Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rental Cars For Less

Ah, summertime! Our thoughts turn to travel and vacations. And if you're like many Americans, some of that time will be spent behind the wheel of a rental car. We'll spend about $16 billion this year for rented wheels. So let's take a look at how to get the best deal on rental cars.

First the basics. To rent a car you'll need to be over 25 years of age, have a valid driver's license and credit card. Many rental companies will also check your driving record. If you've had a problem with accidents, tickets or driving while intoxicated you might not be able to rent a car. Next, you'll need to decide how big a car you'll need. Remember that a "mid-size" isn't the same at all rental companies. Ask which specific models are included in a class. Make sure that you'd be reasonably happy with any of the models in that class. In most cases you won't get a guarantee of a specific make and model.

You'll be offered optional insurance. You can buy collision damage waiver (CDW), liability insurance and coverage for your personal items in the car. Your current auto or homeowner's policies may already cover these risks. If they do you don't need any additional insurance. Even if your auto policy doesn't cover rental cars, it's possible that your credit card does. Some provide coverage if you use the card to charge ...

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