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Avoid Costly Car Rental Pitfalls

by Gerry Lewis

Some folks tend to always take it on the chin instead of ducking the punch. Keep your eyes open while you're driving and even before you get in the car. Save yourself time, money and headaches.

Avoiding Paying for Previous Damages to Rental Cars

Once you've been given the keys to your rental car, be sure to check it over thoroughly before leaving the parking lot. You certainly don't want to get stuck paying for damages to the car that were there before you got behind the wheel.

Have a car rental representative detail every flaw in the car, both interior and exterior, on your contract before you drive away. Ask the representative to sign with their name, not initial. This will establish the facts so that you won't be liable for the existing damages on the car when you return it.

Having an Accident With Rental Cars

Has your fear of having an accident with a rental car kept you from renting a car in the past? When you get a car rental, you have the option of obtaining the rental company's collision and damage waivers to protect you in the event of an accident.

Of course, if you decide to decline that coverage, make sure you have a credit card that offers coverage for car rentals in the event of an accident, or that it is covered by your own car insurance.

If you have an accident while driving a car rental, there are important steps to minimize the loss. At the scene of the accident, obtain the driver's license number and name of every driver involved. Write down the date, the time and the location of the accident. Your insurance agent may have a form for you to carry for this purpose. Take pictures of everything including the other drivers. Be sure to notify the car rental company as soon as possible.

Allow yourself additional time when you return a car that has been in an accident. Rental cars that have been in accidents require accident reports, and it takes longer than a regular car rental return.

Losing Keys of Your Car Rental

How many times have you locked the car keys of inside your car? Have you ever lost your keys and had to use the spare set? Losing car rental's keys does not have to be a catastrophic situation! Before you call the car rental company, be a little creative to see if you can find the missing keys or get into the car yourself.

Your car club (like AAA) may be able to help you. You will be charged tremendously if the rental company has to come out with a second set of keys.

Can't Find Car In Parking Lot

Losing your own car in a large parking lot isn't that hard to do. Imagine how easy it would be to lose a rental car you aren't all that familiar with?

First, don't panic. Look at the keychain, sometimes rental companies put a label on the key that describes the make and model of the car, as well as the license plate number. This can be helpful, but your certainly going to have fun walking up and down the rows checking license plate numbers!

The best way to avoid losing a car rental in a parking lot is to remember where you've parked! Before you walk away, jot down its location on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket or purse.

A simple description helps, like "row directly across from entrance", or "next to phone booth". Just be careful not to locate it "next to a certain car"; your neighbor may leave the parking lot before you do!

About the Author

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