Rental car budget tips

Whether you're taking a vacation, visiting a friend or relative, or need a car for a few days to run errands, the car rental process can be expensive without a bit of savvy and budgeting. Whether or not you have your own car, renting a vehicle does not have to break the bank. Here are a few tips for budgeting and saving money on your rental car:

Forego luxury models
Car rental costs will largely depend on what type of car you decide to take. Of course, the vehicle you decide to rent will likely be influenced on how you intend to use it. If you have small children, you might want to ask for a rental with the highest safety ratings or additional features like a DVD player and screen. If you're heading out on a camping or fishing trip with a lot of additional gear, you may be in need of a vehicle with more space or four-wheel drive and all-terrain features. To save the most on your rental, however, you should ditch high-end models in favor of cars with basic features and functions.

Seek out discounts
There are ways to reduce the cost of your car rental through discounts. When you are booking a rental car, whether online or at a rental car company, be sure to look for potential discounts and don't be afraid to ask about discounts or coupons. If you're booking over the Web, search for coupon codes that can take a portion off your total cost. You might also be eligible for a discount if you are a frequent renter or have a membership card with the rental company. Watch out for price drops around holidays and weekends that encourage traveling, as you might be able to score a great deal for a trip. You could also search for additional discounts for small savings such as non-smoking discount or a pay now discount, with which you pay ahead of time for a reduced rate.

Renters insurance
When you rent a car, you will likely be asked if you want to purchase additional rental car insurance. Many drivers may view these products as scams or unnecessary expenses, but it can actually pay off to have rental coverage. Unless you purchase renters insurance, you will be responsible for any damage to the vehicle and could make yourself and your finances vulnerable in any liability claims as a result of injury.

Before you decide to either buy or pass on rental car insurance, check with your auto insurance company if you have your own vehicle to see if there is any coverage overlap. You might already be protected under your current policy or find out that you should purchase additional coverage. At the very least, you should consider buying liability coverage for the time when you are driving a rental car. While it may seem as though adding more expenses is counterintuitive to saving money, the risk of an accident without coverage could spell a financial disaster.

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