Best tips for those who want to rent their first car

What happens if the car is damaged, stolen, or in an accident?

If the car is stolen or has been involved in an accident, first call the local police or appropriate law enforcement agency. Next, call the nearest office of the rental car company, give them your rental agreement or confirmation number and explain what has happened. You’ll be led through the procedure to get you going again. Finally, call your own auto insurance company with information on the incident. Be sure to check with the rental company on their breakdown policy before you drive away.

Accidents and vehicle theft aren’t something we like to think about, especially on a trip, but they can happen even to the most careful driver. Optional waivers (as outlined above) can be purchased to reduce or eliminate your financial exposure which could include the full value of the vehicle and lost rental revenue during its replacement period.

Be careful not to violate your car rental agreement by driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, allowing an unauthorized personal to drive the vehicle, leaving the windows, doors or trunk unlocked, or leaving the keys in the ignition when parked. If the agreement if violated, it makes the waiver void. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

Remember that, as the renter, you are liable for all parking and moving traffic violations, both domestic and international, so please drive safely and observe all ordinances – says Elite Auto Rent – car rental in Poland [source >>].

Aside from the base rate, what other additional charges should I check on?

Additional charges to your daily rental rate may include company imposed surcharges or city and state imposed taxes that are in addition to sales tax. Increasingly, city and state governments are taxing car rental customers so they can pay for sports stadiums in their cities without having to ask local residents for the money. Their rationale? Car rental customers generally don’t vote locally!


The number of people you anticipate driving the car can also impact your cost. At most car rentals locations, there is no additional charge for spouses, however, there there may be a daily charge for any other individuals who are listed on the contract as additional renters. The ages of the driver can increase the cost as well. Most car rental companies impose a daily fee for each driver ages 21-25.

Should I bring a child seat with me or will the rental location furnish one?

The decision is yours. All counties and several countries require children under a certain age to be secured in child seats. You can save time at check-in by placing a request for your child seat when you make an advance reservation. A few new vehicles, like the Chrysler minivan available through car rentals, have child seats built in. You should know that child seats are not items we can guarantee, however, so please make your decision accordingly.

Will there be a deposit taken on my credit card, and if so, how much?

Most car rental companies will take a deposit on your credit card at the time of pick up. The deposit may vary from location to location, but generally it is the estimated rental charges plus 15%. Some companies are changing their procedures to match the procedures at other retail establishments. Instead of taking a deposit, they will go ahead and charge the estimated cost of the rental onto your card. Should the car be returned earlier than originally agreed, a credit for the unused portion is issued upon return.

Since I will be traveling internationally, are there any special foreign travel considerations?

When making reservations, check on policies regarding crossing foreign borders in a rental car. Find out if your insurance company either limits the coverage amount or refuses coverage on international rentals. If you’re planning on using the Collision Damage Waiver provided by your credit card company, be sure to check if they will provide it to you on an international rental. Many won’t. Another tip for foreign travelers is to confirm which country’s currency your rate is being guaranteed in and what credit cards will generally be accepted locally for gasoline and other purchases.