After taking a recent business trip to New York City, I once again learned that sometimes the only way you can learn to save money is to make sure you ask the right questions and read the fine print. I am Hertz Number One Gold member, which allows me to essentially skip the line and go directly to my car when I get to Hertz. For those of you who do regular business travel, you can really appreciate not having to stand on line waiting for your rental car. However, whether you are a frequent renter or you rent once a year, here are four tips about reading the fine print.
- Fill ‘Er Up Or Not– You’ll have to make a decision when you rent the car whether you’ll bring it back full or have the rental car agency fill it up for you. Make sure to check the signs at the dealership which are posted to let you know what they will charge you for a gallon of gas. It’s normally cheaper if you get the car filled up yourself before you bring it back for final inspection, but you better make sure you have the time to fill the car up or it can be three times as much on your final bill
- What About TOLLS?– Most of the rental cars today have the local EZ Pass or Plate Pass installed so you can get through the local toll booths and it will be added to your bill. I make the BIG mistake of not reading the contract on the recent trip to New York and you can see that I was charged a 50% PREMIUM of $4.95 per day for use of the Plate Pass. What a joke HERTZ! I’m a Gold member and you bang me for $5 for something installed in the car anyway?
- Those Little Initials On The Contract– Your car insurance or in some cases your credit card will already have you covered so you won’t need to buy the extras when you sign the contract. However, when someone puts a piece of paper in front of us to sign on your vacations, we often do the wrong thing and just sign the document. Make sure you read what you sign for collision coverage, etc. so you don’t double pay money.
- The Elusive Grace Period– If for some reason you are running late with the rental car, the contracts will review your grace period. This may be zero, 29 minutes, or even an hour. However, you should be certain you know what the charges are for returning your car late or you could end up with a bunch of surprises that you don’t want come checkout time.
Use this four smart money moves tips so you don’t get HERTZ next time you rent a car.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation.