How to Choose the Car Rental Add-Ons You Really Need
You never want to embark on a road trip without all necessary safety precautions in place, but you also don’t want to double your rental car bill for the sake of unnecessary add-ons. While you can offset the cost with car rental coupons, here’s how to pick and choose the add-ons you truly need.
Even when it comes to cheap car rentals, if the vehicle is damaged, you’ll need to reimburse the company for repairs, as well as loss of revenue while the car was being serviced. The collision/loss waiver offered by the rental company is the most expensive option, but if the car is damaged, you can't bring it back to the rental agency and walk away from the problem. To watch your budget, here are a few less expensive options:
• Have the rental company place a hold on your credit card. You’ll need to pay immediately for estimated repair and loss costs.
• Use your own auto insurance. Rental coverage may only be applicable in the U.S. You won’t have to pay for damages, but your premium could go up.
• Credit cards often have free collision coverage that will go into effect after your insurance pays.
Anyone who knows a good car rental deal when they see one also knows that the extra driver charge is a rip-off. You could be charged $10 per day - more if the extra driver is under 25 years old - which may be more than the daily base price for the cheapest car rentals. Unless you’re going on a long road trip, the convenience of having somebody drive isn’t worth the added cost. Some rental agencies will waive the fee for spouses or work colleagues, or if you’re a member of an organization like AAA or AARP. Ask about loyalty program perks, too.
Adding GPS to your rental can cost up to $100 per week. You’re better off using your own GPS device or smartphone. If the car has bluetooth, you can play your phone’s GPS through the speakers.
You could pay as much as $100 per week for a car seat add-on. Depending on the duration of your trip, it could be more cost-effective to use your own car seat or even purchase one when you reach your destination.