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Hidden Costs of Low-Cost Car Rentals

 

After scouring the various car rental websites for deals on your upcoming vacation, you find a great deal that seems too good to be true, but the problem is it might be. Sometimes car rental agencies and travel discount sites lure customers in with great base rates, and then make their profit with hidden fees.

These fees shouldn’t necessarily deter you from renting a car, but if you know which fees to look out for you may be able to more accurately come up with a car rental budget. Most importantly, you will be able to tell if that deal you found is really such a deal after all!

Here are some of the top hidden costs to look out for when booking a low-cost car rental:

Insurance

Most car rental places will encourage, or even pressure, you into purchasing their optional insurance for an extra daily charge that quickly adds up. What they usually fail to mention is that a lot of the time normal car insurance also provides coverage in case of an accident in a rental car.  In other cases, the credit card you use to pay for your car rental may provide insurance. It is always worth looking into these possibilities before tacking on the hidden cost of optional insurance from the rental car site.

Age Penalties

Many car rental companies charge an additional $25 or so a day to drivers under the age of 25, which can quickly add up for younger drivers.

Vehicle Upgrades

Sometimes the counter agent will try to talk you into a larger, more expensive car. If you’re happy with renting a compact car and would like to keep your rental low-cost, don’t give in to the sales pressure. If you requested a compact car but they don’t have any in stock, you should not have to pay any additional fees for the larger car. If an extra fee gets added in this case, it’s best to request clarification and speak to a manager if necessary.

Extras

That $15 a day rate you were quoted can quickly fly out the window if you feel pressured into tacking on unplanned for extras, like GPS, roof racks, or child seats. If you need GPS or a child seat, consider bringing your own from home in order to avoid paying the extra $25 or so a day these things will cost.

Licensing Fees

Some car rental agencies pass on the cost of their licensing fees to their customers, in the form of fees usually in the $10/day range. Many companies do not disclose this fee up front, so it’s worth asking before you book your rental. You may decide to move forward with the rental anyway, but at least this way you will have a more accurate idea of what the rental is going to cost you.

Extra Drivers

Some companies, but not all, charge an additional daily surcharge if your travel partner plans to also drive the vehicle. In some cases this extra fee even applies if you are traveling with your spouse.

 

 

 

 

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