With the high cost of car rental, the price is sometimes no longer worth the convenience. Sure, the rising price of gasoline at the pump has something to do with high car rental fees. But what most of us don’t realize is that most of what’s in your rental bill is due to hidden charges. These charges can actually contribute to half of what they charge for your bill.
Most rental car agencies won’t tell you this, but most of those hidden charges are optional. You can save money by having them removed in your car rental bill. We’ll show you what these hidden charges are, what they mean, and how you can talk your way out of them.
* Airport taxes and surcharges is what car rental agencies charge you extra for the convenience of picking up your rental car at the airport. This extra service can actually amount to 10% of your total bill. The reason they charge you more when you want your car bought to the airport is because of taxes and concession fees. Car rental agencies have to pay concession fees to the airport management every time they bring a rental to the airport. The agency also has to pay business taxes to the local government for doing business at the airport.
Most airports and some rental companies have free shuttle service with fixed routes. To remove this hidden charge from your car rental bill, take advantage of this free service and just have your car dropped off at a location away from the airport. That way, the car rental reduces cost and you don’t get charged extra for their service.
* Collision Damage or Loss Damage Waiver is the extra $10-$25 you have to pay per day in order to avoid liability for any damage on your rental car, provided that the damage wasn’t caused by gross negligence.
Most car insurance and credit card insurance cover rental cars as part of their standard coverage. Check if your insurance company covers rental cars and if they do, have the Loss Damage Waiver removed. You’re just wasting money if you’re paying for collision damage on top of your regular insurance.
* At first glance, gasoline charges seem like a great idea. Imagine getting your rental car with a full tank. You don’t need to stop by gas stations along the way and you can return the car with an empty tank if you want to.
However, most car renters can’t completely consume a full tank of gas. You won’t get a refund if you don’t use up all your gas but you could get penalties added up to your bill. It’s still cheaper to gas up your own rental car you only have to pay for the amount of fuel that you need.
* If you drop of your rental car at a different location from where you picked it up, you may get charged with a drop-off fee. Drop-off fees vary from state to state. Some states don’t have drop-off fees while some have fees that can go as high as $1000.
So as much as possible, return your car at its original pick-up point. If it’s not possible to return your car back in the same place, look for drop-off places where the fee is minimal.
* The early return fee is something that car rental agencies charge you when you return your car too early. A car rental company can charge you $10-$15 per day for early returns. And if that’s not enough, they’ll also change your rental rates. Instead of charging you their weekly rate, they’ll charge you their daily rate. Not only do you have to pay for your early return fees, you have to pay for that rate difference too. In order to save yourself from paying hundreds of dollars in fees, make sure you return your rental car on the exact date stated in your policy.
Most of the hidden charges that car rental companies add to your bill are due to penalties for breaking your rental policy. This is why you should read and understand your rental policy before signing the contract. Ask your car rental company to make sure you have everything covered in your contract. By knowing everything there is to know about your policy, you’ll be able to avoid any penalties and keep your car rental costs at a minimum.