2. Read Your Contract
One of the big complaints customers voice is receiving surcharges. Rental car companies aren’t “out to get you”, but they are in the business of protecting themselves. Their surcharges are designed to cover the extra costs of filling empty gas tanks, repairing damage, or replacing convertible tops you left balled in the back of the vehicle. If you read no further than this paragraph, we hope you will follow this one piece of advice: Familiarize yourself with your rental contract.
By simply honoring the conditions of your contract, you’ll save yourself headaches later. Be honest about the ages of young drivers. If you plan to have additional drivers, list them. Rental companies are understanding with regard to small parking lot door dings, but if you cause damage by backing into the lava, tell them. If you plan to pick up and drop off your vehicle in different locations, know whether “drop charges” apply for this. Unless unavoidable, plan to return your vehicle with a full tank of gas. In Hilo, Costco members can take advantage of a gas station very close to the airport. If you rent a Jeep with a removable top, return it as you found it.
3. Know When to Return Your Vehicle
Rental vehicles are leased out in 24 Hour time increments. If you rent your car at 10 a.m. you should return it by 10 a.m to avoid additional charges. Most rental companies allow a grace period of 59 minutes- but check to make sure that’s true for your individual rental. In reading your contract, you may discover that by arriving only 3 hours late you can incur an entire day’s charges.
4. Accidents or Break-downs
Additionally, by reading your contract before you drive, you will be familiar with the actions needed should your vehicle be involved in an accident or a break-down. You’ll know who to call for road-side assistance. The information for filing necessary accident reports will all be explained in your contract.
5. Base Rate vs Total Cost
When you rent your vehicle online, you should readily see the base rate you will be charged. Just as important is to know the actual cost of your rental per day. Of course, there will be unavoidable local surcharges and taxes. Be aware of how much they will add to the total cost of your rental.
On this website, AlohaRents.com, your reservation will include all taxes and surcharges, except for 1st-come-1st-serve extras (arranged at pickup) such as Child Seats.