Rental Car Guide
What can you expect in a rental car contract? What do you need to know about it before you sign on the dotted line?
You have your coupon in hand for a rental car for your week-long vacation. You think you know exactly how much you'll be spending. But suddenly when you get your bill. You realize that you end up paying $100 to $200 more than you anticipated. Where are these additional costs coming from?
• City surcharges. Different cities impose these costs you don't anticipate. The traditional traveling cities such as New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Los Angeles all have them. You pay a percentage of your bill to these city governments.
• Under-age surcharges. If you're under 25, you'll likely have to pay a fee. Many rental companies don't even allow people under 25 to rent a car. But if they do, they'll charge you. Rental car companies view drivers under 25 as threatening to their insurance policies. So if you aren't 25 yet, you'll be hit with a hefty charge to cover the additional risk. Many times these charges are tacked on based on how many days you rent the car.
• Unauthorized additional drivers. Not the only one who's going to be driving the car? If so, you'll be charged more.
• Airport fees. If you're picking the car up at an airport, the airport will get a chunk of your money, too.
• State surcharges. States will take a chunk of tax, as well. Most states have hospitality taxes which include hotels and car rentals.
• Late fees. If you don't return the car on time, you'll have to pay. Make sure you know how much these fees will be before you rent the car.
• Deposit. This is an item you may not know about going in to your car leasing experience. The deposit might be as much as a couple hundred dollars. You'll likely get the amount back when you return your car, but it can tie up credit or cash you aren't expecting during the trip.