The Essential Rental Car Checklist: What to Know Before Booking

If you're in the market for a rental car, it's important to know what to look out for before you book. Not all rental companies are created equal, and some charge hidden fees that can add up quickly. In this blog post, we'll outline the essential items to check off your list before booking your rental car. By knowing what to do prior to booking, you can get the best rental car without any hidden surprises.

Price Points: Understand Costs

If you’re like most consumers, then price and cost would be among your biggest considerations when renting a car. Whether you're planning a weekend getaway or just need a car for a few days after an accident, understanding what rental costs entail can save both time and money.

So before booking, you should always take the time to research different rental companies and compare their rates. Factor in hidden fees associated with renting such as taxes or any additional surcharges that may apply to certain areas. Keep in mind that many rental companies charge additional fees or taxes, such as airport taxes and fuel costs. Be sure to read the fine print and ask.

Many popular brands offer discounts or other promotions that can save you money in the long run. Sometimes, it is possible to find a better deal by booking in advance or during off-peak times. You may be able to save more money when you plan your rental car trips ahead and take advantage of seasonal promos. 

Finally, remember that the cheapest option is not always the best option. Don’t just jump the trigger at the lowest price you see - it could mean inferior service or missing important amenities that could ruin your driving experience. Carefully weigh your options not just based on price but on other needs - read on!

Vehicle Type: Know Your Needs

Once you have narrowed down your options, establish what type of vehicle best suits your needs.

Different vehicle types offer different features and benefits, and you should take the time to research each one so that you can make an informed decision. For example, if you plan on driving long distances, a larger car with more cargo space may be the better choice.

On the other hand, if you’re in an urban area and are looking for a quick and easy way to get around town, then a smaller car might be a better option. It’s also important to consider comfort levels when choosing a vehicle. 

Make sure that you check if the rental car company has the type of car that you need in stock. Also, see if they charge extra for larger vehicles so you don’t end up blowing your budget.

Amenities: What's Included?

For renters of a car, understanding the amenities included in their rental can make for a seamless and stress-free experience. 

Most rentals include basic items such as air conditioning, power steering, automatic transmission, and radio/CD player. Additional options may include GPS navigation technology and satellite radio subscriptions. For those traveling with small children, baby seats may also be available upon request. Some companies even offer free Wi-Fi service to passengers during their rides. 

While basic amenities may be free, additional options often are not. Shop around for the best deals for more comprehensive packages that include additional services such as roadside assistance, satellite navigation systems, and even insurance.


Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your rental agreement carefully so that you understand all amenities included in your package before signing off on it. Doing this will help ensure an enjoyable rental experience while avoiding any unexpected surprises down the road!

Policies: Check for Hidden Fees

We’ve said it before, but we can’t say it enough: check the rental company's policies and fees before booking. 

Some companies charge extra for things like GPS navigation systems, while others include them in the price of the rental. It is also essential to determine if the company charges extra for insurance or mileage. Most companies have a standard rate for insurance, but some may charge more depending on the type of car being rented. Mileage fees can vary greatly from company to company, so it is important to compare rates before booking.

Pickup & Drop off: Where to Go

Knowing where you can pick up and drop off your rental car is such a small detail but it’s an important piece of information if you want a hassle-free experience. Most rental companies will require that you pick up the vehicle directly from its designated location, though some may offer an option for delivery to your hotel or other destination. 

There are, however, rental companies that have very specific rules you should be aware of. For instance, Allianz and RoamRight both do not allow renters to drive cars near where they live. They require a renter to drive a car/pick it up at least 100 miles from their home, but they hide this on their website.

So you need to plan ahead to learn exactly where and when you need to be at the pick-up location to avoid any potential issues. Be sure to read the rental agreement carefully and follow all pickup and drop-off instructions for a smooth transaction.

Reviews: Read the Feedback

These days, there’s no shortage of reviews describing other people’s experiences with rental car companies. Reading these reviews can give you helpful insight into the service and quality of a rental car business. 

Knowing what past customers thought about their experience can be extremely valuable in helping you make an informed decision when looking for a reliable place to rent from. Reviews often provide key details such as cost, customer service, vehicle selection, and condition, as well as overall experiences that other people have had with the company. Taking time to read these reviews will arm you with knowledge so that you're better informed when choosing a rental car business that meets your needs.

Also, always make sure to check for hidden fees and extra costs when reading rental reviews. Some companies may advertise low prices, but they often have additional charges that are not mentioned in their advertisements which can add up quickly. Make sure to read the fine print and ask questions to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.

Insurance: Get Covered

Last but not the least, consider the insurance coverage that you’ll need. Rental car insurance 

Protects you from costs associated with accidents and other unexpected issues that may arise. Some rental companies include basic insurance in the price of the rental, but others may require additional coverage for an additional fee.

It is also important to consider the coverage you may already have. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance as a benefit, so be sure to check with your credit card provider before purchasing additional coverage from the rental company. If you want a cheaper option, check out our rental car insurance options!

Make the Right Rental Choice

Choosing the right rental car can be a daunting task, but with careful research and preparation, it is possible to make an informed decision. From considering vehicle size and amenities to researching reviews and understanding insurance policies, there are many factors that you should consider before booking your rental car. 

Taking these steps will help ensure that you have a positive experience when renting a vehicle for whatever purpose may arise. Make sure to compare rates from different companies so that you get the best deal available, as well as read all of their terms and conditions carefully in order to avoid any hidden fees or extra costs down the line. With this knowledge, you'll be able to rent a car confidently knowing that you're making an educated choice!