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If you’ve got to take a long trip, renting a car is worth considering. Even people that own their cars rent them for long journeys because it’s much easier to use somebody else’s car than to run up the miles on their own.

If you have never rented a car before, then it’s very likely that you’ve got no idea what you should do when renting a car. While filling out an application on a rental agency’s website is simple and doesn’t need explanation, the finer details do.

Here are some important things you need to know about renting a car:


Collection Point

Rental agencies tend to be very rigid about where people can collect cars from. Even if a rental agency has several branches in a city, they won’t let you pick your car up from anywhere other than where it’s being stored when you fill out your online rental application. For example, if an agency’s offering car hire from Queenstown Airport, that’s where you’ll have to collect it, even if they have a branch a half mile away. Rental agencies try to keep down the mileage of their cars as much as possible, which means that they aren’t very cooperative when it comes to delivering cars or bringing them closer to you.

Drop-off Time

Another thing that rental agencies tend to be very rigid about is the drop-off time that cars are expected back. If you don’t bring your rental car back at the time that the company has requested you to, even if it wasn’t your fault and you weren’t able to because of traffic or things outside of your control like a car crash, they will charge you a late return fee. The fee is usually around 10% of the car’s rental bill. You can avoid paying this by ensuring that the car is delivered earlier than the specified time.

Excess Fees

Excess fees are fees you are responsible for paying if the car becomes damaged while it’s in your possession. Unfortunately, excess fees can be very high. If you are on a tight budget, you need to do everything in your power to ensure that the car is returned to them the same way it was when you took it. You also need to thoroughly inspect the car for damage when you collect it, as there have been stories circulating online about rental agencies giving out knowingly damaged cars and then charging people excess fees when they return them, despite not being the cause of the damage.

obi-pixel6propix-aZKJEvydrNM-unsplashFuel Tank

Many rental agencies will ask that you return the car with a full fuel tank. However, this depends upon the amount of fuel in the car when you originally collected it. If the car’s tank was full, you must return it with a tank of equal fullness. You must return it with a half-full tank if it is half full. The company will charge a fee to your bank account if you do not return it with the requested fuel.

Car Selection

What type of car do you want? Most rental agencies won’t allow you to pick a specific car. Instead, they will give you a list of car types to choose from and then give you a model of car that conforms to their available type. If you choose a luxury sedan, you could get anything from a Mercedes Benz to a Lexus. You may be given a little more choice at the car rental agency if they have multiple cars on the forecourt. You could request a type of car from the person filling out your rental paperwork, though you’re not guaranteed to get one.

Customer Feedback

The last thing to consider is the rental agency’s customer feedback. After all, do you want to work with an agency that doesn’t have good feedback from its customers? A company’s feedback can tell you a lot about it. If it is all consistently bad, then it is probably an indication that the agency isn’t worth working with. Always be wary of any testimonials and reviews published on the actual rental agency’s site since they can easily create them themselves.

Renting a car doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you remember the guidance outlined in this post regarding renting a car, the process will be as relaxing and stress-free as possible.