If you’re flying to a different state or different country, you may need a rental car to get around the area, and if you’ve never rented a car before, the idea could be intimidating. That’s why our Philadelphia Airport long-term parking company decided to put together a short “what you need to know” piece about car rentals:
Many car companies require the renter to be at least 25 years of age, however, some allow renters to be 21. Pay attention to the rules, however – if a driver is under a certain age, he/she may be charged a daily fee. This goes for any additional drivers as well.
In order to rent a car, you’ll usually need your driver’s license, a passport (if renting a car in another country), and a major credit card, such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard, etc. Sometimes, an International Driving Permit may also be required.
When it comes to your driving record, some rental companies will perform a background check to make sure it’s clean. Depending on the company and situation, you may not be allowed to rent a car if your license is suspended or revoked, you’ve had a recent DUI/DWI, you’ve been in an unreported accident, and/or other driving incidents.
Many car companies require a deposit in addition to your total charge. This is to make sure that nothing goes wrong during the time you have the car, and should be returned to you at the end of your reservation. Depending on the company, this deposit can be anywhere from $100 to $200 to a certain percentage of the total charge.
Additional Driver: If you plan on having one or more other people drive the car, you may be charged a fee.
Airport: Picking your car up at the airport may come with a fee, since car rental companies have to pay a fee in order to operate near the airport.
Refueling: If you return your rental car with less gas than you’re supposed to, you may be charged a refueling fee.
Early/Late: While returning a car late is a common fee, you may also get hit with a fee if you return your car early.
Vehicle Licensing: Usually found in Europe, you may get hit with a daily VLF or Road Tax, which is the rental company’s way of passing on the cost of vehicle permits and taxes to you.
Damages: When you get your car, list all of the visible damages to it. If you return it and the company finds additional damages, you may have to pay a fee.
Cancellation: Some companies charge a cancellation fee if you don’t cancel your reservation within a certain time period.
Cleaning: If you return a car that a rental company considers dirty, they may charge you with a cleaning fee to clean it for the next renter.
If you end up in an accident with your rental car, call the police and file an accident report. You may also have to file an accident report through the rental company. If you purchased the company’s insurance policy, the process should be complete. If you didn’t purchase the company’s insurance policy, you’ll have to contact your personal auto insurance company and work out the details.