Car Rentals Tips From a Traveling Journalist Part III

Category: News. Written by Cara Capuano 

Sometimes we forget the basic common sense and/or courtesy rules when we’re in the happy haze of being away from home. Remembering what your parents drilled into when you first got your license, can save you from car rental hell.

YOU BREAK, YOU BUY!
The saying “if you break it, you buy it” is just as true with a rental car as it is with an overpriced piece of porcelain at an antique store. If you sideswipe a parking pylon, there’s a pretty decent chance the folks who run your rental facility will know about it… whether you elect to tell them at turn-in or not. HOWEVER – I’m not here to talk about your own mistakes and/or karmic choices.
There is NOTHING worse in life than paying for something you are not at fault for –I’ve been burned, don’t let it happen to you! Listen, I know your flight was late, the line at the counter was cued to infinity and beyond, and you needed to be somewhere an hour ago. But I implore you: TAKE FIVE MINUTES TO INSPECT YOUR VEHICLE ANYWAY.
Check both inside AND out and let someone know, before you leave the lot, if you’ve found anything out of sorts. A quick walk around and writing down any significant dings in the shell or tears in the upholstery can save you both the money they’ll want for the repair and the valuable time you’d spend dealing with the issue when they try to blame you for returning a roughed-up ride.

CHECK TWICE BEFORE SIGNING ON THE DOTTED LINE
I’m not going to advise you on whether you need supplemental insurance for your rental vehicle. You should already know if your personal auto policy covers damage to rental cars (if you don’t, call your insurance company right now – it’s a valuable piece of information!)
What I want to warn you AGAINST is being charged an extra insurance fee you didn’t mean to approve in the first place. A dear colleague of mine got robbed to the tune of over a thousand dollars (!!!) last year at spring training when he didn’t realize that he was being charged an extra $15/day for insurance he didn’t need nor request for a rental he used for about two months.
Needless to say, his company was nonplussed when he submitted the expense invoice… at least it didn’t come out of his pocket, but don’t let it come out of yours!

BELONGINGS BELONG OUT OF SIGHT
This is simple: you wouldn’t leave a laptop sitting out on the passenger seat of your own car, begging someone to break your window and walk off with it, right? Well, what is more inviting to someone who breaks into cars than a piece of luggage? It’s like a veritable “mystery grab bag” of goodies that some thieves can’t resist, so YOU MUST place your items out of sight and out of harm’s way.
In the trunk, under a seat, in the glove box – storage spots are ample in newer model vehicles and it’s up to you to take advantage of them, so that you’re not taken advantage of by someone else.

Cara Capuano has worked in television, mainly in sports, for over a decade, spending the last four years covering the Northwest Sports Scene for Fox Sports NW and before that on ESPN News. A dedicated storyteller, from time to time she’ll be lending some “female perspective” to SeattleAuto.net.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Car Rentals Tips From a Traveling Journalist Part III”

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