Car Rental Tips from AAA & Hertz

While renting a car is relatively straightforward, the first time or non-frequent renter inevitably will come across some parts of the process that may be confusing.  In order to prevent this, Hertz strongly recommends that renters do a bit of homework prior to reserving and subsequently renting a car to make their time on the road as fast and easy as possible.  Things to consider:


  • Be sure to select the vehicle that fits your needs. Don’t get so focused on price that you end up with a compact car for 4 passengers and 4 pieces of luggage.  Reserve what you really need.
  • Ask about discounts for national organizations, frequent-flier programs and credit card programs.
  • For airport rentals, include your flight number, airline carrier and scheduled arrival time when booking your car. This can protect your reservation if the flight is delayed.
  • Understand rental conditions. Is there a penalty for no-shows? How much are you charged for late returns? Is there an additional driver fee and does the name have to be on the contract?
  • Make sure you understand and meet the rental qualifications.  For example, the renter has a valid driver’s license and valid form of payment (i.e. credit card) in the same name.


  • Find out from your car insurance company if your policy protects you when renting.  Are you protected if the car is in an accident, stolen or vandalized?  Some credit cards provide some coverage if the card is used to pay for the rental.  Verify the extent of the coverage with the company.  The coverage may be secondary, restricted to certain cars, or applicable to rentals under a maximum number of days.  If your insurance policy or credit card does not offer sufficient coverage, you should consider choosing the Loss Damage Waiver and other optional services to ensure you have some protection against unexpected incidents.
  • Check if your homeowner’s policy protects your personal belongings while in a rental, and determine if your medical coverage is sufficient to protect you if you were in an accident.  If not, you probably should consider accepting the Personal Effects Coverage and Personal Accident Insurance offered at the rental counter.



  • Inspect the car carefully with the rental representative. Check the mileage odometer and fuel level. Make sure damage is recorded and the mileage and fuel level are accurately noted. Be sure lights and turn signals are working properly.



  • Allow ample time when returning rental cars.  Keep in mind that slow local traffic conditions, an unexpected delay or refueling can result in unexpected delays.  In addition, airline security adds time to the check-in process. To alleviate time constraints, confirm with the airport to determine what procedures are in place and the estimated time you should allocate for these procedures.
  • Remember to fill up the gas tank before returning the car.  Filling up the car will save the cost of refueling charge.  Some companies offer a fuel purchase option where customers buy a full tank of gas up front and pay nothing for fuel upon return, saving time.  Check with your rental company.



  • Understand the Rental Conditions:  Is there a penalty for no-shows? How much are you charged if the car is returned late? Is there a fee for additional drivers and do their names have to be listed in the contract?
  • Rental Timing:  Determine how long you need a rental – sometimes a weekly rate can provide savings vs. shorter rentals. Also, consider pick-up dates for the car – sometimes weekday rates can provide cost savings. Hence, try a number of combinations when selecting your rental period.

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