Things You Should Know When Renting a Car – During & After Covid

1. 24 Hour Rental Car Return and Pick up – is a thing of the past. Do not expect that if Google or online states 24/7 – it actually is. Do your due diligence and make a call prior to your trip to double check hours.

This weekend – had a rental car to be returned at Budget across from LGA – online stated 24/7 and at 4 am when we went to drop off the car – the location was closed with a Budget shuttle blocking the drive. We had a 6:15 am flight and could not return the car .. we called Budget customer service (could not help), looked at two Budget sites near the airport to see if a drop was possible, went to the airport for help, and spoke with the police.. and the two options were: 1. Drive to Ohio (where we live) or change the flight to later (meaning arriving home 18 hours later at the earliest. We opted to drive home.

2. One way will cost ya.

We had a reservation that was one way – Manchester, NH to LGA and then added on the additional one way from LGA to Ohio. In our case, the one way was important to get home. The drive was about 8 hours and my mom is a rockstar who loves to drive.

3. When a rental car offers extra coverage based on environment – pay attention and most likely add it especially if they tell you, this is excluded in your plan.

In Iceland, I was asked if I wanted ice, rock, and wind coverage and I was like – insurance coverage this — right? They were like no, we advise you add this. In my personal experiences, I did not have to use it, however, I did witness a car without a door (in 35 degree temps with a door in the trunk) – we saw them at a few stops and asked what happened – a wind gust came as one of them opened the door and ripped it completely off. Another person we saw had a very dented passenger side where someone lost control of their door and destroyed the car – unfortunately the person did not stop or let them know and they did. It have coverage

4. When out of the country, buy full coverage insurance

Insurance is great and many times a credit card or your personal coverage is sufficient however when traveling abroad, sorting out an accident and getting authorization for payment can be a problem esp with time changes and documentation. Save yourself some time and buy a full coverage package where if you have an accident- you can leave the country assuming all legal paperwork is done and no one was injured.

5. Do not do prepaid gasoline return.

Just fill up when your return the car. It will be cheaper and you can price shop. Check gas and avoid gas stations right near the airport – they will be higher

6. Look over the car especially if you do not have a full coverage policy from the rental car agency. Check dents, scratches, windshield dings, and anything you may get charged for.

The smallest of things can cost you a lot. Years ago, I returned a car and the representative said I damaged the car – thankfully I kept the paper with the marks I drew and it was logged into the computer – I was able to prove it was an issue before me.

7. Rental Cars across borders. Do your due diligence and find out whether or not your car can go to surrounding countries. If you do cross a border without proper authorization, paperwork, you can void the rental agreement, insurance, etc.

We rented in a car in Chile and were told that it could not go into Argentina. We ended up going with a tour coming into Argentina and kept the car just in Chile. It was a one day trip that was planned but we heard stories about cars that went into Argentina and would not be released back.

8. Know the car details

This seems like a no-brainer but pay attention to Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full-Size, Premium, Luxury, Small SUV, Large SUV, a variety of vans, and more. To choose the right car for your needs, know how many passengers and bags it can comfortably carry, features like power windows and the entertainment system, and, most importantly, whether it’s an automatic or standard transmission. While in Mallorca, rented a car with automatic chosen and at arrival, only had standard- thankfully one of us could drive manual (it was not me!) The same thing happened in Tahiti so make sure you plan accordingly.

Enjoy your travels!




A travel, home, & lifestyle blog written by Heidi Stevenson. Follow along for affordable ways to travel, sophisticated and savvy style, expensive looks for less for the home, and everyday style



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