Renting A Car For The First Time? A Few Things You Should Know In Advance

Posted on: 31 March 2018

Renting a car is one of those adult things you tend to get a little excited about because you could not do that before you turned 21. It is a right of passage if you want to view it that way. However, before you get all excited about reserving a car and driving it anywhere you want to go, there are a few things you should know in advance.

1. If You Rent a Car with a Credit Card, It (Temporarily) Costs LESS

No, not less than the daily rental amount, but less because your card is not going to get dinged with a security deposit. This is no joke. If you try renting a car with a debit card, you have to agree to the security deposit or you cannot rent the car. The security deposit ranges from $200 to $550, depending on which auto rental agency you rent from.

Ergo, if you do not have a credit card yet, it might be a good idea to get one before you rent your car. Otherwise, you will have to budget a few extra hundred dollars on your debit account to rent the vehicle. (You will get the security deposit back, but ONLY after you have returned the vehicle unharmed per your rental agreement.)

2. Your Own Car Insurance Does Not Cover Damages to Rentals

A lot of people are surprised by rental agencies offering daily damage insurance. The assumption by these consumers is that their car insurance covers damages of whatever they drive. Not true.

If you do not own the car, and/or you do not have the vehicle registered on your car insurance policy, your auto insurance does not cover the cost of damages to the vehicle. If you are heading somewhere unfamiliar or somewhere where there is a lot of high traffic, it is a very good idea to get the daily damages coverage offered by the rental company. It is always better to be safe (and spend a little extra) than to be sorry (and be forced to buy the damaged rental or be sued by the rental company).

3. If Somebody Else Is Going to Be Driving, They Have to Provide Their Info Too

If you are going to be traveling with another adult, and that other adult may be driving the rental at any time, he or she has to be present at the time of the rental pick-up to sign the contract and present his/her driving information. If he/she does not, and something happens to the car, both of you could be sued. He/she would be sued for driving a vehicle he/she did not have contractual permission to drive. You would be sued for allowing someone other than yourself to drive the vehicle.