Getting something that widens your driving experience, whether that’s an SUV or sleek sports car, can make a weekend away a real excitement.
However, as fun and enjoyable as a temporary new vehicle can be, there are a few things you must do before you drive that rental car out of the car park and onto the road.
If you are under 25 you may have to check in advance if the car you want is available for you.
While most rental companies will offer cars to anyone over 18, there are a number of vehicles which may come with additional conditions for the younger driver (or simply not be available). You may need to take someone older with you to fulfil the contract.
Take your driving licence with you. You cannot rent any car without a valid driving license and ‘I left it at home’ is not going to get you moving.
Make sure your driving license is kept up-to-date and have it on you when you go to pick up your rental car.
You will also need to pay in advance, and often with a sizeable deposit, so make sure you have available spare funds in your bank account.
You will get any deposit back at the end of the rental, but the extra money has to be free during the rental period.
When you rent a car, you will need to be insured. Any larger company will have their own insurance which is included in the cost of the rental, but there are extras which you may want to consider.
If your current insurance covers you for rentals then you may be able to use that, and if you are renting a car privately it will be essential.
Contact your insurance company to be fully aware of your cover.
If you do not have insurance and the rental company does not offer it, then do some online research to find the cheapest temporary car insurance available.
Make sure you check any small print, including mileage limits, insurance excess, fuel levels and extra charges for interior or exterior cleaning.
As long as you know the places the rental company might catch you out for a penalty, it is easy to avoid, but if you don’t, it could end up costing way above your budget.
And while it may be unnecessary to say – avoid damaging the vehicle. Insurance excesses are likely to be exceptionally high, especially if you are seen to be at fault in any collision, even a very minor one.
Once you have made your final decision to book a car, and you have investigated and sorted the insurance, you will have to pick up the vehicle.
Make sure you can get to the pick-up point at the time arranged, which may mean finding a cheap car park for your own vehicle while you have the rental one, or looking into public transport options to and from the rental agency.
Finally, enjoy the trip! Treat your rental car with respect and have an exciting time away.