Rent a Car Checklist

Before You Rent a Car

  • For how long will you be renting a car? What size vehicle do you need? Consider the cost of parking and gas. If you are traveling in a big city, look into public transportation options, and you may be able to cut your rental time in half.
  • ;Compare rates of the most well known ;rental services. You should call at least three different places that have a solid reputation and good customer reviews.
  • This can be a convenient option, as you can return the car to the airport on your last day. Beware, though, as some companies charge additional airport fees.
  • Some credit cards offer discounts for car rentals.
  • Get advice on any supplemental insurance - if ;any - you may need.
  • Some services will get you discounts as well. If you are a AAA cardholder, for example, you may be entitled to a discount on the rental vehicle.
  • Call to reserve your vehicle only after researching your options and making the necessary calls. Reservations should always be free, so you can cancel if something comes up.

Bring/Have with You

  • D., ;such as a passport

To Ask At the Car Rental Counter

  • Other facilities will let you drop off the car even if the office is closed.

At the Car

  • Look carefully at all sides of the exterior, to ensure that there’s no ;obvious damage. ;Know that you can be held responsible for undocumented ;damage once you leave the rental car lot.
  • ;Uneven tread wear could indicate a ;suspension or alignment problem. ;If tread wear looks markedly uneven, you should ask for another vehicle.
  • Does the car have over 25,000 miles on it? If so, you should be more thorough with your inspection, as older cars tend to have more wear and tear.
  • This includes headlights, turn signals, interior and dashboard lights.
  • This may seem like a small detail, but it's one of the biggest consumer complaints as well as a safety issue.
  • You will need this if there's a feature you don't know how to work, or if you need to perform any ;maintenance ;tasks yourself.
  • You should see a jack and a lug wrench. ;Test the tire to ensure it's inflated. Refer to the owner's manual to see if your rental requires any other tools for tire-changing, such as a socket or other items.
  • Make sure there's enough washer fluid, antifreeze and oil.
  • Familiarize yourself with the dashboard and any additional controls.
  • If there are any problems with the way the car drives, it's best to assess this beforehand.

On the Road and In the Car

You know to compare quotes when looking for a car rental, but what about insurance coverage? How can you be sure your rental is safe? Our car rental checklist gives you the essential tools for the task, both at the counter and on the road.

Tips

  • Be advised that purchasing additional insurance at counter is more expensive and not always necessary. Check with your insurance provider for details.
  • Make sure to have the name and contact info of the clerk who assists you.
  • If you're renting an older car, be more thorough in your inspection. Check to ensure there's enough brake, transmission, and power-steering fluid.