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Tips and tricks for getting good car rental deals

Sometimes it seems like finding good car rental deals can be a notoriously hard thing to do but it’s not impossible. Car rental rates can change from day to day and even location to location but instead of settling for the first rate you find you should do extra online research to get the best deal on those wheels. There are many tips to finding a good rental rate online and those will be listed in this article along with tips I have received from a previous car rental agent that will give you the tools you need to keep more money in your pocket.

getting a good car rental deals
Follow this simple tips and tricks to get a better car rental deals

Scanning the travel deal sites and what to look for to get the best car rental deals

Look through sites, such as Kayak and, to compare your options and find the best deal. Enter the travel dates, the city and the type of vehicle needed, and the websites will do all the work for you. Many of these travel websites will offer you insurance for your rental but make sure you read through it carefully as most will:

A)  Will Not cover third party (i.e. if you hit someone else).
B)  Will not cover certain kinds of vehicles (luxury, specialty or commercial).
C) Will have a low maximum coverage.

Then, after you’ve gotten a rough idea of trending availability and rates, I suggest going directly to the car rental company’s site that caught your attention and most likely, you might find an even steeper discount that way (particularly with “Pay Now” options. But keep in mind that rentals paid in advance are typically nonrefundable).

Note: Make sure to read the company’s terms and conditions since most travel deal websites will most likely not have the full disclosure listed (see below).

There can be many things hidden in those pesky conditions, to name a few:

Age and Geographical Limitations: Most companies will state that you need to be at least a certain age to rent a specific car category and that you will only being able to drive the vehicle in certain states without being charged mileage.

Payment Method Restrictions: You can rent at most companies with both a debit and credit card but there might be some restrictions like not being able to rent with a debit card at an airport location. In some cases, if you are renting with a debit card there are certain categories you can’t rent and some documents you will need to bring with you (ex: utility bills, bank statement, etc…).

Deposits: Most companies will attach a deposit to your rental price at the time of your booking but will return it to your form of payment when you return the vehicle. The deposit may vary (can be $100-$2500) depending on the type of car category that you’re booking or if it’s a specialty/luxury vehicle.

Note:Even after you book, keep shopping. If you didn’t book a nonrefundable rental, you can cancel your reservation if you find much better car rental deals.

The Basics do’s and don’t when renting a car searching for the best car rental deals

The don’ts

• Don’t Rent from an airport location – They apply so much more taxes, it’s borderline insanity.

• Don’t Pay for extra accessories – they’re pretty much useless. GPS- use your phone, Satellite Radio-connect your phone via Bluetooth and use Pandora, and Prepaid Gas-fill it yourself, it’s cheaper.

• Don’t tell the rental agent upon arrival at the desk that you don’t want coverage or extras right off the bat – The money signs in their eyes will go away and they will much less likely interested in helping you. Let them get through their sales pitch and then politely decline. Or even better, add on a couple of extras as it might lead to the offer of a free upgrade and then at the end of the conversation say you changed your mind about the extras. If the agent takes it away now it makes it obvious they’re just after your money and not your convenience (no company wants to make that too obvious).

• Don’t let someone else drive – If someone else is going to drive the rental make sure they are listed on your contract. If you did purchase the rental company’s insurance and someone else damages the car you will be held accountable. In another words, you’re screwed.

The do’s

• Inspect the car before driving it off the lot – If you find damages you should report them to a rental agent, taking pictures with your phone is not enough. • Always ask if they have discounts available (it doesn’t hurt) – For example, many offer discounts for having AAA or being a soldier. • Try to be flexible if it would lead to better rates – Some companies have a weekly rate that ends up being cheaper on a per day basis. Sometimes a week-long rental will be the same rate or even cheaper than a two or three-day rental, insane right? • Reserve small rather than large vehicles – Economy and Intermediate vehicles tend to go extremely quickly which means if you book one you have a high chance of getting a free upgrade or two. • Make sure you return on time – Many companies will charge you an extra day just for being 15 minutes late. Ask the agent about their return time policy. Some will give you a grace period and others will not. • Check what your own car insurance and/or your credit card will cover – That’s right, your personal car insurance policy and/or your credit card will cover your rental should any claims should arise (next section).
Paying with credit cards
Booking car rentals with credit cards

What your personal car insurance policy and your credit card of choice might or might not cover when renting a car

(Write engaging introduction paragraph, then start bullet point list)

  • Your policy/credit card may not cover third party claims or “loss of use” but it may cover roadside. It varies depending on your credit card company and what card you have, so check before you go with the rental company’s insurance.

(Need more examples/points to build policy/credit card coverage list)


Research by reading other related posts (expand and make a better presentation). It’s ok to quote experts as part of article content

the article above offers this quote (example of how to quote others)

“It’s very confusing, and I’ve heard a lot of horror stories,” says Jonathan Weinberg, founder of, an online booking engine for car rentals. “Different credit cards have different rules and exclusions, so it’s really important to call and ask them to send you a copy of the policy.”

exotic car rentals
Mini Myni MiniMo... Which one should I rent?

When you rent a car and not everything goes planned

At the time of booking, you probably had to brainstorm and decide which category better met your needs and opted let’s say for a car in the “Compact” category. The anticipated travel date comes in and you show up at the car rental location to pick up your reserved car and the car rental agent might greet you by telling you  “Hmm.. That’s odd, but it seems we’re out of the car you booked” followed by something like:

Lucky you… We do have an upgrade offer: Many times, companies will trick the customer into paying more for a car they are already entitled to by saying “it’s a category higher” when it is simply untrue. Do not fall victim to this!

We don’t have your car because you are late for your reservation: Ask them to point out where it says that you have to be at your reservation within a certain time

We have to go and get your car from another location:

If any of the above happens, don’t let them charge you for an “upgrade”. If they don’t have the car you booked when you arrive they should give you one in the next category available. They should not charge you, nor should they downgrade you.

Or if you have booked the car online using any of the many car rental booking sites, the agent might say something like…. “I can find you a better rate through or system”. Take a break and double check it online (chances are the agent is trying to make you cancel your original booking in order to get the booking credit and all the rewards that come along).

car rental deals
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