Frequently when travelers book a rental car, they will budget the daily rental cost of the car in their travel budget; however, there are plenty of other costs that could arise during your rental period, and you don't want to be surprised by those additional costs when you are returning your car. Here are a few expenses that you may need to add to your budget the next time you rent a car.
1) Taxes and Fees
If you are renting your car from an airport location, it is important to note that airport rental centers typically have taxes and surcharges that are unique to the location, and are charged by the local authority that manages the airport. In addition, there are some states like Texas and Florida that do not have a state income tax and typically make up for it by higher tax rates on travel like car rentals or hotel rooms. The combination of these taxes and surcharges can add a whopping 70% to your final car rental bill. When you are budgeting for your daily car rental allowance, make sure that you are familiar with the additional charges, as rental companies will typically only provide you an estimated cost per day that is just based on the car cost.
2) Gas Charges
Rental companies will always give you the option to allow them to fill up your car when you return it. This is a great convenience to you, especially if you are concerned about timing on making a flight. The problem is that this convenience comes at a hefty expense. Typically, car rental companies charge a higher per gallon price for gas than you would pay at a nearby gas station. In addition, most companies offer a variety of fueling options that would have you buying more gallons of gas than you actually used while you were driving the car. When you are at the rental counter, make sure that you understand each option to determine if the cost and convenience fits within your budget. Also ask the representative about the location of the nearest gas station. Many airport gas stations locations are close enough that even if you have a tight timeline, you can still refuel before returning your car with time to spare.
Before your next car rental, check with your current providers to make sure that you will have insurance coverage while driving a rental car. If you already have auto insurance, most policies will cover you even if you are driving in a car not currently covered by your insurance company. Also, some credit card companies will provide secondary car insurance on rental cars as long as you booked the car using the credit card and it's your name on the rental agreement. Including the rental insurance provided by the car rental company to your car could add up to 25% more to your bill per day, so it makes sense to do some research before you opt for the insurance.
Car rental companies typically offer a number of extras to the cars to help make your trip easier and more convenient. Before you think about adding these, research some alternatives to save money. Do you like to add GPS to your rental car? If you have a smart phone, there are a number of free GPS apps that you can utilize instead and save the daily GPS charge. Do you need a car seat for your child? It is a nuisance if you have to pay to check your child's car seat and it may be tempting to add it on to your car rental; however, by the time you pay the daily charge for the car seat, depending on the length of your rental, you would have been better off checking your child's car seat on the plane.
The next time you rent a car, remember to budget for all of the potential additional costs that may arise during your rental period, extras, taxes and surcharges could more than double your estimated cost for the car, and you do not want to be caught off guard by these costs.