Drivers are always looking for good deals and affordable rates. Rental rates often seem somewhat mysterious. Myriad factors are included in the rate calculation used by car rental companies. The more you know about the different rate factors, the better prepared you are to negotiate with your current rental agency or simply find a new one that offers more competitive rates.
You will be assessed a fee when you reserve your rental. If you are unable to follow-through on your reservation, you may still be required to pay this fee which will be charged to the credit card you used to make the reservation. Some agencies drop the fee if you honor your reservation while others add it to your bill.
Each rental company calculates their fees differently. Some base rates on distance traveled while other rental vehicles by the hour. Fuel expenses may or may not be included in the fee structure. If you plan to drive in areas deemed to be high-risk by the rental agency, you will have higher rates.
Taxes and Surcharges
Added to your rental fees, these can be the hardest to understand. You may have multiple taxes depending on the particular rental agency as well as its location. Even if you ask for clarification, the counter representative may not be able to fully explain the surcharges. Do not accept a vague response. If they do not know why a particular charge is included, ask them to remove it.
Rental Insurance Costs
Not all renters buy the additional insurance offered by car rental companies. Those that do will have that added to their rental cost. Not everyone needs to purchase rental insurance. If you already have this included in your regular car insurance policy, it is not necessary to also purchase it from the rental agency.
Vehicle Damage Fees
What happens if you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car? Who is responsible for the damages? You need to know this before signing a rental contract because if the car is stolen or damaged and you are held responsible, it can cost you.
These are the last to be applied during the rate calculation. You might get discounts because you belong to AAA or another membership organization. Special offers may be given by car rental companies during slow rental times to encourage drivers to rent from them.