How to Choose a Rental Car

Renting a car—it sounds like it would be a simple thing to do, right? You need a car, you go to a car rental company, you give them some money, they lend you a car—done! Not so fast. Though renting a car can be simple, renting the right car for you and your situation—not so much. That’s why, rather than just heading to a car rental company, tossing down some cash, and having the keys to any old car tossed at you; it’s a much better idea to arm yourself with some helpful tips on how to choose a rental car. Here are some helpful tips about car rental in New Jersey and throughout the country for anyone who is considering renting a vehicle in the near future.

Check the web

Just like most things these days, you typically can find the best deals in car rentals if you surf the internet. First, many companies have online promotions, offers, or coupon codes that will not only afford you great deals; they’ll be the best deals the car rental companies can offer, period. Plus, searching for a rental car online, and even booking it there, can help you to see the rates for the vehicles you’re interested in for your particular situation. Another great advantage of searching as well as booking online is that you won’t have an upselling salesperson talking you into something you don’t need. Finally, renting off a car rental company’s website saves you tons of time. For the time it’ll take you to hop in your car and go down to the car rental company, you could have chosen your car or minivan and booked it already. If you don’t rent online, someone else will who will reserve and pay for the car you had your heart set on.

Don’t wait—book early

Just like with the airlines, many car rental companies have better rates if you book early. And, again, if you aren’t the person who’s booking early, someone else probably will be, and they’ll not only get the car you want; they’ll also get a much better deal than you will for having done so.

Join a car rental club

If you’re thinking you may need to rent a car or minivan more than once in the next several months, it would be beneficial for you to join a car rental club. Most large car rental companies offer memberships in car rental clubs that will end up costing you less money in the long run. Most of these also offer additional perks such as airline miles, free upgrades, and even free rental days.

Weekend or weekly?

Weekend rates (versus daily rates) typically are the best rates. So, if you’ve got some flexibility about when you can go on your trip, consider going over a weekend rather than just during the week. This way, you’ll be able to get the best rates car rental companies have to offer. Another important tip to remember is that it’s generally cheaper to rent a car or minivan for an entire week than it is to rent one for just a few days, sometimes with a discount of up to 25 percent or even more. If your plan is to rent a car or minivan for five or more days, rent it for a week and save yourself some cash.

Check your own insurance policy first

Passing on insurance is a very bad idea; you never know what can happen. However, some car insurances from car rental companies do have coverages that may overlap with your own insurance policy. Check your own car insurance policy before you rent a car or minivan for any reason, such as when you’re away on vacation or for your business. If you can’t make heads or tails about the rental part of your own car insurance policy, contact your agent and ask the right questions about coverage before you sign on that car rental company’s dotted line for insurance coverage.

Prepay sometimes means overpay

Finally, prepaying gas isn’t always the best option. Sure, if you’re thinking you might end up in a tight spot time-wise at the end of your trip, it’s probably best if you opt for the prepaid gas so you don’t have to run around finding a gas station at the last minute. It’s also a good idea to get the prepaid gas if you’re pretty sure you’ll use an entire tank of gas. However, if you’re not anticipating any time constraints and you’re not likely to use a whole tank of gas, consider fueling up yourself at the end. For more information about car rental, contact a company that specializes in car or minivan rental near you.