A Guide on Car Rentals

Car rentals can significantly improve your travel experience. When hiring a car, you have to be cautious about its condition and the terms of hire. In this extract, you will learn how to choose, inspect and save costs when hiring a car for domestic and international trips.

Type of car

Choose a car that suits your needs. For example, some cities have narrow streets — hence, hiring a large SUV would be impractical. If you intend to go camping, choose a spacious car with adequate ground clearance. 

The condition of the car

Below is a guide to assist you in inspecting the condition of the car.

  • Worn-out tires and broken lights could get you in trouble with the traffic police.
  • Check the lubricant and coolant levels — ignition problems or a smoking exhaust could be signs of chronic engine problems.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for a test drive to feel the vehicle's performance, the condition of its transmission and its braking system.
  • The vehicle should have security features such as locking doors, an alarm system and a fire extinguisher.
  • Look for a car with extra features such as a navigation system, radio and charging ports. 

Terms of hire

Preferably, you should deal with reputable companies when seeking car hire services. Seek referrals from friends or look for companies with positive online reviews. If you are booking the vehicle to use it at a later date, inquire about deposit and cancellation charges. Some car hire companies will prohibit you from driving the car on unsealed roads. Ask about night driving as there are companies that restrict clients from driving outside the city at night. Choose a company that offers recovery services if the vehicle breaks down in your hands.

Excess fee

Most car hire companies require you to take an excess insurance cover to reduce liabilities if you are involved in an accident. If you do not pay this fee, the company will automatically deduct the maximum excess fee from your credit card and use it for accident repairs. If the repairs cost less than the excess, the company will give you a refund. You do not have to pay the excess fee if you have travel insurance. Besides, some types of credit card travel insurance also cover car hire excess. However, you have to use the credit card to pay for the car rental. 

Finally, ask for discounts if you will use the vehicle for an extended period.

When hiring a rental car, determine the right type of car, inspect its condition, inquire about the terms of hire and excess fees.