Eight golden rules for renting a car

October 2015
 Whether you’re travelling for business or holiday, or you just need a vehicle if your car is out of action, you may consider renting a car. Renting a hire car is a serious business so we have put together eight golden rules for when you need to do this.

1.       Check that the rental agency is accredited with the South African Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association (SAVRALA)
If the rental agency is a SAVRALA member, you know they are legitimate and subscribe to SAVARALA’s rules and regulations. You’ll also have recourse if you have a dispute with the agency. Go to > Members > Rental Members to check.

2.       Keep it simple and save!

Generally, the fewer frills a car has, the cheaper it will be to rent. If it has no air-conditioner or electric windows it will be cheaper than a model that has these features.

3.       Read the fine print and understand all the costs

Read all the terms and conditions and ask upfront what other costs may be involved, for example fines, re-fuelling and toll fees. You are liable for all applicable costs, whether you were aware of them or not.

4.       Investigate waivers

If your rental car is damaged or stolen, you will have to pay an excess amount to the car rental company. A waiver means that the rental company waives their right to claim from you for losses or damage, reducing the excess you are required to pay. Ask about the various options available to you – it is in your best interest to pay a little more for the best possible option.

5.       Inspect the vehicle before you drive away

Inspect the vehicle with an agency representative. Check the wheels for kerb rash and pay special attention to windscreen chips, make a note of  all the damage or imperfections that you see –no matter how minor it might be  - and make sure that you report them to the car rental agency and get a record of the report prior to leaving with the vehicle. You may be liable for pre-existing damage if you don’t!

6.       Report any damage or theft you incur immediately

If your rental is damaged or stolen, inform the agency as soon as possible. You may be liable for damages. Remember to read the fine print so you know what you are liable for.

7.       Return the car on time

If you return the vehicle late, you may be liable to pay another day’s rental and you may even be deemed to be in illegal possession of the car. Some car rental agencies charge a daily rate for every 24-hours that the vehicle is in your possession.

8.       Re-fuel the vehicle before you return it

It is a good idea to refuel the vehicle before you return it so that there are no disputes about how much fuel you have used and keep your receipt as proof. By refuelling the vehicle yourself, you avoid incurring a refuelling fee charged by many car rental companies.



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