If you only rent a car once in a while, you may be missing out on ways to save money or upgrade your rental car experience at no extra cost. Here are easy hacks that will have you renting like a road warrior in no time.
4 Easy Steps to Renting a Car Like a Pro
1. Book early and track your quote. Like airline ticket prices, rental car prices go up and down. But unlike airline tickets, rental car reservations can usually be canceled without a penalty. So if prices drop before you pick up your car, you can cancel and rebook at the lower rate. The best strategy is to book as early as possible, and then keep checking to see if prices go down.
But who has time to constantly check for lower rates? AutoSlash is happy to track your reservation for you at no extra cost and let you know if there's a price drop. The average customer saves 30 percent on their rental car simply by letting us track their booking.
2. Join the club. Being a member of a rental car loyalty program isn't just about earning points toward a future rental. Having status in a program often enhances the rental car experience, allowing you to skip the line at the car rental counter and walk straight to your car. And belonging to the loyalty program can sometimes get you a better car than the category you originally booked. Rental car loyalty programs are free to join, so there's really no downside—but typically several upsides.
3. Maximize your memberships You likely belong to at least one organization that can help you get lower rates on rental cars. Do you shop at Costco? Belong to the AAA or AARP? Are you a teacher or a member of the military? Memberships with these and other organizations make you eligible for discount codes that deliver excellent rates and sometimes additional perks such as free additional drivers.
But, again, who has time to scour the Internet for discount codes? When you ask AutoSlash for a quote, we factor in your memberships and automatically scan and compare thousands of discounts to find the very best deals for each customer.
4. Choose your credit card wisely. The fastest way to add a lot of extra cost to your rental car is to opt for the supplemental insurance option (collision damage waiver, or CDW) offered at the rental car counter. If you own your own car, your auto insurance likely covers rental cars. Many credit cards also come with a built-in protection that covers rental car damage costs over and above what your auto insurance will pick up. This is called "secondary" coverage.
When renting a car, the very best credit cards provide primary coverage. This means that when you decline the CDW at the rental car counter, your credit card will cover any damage to the car—without having to tap your auto insurance and risk incurring a higher premium.
Always read the fine print and know what kind of insurance your credit card offers for rental cars. There will likely be some exclusions for certain countries or certain vehicle categories. It's also important to note that CDW protection does not provide any liability coverage nor will it provide any medical coverage. Be sure to read your card's benefits guide for all of the details.
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