Most of the time, your car is sufficient for your family. When you drive from home to work, back home, then take the kids to soccer and ballet, you don't need anything else. However, there are times when you need to rent something more:

  • Perhaps you're traveling for business or pleasure or maybe you need to haul something home in a pick-up truck.
  • Maybe you've got a special occasion and you want to drive a nicer car to it.
  • Maybe your car is in the shop and you need another car to get around.
  • Or maybe you've got a road trip that requires more space than you have.

For these reasons and more, renting a car is a convenient option. But it can also be an expensive option!

A single day can cost $50, $100, even $200 after you add up all of the additional fees and charges. To help you save money, here are 4 tips to help you save money when renting:

Tip # 1. Don't get hurt on mileage.

Some car rental companies give you unlimited miles when you rent the car while other companies give you only a small number of miles for free and charge you extra if you drive farther than that. Always ask before renting because a great deal might turn into a bad deal very quickly if you have to pay for more miles than you were expecting. Shop around if you have to because some rental companies provide unlimited mileage and others do not.

Tip #2. Make sure you're covered.

Car rental companies charge a lot for their insurance coverage packages. Sometimes they're good to have but sometimes they're not. Before you rent, check with your normal car insurance provider to see if they have an extra rider you can buy on your regular car insurance, and check with your credit card provider to see what they cover. Compare all the details – from how much coverage you get to how much of a deductible you have to pay.

Tip #3. Ask for all extra fees to be explained clearly.

To appear competitive, car rental companies each promise a low daily rate on the car. But what they don't tell you is that there are additional charges for extra drivers, for not filling up the car with gas, for dropping off the car at a different location, or a number of other fees. The best thing to do is to take your time at the car rental counter going over your contract in detail. And, consider some worst-case scenarios, by asking what would happen if you brought the car back a day late or without a full tank of gas.

Tip #4. Shop around.

The car rental industry is extremely competitive and each company tries to out-do the other with the lowest advertised rates. Get 2 or 3 quotes then call them back and ask if they'll beat the lowest quote you have. Chances are, they just might!

There are a lot of car rental company choices out there so when you need a car that is different than the one you normally drive, you have plenty of options to choose from. But if you're not careful, the convenience of a rented car can suddenly turn into an inconvenient extra expense. Armed with this knowledge, you can save money when you rent.

Save money when renting a car(110920)Credit: