re told or led to believe, sometimes your credit card policy doesn’t cover damage to rental cars. While some credit card vendors state that using your credit card to rent a car offers insurance, make sure that you understand exactly what kind of damages that insurance policy covers. For example, a credit card company may agree to cover cost of damages to a rental car, but not fees or costs assessed by the rental car company.

Tip number two: Avoid putting anyone on the rental car policy as a driver if they’re under the age of 25, or you may end up paying a higher rate. In addition, limit the number of drivers for the rental car, as the more drivers you put on the rental car agreement, the higher the fee you’ll pay.

Tip number three: Before returning the car to the rental car agency, fill up with gas at a local gas station and not at the gas pump offered by the rental company. Rental company gas pumps typically charge more for gasoline than local gas stations.

Tip number four: Avoid add-ons that can jack up the cost of your car rental. For example, GPS systems, car seats, satellite radio, and other extras can add up when renting a car. Instead, try bringing your own GPS device, iPod, or car seat whenever feasible.  However, do be aware of the rules of the road when driving at home or abroad when it comes to such devices and car seats.

Tip number five: Better safe than sorry. Don’t assume that your personal automobile insurance policy covers you when you’re driving a rental car at home or abroad, and most especially in foreign countries. Determine what your auto policy offers when it comes to rental cars, and then ask about rental car insurance from the company you’re renting from. Yes, you may pay a little more, but better safe than sorry.

Tip number six: Beware ‘loss of use’ charges. When renting from a car rental agency, make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not in the event of an accident.  Your insurance company may cover the damages to the car, but the car rental agency may charge a “loss of use” claim, meaning that every day the car is out of service, you’ll get charged typical rental charges for that vehicle on a daily basis.

Tip number seven: Always carefully inspect your rental car, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, or how good the car looks. Take photos of the car before you leave the lot, and make sure that they’re time and date stamped. Make sure that the representative at the car rental agency is aware of scratches, dings, dents, stains, tears, or wear and tear inside the car as well. Don’t sign the car rental agreement until these defects are noted on your contract.

Independent Traveler – http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/car-travel/international-car-rental-tips

Investopedia – http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0411/8-things-you-need-to-know-before-renting-a-car.aspx

Fox Business.com – http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/05/13/what-need-to-know-before-renting-car/