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Six Secrets to Know When Renting a Car

There are six secrets that car rental companies don’t want you to know and these secrets can save you a lot of money.

Number one: always inspect the car you’re renting with an employee before you sign anything. Car rental offices should have a vehicle inspection list that is signed before you leave the premises, otherwise you could be billed for the damage.

Number two: off airport locations are often cheaper than those at the airport. The vehicles at the airport locations often cost more due to airport fees.

Number three: fuel purchase options and insurance. You may purchase a tank of gas from the rental company at the time of rental, and return the vehicle with as little gas as you prefer. Be aware that they are unable to give you a refund for any unused fuel. However, this method eliminates the need for you to refuel the tank prior to returning. This can be very pricey if you’re not traveling far, but is a convenience.

The rental car agents enthusiastically encourage you to purchase car rental insurance or what is commonly referred to as collision damage waiver, the CDW. However, check with your insurance agent and find out if your credit card covers this. However, you will be responsible if the vehicle is damaged and the time that it is not being used, that’s a bill you will have to pay.

Number four: negotiate your upgrade. The upgrade rates don’t exist, they’re made up by sales people if you have a mid-sized reservation and you’re looking for something larger or something more fuel-efficient, you can ask for the upgrade. Don’t pay the extra fee. If not, take the reservation.

Number five: timing is everything. The largest expense incurred by a car rental company is depreciation. If the car is sitting on the lot, they want to rent it.

Number six: complain and you shall receive. Car rental companies often go to great lengths to make their customers happy. Like most companies, they want you to use them again. If there is a problem or complaint, complain to a manager and ask for a discount or a refund.

You can save even more money by using your AAA discount, AARP or even a buying club.

Courtesy of Time Warner Cable / YNN
Aired: 8/10/2011
Video Rating: / 5

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  1. Ayaz Kahn

    So if customers needs something bigger they should get it for free? if they book a small car and have change of plans they should get a bigger car for free? So it's like buy one get one free like the dollar store right?

  2. Laurence P. Whittaker

    Car rental companies hate her. Find out these 6 secrets to save you money. Number 4 will shock you!

  3. El Pokool

    are you still responsible for damage even if you pay extra money on the car rental insurance

  4. HateGovernment

    Since I don't care what car I get, I use Priceline and save money.

  5. Evelyn Ellen Aban

    Hi Lauren:

    A silly question but may I ask you anyway.. I had a California Divers License (CDL) but because of my prolonged residence in Asia, my CDL expired. Coming back to the US, will they rent me a car with my current Philippine Drivers License? Thanks.

  6. Michael Myers

    Couple of things this woman doesn't share.
    1. Why the hell would you take a car you don't own and not inspect it? Would you not inspect a vehicle before buying it? The rental companies WANT to do an inspection because if they don't find it they have to deal with you yelling at them and getting complaints to their higher ups. They get enough of that before you show up.
    2. The CDW covers the vehicle to ensure you don't pay a deductible if the car is damaged. Regardless of whether or not your "card" covers it, you will still have to pay your full insurance deductible. If you're renting the car for 3 days and someone hits you, guess what doesn't matter. You get to pay your $500 deduc, wait the usual 2-4 months for your card company to investigate THEN get reimbursed. Even if it's someone else's fault, unless the unlikely happens and that person comes in with you, pays their deductible and their insurance accepts fault, you still get to pay. Average coverage for insurance is $65. You could literally total the car and as long as you weren't drunk or doing anything illegal you only paid $65.
    3. Upgrade rates DO exist. If you reserve a small car then want a larger car, why would you get it for free? There are set rates and you chose a small car probably because it's cheaper. That's like renting a dad from Netflix then demanding the bluray upgrade. You pay extra for a different product.
    4. Complaining just to get a discount? Really? You're the type of person NO ONE wants in their store because you just want more. News flash, most people don't care about your fake complaints. They do this job every day and know you're full of it. They will probably give you an ugly car they didn't want and say that's all they have just because you were a dick.

    This isn't information people. Any employee will freely share this information with you. Those sales drive the business and keep both company and renter protected. If you're curious just ask but no matter who you want covering the car, no one is going to let you walk away without paying anything BUT the instance they offer. It may cost more upfront for the rental but when that drunk idiot cuts you off and you wreck that nice 2015 Challenger you just had to have, guess who is paying out of pocket till you get reimbursed or they deny your claim?
    Former ERAC

  7. CheapCar RentalTips

    BRAVO!  BRAVO!  Well done young lady…BRAVO!


  8. Edžz

    Just read everythink and you can ask if you don't understant. I used https://car-traveler.com/ and all was fine

  9. Harold Dave

    These tips are really good tips for car rental  visit http://www.parklanecarrental.com for renting luxury cars in Dubai as they value their customers more…..

  10. Travel Auto (Travelauto)

    Thats nice, I would share this video in our blog. But we in https://www.travelauto.com/ are transparent with the customer, when the rent the car through us.

  11. Kevin G.

    Its stupid and rediculous to encourage someone to complain to get a discount

  12. 1megane98hp

    1) Not always!!! Depanding on insurance. Full 100% C.D.W with 0 excess means you do not have to check the car. Inspect uninsured parts of car, like tires, or internal parts such as seats (cigarette burns etc)
    2) This is simply so untrue. Prices depend on season and availability, rental days and origin (direct or through travel agent etc) 
    3) True
    4) Untrue. Doing this means that you enjoy taking risks not just for you, but for youw family as well. If it is high season and you request an upgrade at the counter and there is no available car you are… f*cked especially if you have prepaid for the smaller car.
    5) True
    6) True but not 100% 

  13. Jaime Librado

    This are good tips precautions that people who intend to rent a car. The best way is always do the canvassing first and find out the capability of the renting companies when it comes to quality services and cheaper price possible. Check some of my information for more options….