The Best Car Rental Tip to Avoid Nasty Credit Card Bills – Part 2

How to avoid nasty “surprises” in your credit card statement?

In previous article we looked at airport surcharges and how they can affect your total bill. Now, let’s have a look at other components that can add to your total credit bill.

Insurance

Your rental car comes with a standard insurance liability of between $2900 and $3300 depending on a car rental supplier. This liability can be further reduced by paying an extra daily charge of between $25 and $27. However, since the price of insurance is almost half of what you pay for you car, I recommend that you check your credit card/travel/car insurance to make sure it doesn’t cover you in a rental car.

Gasoline Charges

For your convenience most car rental companies provide cars with a full tank of fuel. However, be assured that if you don’t return the car with a full tank you will pay a higher price for petrol used to fill up the empty tank. Most car rental companies these days offer the option of purchasing a full tank of gas when you first take the car, enabling you to return the car with as much or as little fuel as you wish.

Please note that there is no refund for unused fuel, so it’s likely you’ll be paying a little extra for the convenience of skipping the trip to the gas station.

Drop-Off Charges

An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different location than where it was picked up. This fee varies by location; in some instances there is no charge, while you could pay $300 or more for cross-country drop-offs. However, some companies do not require a charge when dropping off in-state at many Queensland and New South Wales locations.

The 24-Hour Clock

Car rental industry operates on a 24-hour clock rate. However, there is also a 59-minute grace period before hourly charges apply. To give you an example, if you rent a car at 12:00pm on Tuesday and return it by 12:59pm on Wednesday, you will be charged for one day only. However, if you return the car after 27 hours (in this case after 15:00) you’ll then be charged for the full extra day. Hourly charges apply between 25-27 hours.

Early Returns

When you rent a car for a particular number of days, you sign a sale contract for that period. So, just like with any other contracts out there, if you break your contract you must pay cancellation fees. Since, car rental companies set their rates based on the rental period, the longer you keep the car the cheaper the daily base rate. If you managed to reserve a car for 7 days using one of these “hot” weekly specials and then decide to bring the car two days earlier, you might get charged at a default daily rate and your total car rental charge for 5 days might end up costing you more than if you kept the car for 7 days. Therefore, please don’t forget to ask a car rental agent if you pay different daily rate for earlier returns.

 

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