9 Easy Steps to Renting a Car
- Decision: Make sure that there is a car rental outlet at your destination.
- Booking: Book your vehicle. This is easy to do online. Also many airlines now have alliances with car rental companies and offer discounts if you book your flight in conjunction with your car rental
When heading off on a trip, renting a set of wheels need not be a daunting affair if you stick to a few simple steps...
- Class: Select the vehicle you want. Car rental companies offer various classes of vehicles from basic models to luxury vehicles. Be warned: you’re never sure what to expect when rental companies list on their web sites, that, for example a B Class car is similar to a VW Polo hatch — similar is a very vague word. You may end up renting a car that’s not even close to what you had in mind, but is still categorised in the same class. Book a class of vehicle that will meet your budget and needs, but especially your space requirements. If you need to fit four passengers and their suitcases into a rented car, then a Ford Figo is probably not your best bet.
- Duration: Decide how long you’ll need the car. Cars are rented in 24 hour cycles so if you collect the vehicle at 9m and rent it for two days but go over 48 hours, thus returning it after 9am two days later, you automatically pay for another day. Plan your collection and drop-off times carefully.
- Fine Print: Make sure you understand the rental contract and the waivers as they can reduce your liability radically if you are involved in an accident or if the vehicle is stolen. Also ensure that you understand how many kilometres are included in your contract. This is typically 200km per day’s rental which means if you exceed this, you will be liable for an additional charge per kilometre.
- License and Money: You must have a valid drivers’ licence and the same credit card you used to book the car online with you when picking up the vehicle. You must also have enough money available on your card as the rental companies will put a hold on your card for your rental fees and a bit extra in case of unexpected contingencies. This could put a dent in your holiday spending if you are not aware of this practice.
- Check the car: This is very important! Check, check and check again before driving off with your rental because if existing damage such as chips, scratches and dents are not noted before you leave, you will be charged for them.
- Returns: When returning the vehicle it’s wise to return it with a full tank of fuel to avoid any possible refuelling charges the rental company could impose — which can be higher than if you do it yourself.
- Check your card: Once you are home, make sure to check that the correct amount has been deducted from your credit card and the hold has been lifted. If there is a discrepency, contact the rental office immediately.