Staying Organized: Your
Pre-Car Rental Checklist
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Staying Organized: Your Pre-Car Rental Checklist

Excited about a car rental deal? There are a lot of things to get in order before embarking on your trip. The following “To Do” items will guide you through getting insurance and safety information, talking to the rental agent, and making sure the car is up to par before driving off. Don’t forget to turn in those car rental coupons, too!

 Before Leaving Home

Speak with your car insurance provider to find out what type of coverage you have for rentals, if any. Then, check with your road service provider to find out if they’ll respond to service calls regarding a rental. Also, put a small flashlight in your bag. If something happens with your rental at night, you won’t be trying to troubleshoot in the dark.

At the Rental Counter

Find out what type of service the rental agency offers if there’s a problem with the rental, like if the car breaks down or if you lose the key. Write down the agency’s contact information and emergency numbers. Ask about any car rental discounts that you may qualify for.

Before Driving Off

Never leave the lot with the rental car before doing the following checklist items. Even the cheapest car rentals should keep you safe while traveling.

• Walk around the car to check for damage. Make sure that the agent writes down any points of damage on the car. If you notice something that they miss, don’t be afraid to point it out. Take photos of the damage, too. 

• Double-check that the license plates match the paperwork. 

• Make sure that the tires are properly inflated and that they have good tread. 

• Check the odometer and write down the mileage. Check the paperwork to make sure that the odometer matches the mileage on the paperwork.

• Make sure that the headlights, break lights, and blinkers work. 

• Use the windshield spray to make sure that it’s filled and that the wipers work. 

• Check the glove box for an owner’s manual.

• Inspect the trunk and make sure there’s a jack, lug wrench, and spare tire. 

• Look under the hood and check fluid levels. 

• Adjust the driver’s seat and mirrors. Even cheap car rentals should be comfortable!


When renting a car, you can’t be too thorough. Instead of rushing through the rental process, take your time to make sure everything is as it’s supposed to be.

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