What To Know Before Renting A Vehicle - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jun 26, 2023

What To Know Before Renting A Vehicle

Whether you are planning a vacation or have found yourself in a situation where you need to rent a vehicle, there are a few things you’ll want to confirm before signing the dotted line at the rental desk. Continue reading to learn more about how to best protect yourself when renting a vehicle.


Research Car Rental Options

There are many travel sites that offer booking assistance when it comes to renting a vehicle. If you can, try to avoid renting from an airport location. Not only can you run into longer wait times, but you’re more likely to find that there are added fees simply for renting at the airport. Be sure to do some research ahead of time to ensure that you find the best rate for the area that you’re in. If you are traveling, you might also consider planning for transportation to an off-airport rental location.


Determine Whether You Need Rental Car Insurance

A common question when it comes to renting a vehicle is whether you need additional car insurance? In most cases you don’t need to have a current auto insurance policy in order to rent a vehicle. Many rental companies will look to offer you their own coverage, which is a large source of income for the industry. If you don’t currently have an auto insurance policy, you will need to purchase coverage for the rental car. This can usually be done at the counter, but you might consider doing some research upfront. Doing so can save you money if you happen to find a cheaper option online. If you do currently carry auto insurance…


Find Out What Your Current Policy Covers

If you’re going to be renting a vehicle, discussing the specifics of what your current auto policy will cover with your local agent is imperative. Your agent can advise you on what additional coverages you may or may not want to purchase at the time of renting.


Pro tip: be sure to give your credit card company a call before deciding on a rental car or insurance. You may be surprised to learn that some credit card companies offer coverages like physical damage or theft if you don’t have a personal auto insurance policy. You will want to ask questions specific to your account to find out what may or may not be covered in the event of an accident involving your rental car.


Check the Car for Damage Before Leaving

In most cases, the rental company will look over the car with you, pointing out and documenting any pre-existing damages before you drive away.  It is in your best interest to be extremely thorough during this process. Be sure to check every inch of the vehicle; if there is something that is missed, take a photo of it immediately and report it to the rental car company. You want to avoid being charged for any damages you did not cause.


Fill the Tank Before Your Return It

Most companies will require that you fill the gas tank to whatever level it was before you left with the vehicle and you can be charged additional fees if you forget to do so. We recommend that you take a photo of your gas level before leave, for quick reference. Although the rental company is supposed to document it on your paperwork, it doesn’t hurt to have your own proof of fuel level. It’s also important to know what type of fuel you should put in the vehicle beforehand.


Pro tip: save your gas receipts or take a picture of them throughout the duration of driving the car. There’s always a chance they will come in handy down the road. 


Be Mindful of Your Return Time

You should plan to have the vehicle back to the rental company before the scheduled time. Another way in which you can rack up fees is by returning it later than the agreed time. Planning for an early return will ease your stress should you run into long lines at the gas station or return desk. This tip can keep you on time and on budget.


Renting a vehicle can be incredibly helpful when you’re traveling or when you find yourself in need of a car. For more information on rental car insurance, or what an auto policy may cover when it comes to rentals, contact one of our local agents by clicking the link below!