How to get the best deal when rent­ing a car

Seaway News - - AUTO TALK -

(NC)-Think­ing about rent­ing a car? Sum­mer is peak travel sea­son in Canada, and with a lit­tle plan­ning it's easy to avoid the line­ups, get a great deal and have an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence when you rent a car.

Book in ad­vance

One of the big­gest mis­takes peo­ple make is wait­ing for the last minute to rent a car. Mak­ing a reser­va­tion two weeks in ad­vance will im­prove your chance of get­ting a bet­ter rate.

Shop around

Com­pare rental car rates by vis­it­ing the Web sites of the com­pa­nies in your com­mu­nity. Most agen­cies take reser­va­tions over the In­ter­net - and many of­fer pre­ferred rates. It's also a good idea to make a few calls be­fore you rent. Some­times the best deals are of­fered at cer­tain lo­ca­tions only. For ex­am­ple, En­ter­prise Rent-A-Car of­fers week­end dis­counts - some­times up to 50% off - at par­tic­i­pat­ing lo­ca­tions across the coun­try.

Cus­tomer ser­vice

Im­por­tant ques­tions to ask are: how quickly can I ob­tain my rental car? What are the hours of op­er­a­tion and avail­abil­ity of emer­gency road ser­vice? Can you pick me up?

" The level of ser­vice is very im­por­tant when you are rent­ing a car - and can even end up sav­ing you money," says Tony Moise, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of En­ter­prise Rent-A-Car's Cana­dian op­er­a­tions. " At En­ter­prise, we will pick you up and drop you off for free - which saves our cus­tomers the ex­tra cab fare, and has­sle of get­ting to and from the rental of­fice."

Con­firm your in­sur­ance cov­er­age

An ed­u­cated con­sumer is the best con­sumer - check out the in­sur­ance cov­er­age on your credit card as it may cover you when rent­ing a ve­hi­cle. Car rental com­pa­nies al­most al­ways of­fer col­li­sion dam­age waiver, sup­ple­men­tal li­a­bil­ity pro­tec­tion, per­sonal ac­ci­dent in­sur­ance and, in some lo­ca­tions, per­sonal ef­fects cov­er­age.

In­spect the ve­hi­cle

Make sure to check the ve­hi­cle be­fore you leave the lot. For ex­am­ple, En­ter­prise Rent-A-Car em­ploy­ees al­ways walk cus­tomers around the car to care­fully doc­u­ment any dam­age be­fore hand­ing over the keys. Make sure you in­sist on the same in­spec­tion, wher­ever you go.

Fill ' er up

Your best op­tion to save money on gas is to fill up the tank your­self be­fore re­turn­ing it. Rental car com­pa­nies will charge a pre­mium to fill up the tank if re­turned with less fuel than you started with.

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