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Hiring a car comes with its ins and outs and you should have a plan to ensure everything goes smoothly even in the event that something goes wrong. There are plenty of horror stories out there where people have been left with huge bills because of disputes with the rental company. To avoid any nasty surprises we have put together a checklist of the things you should know and do from before you pick up your rental right through to after you drop it off.

Car Rental Checklist

1. Before you pick up your rental

Make sure you have the appropriate documents ready.

  • Your car rental voucher
  • A valid driver’s licence for the driver
  • A valid credit card in the driver’s name
  • Your passport or other 100 point identification
  • Make sure you’re familiar with the local road rules and driving conditions

2. Picking up your rental car

Make sure you bring the appropriate documents with you!

  • Arrive at the time you set when booking (let them know if you’re going to be late).
  • Ask if you can get a free upgrade (can’t hurt to ask!).
  • Read and understand the rental agreement and your level of cover.
  • Register any extra drivers (they’ll need to be present and show their licence).
  • Ask about breakdown assistance (many of our rentals come with this included).

3. Check for any existing damage to the vehicle.

Get the rental agent to do this with you and make sure everything is documented.

  • Take photos of any scratches or dents (make sure you check the roof too)
  • Check all the glass for chips/cracks and take photos if you find any.
  • Check the undercarriage (as much as you can see).

4. Check the function of your rental vehicle

Is everything working as it should?

  • Start the vehicle and let it idle while you check the important functions.
  • Test the indicators
  • Test the brake lights
  • Test the headlights
  • Test the windscreen wipers
  • Test the air conditioning/heater
  • Check the tyre pressure
  • Note how much fuel is in the vehicle (if it isn’t full ask the rental agent what the deal is).
  • Check there is a spare tyre with the tools to fit it

5. During your rental

Keep it on the straight and narrow.

  • Keep the keys in a safe place (it can be expensive if you lose them).
  • Don’t take the vehicle off road. (some rentals are not allowed to be driven on dirt roads).
  • Drive to the conditions

5. Returning your rental

Check for any new damage and make sure it is documented.

  • Make sure the vehicle has the agreed amount of fuel in the tank.
  • Make sure it is reasonably clean (some companies will charge if the vehicle is excessively dirty).
  • If you’re dropping it off outside business hours take photos of the vehicle.
  • Drop your rental off at the agreed time to avoid any extra fees.

6. What to do if you have an accident

Try to stay calm.

  • If the accident was caused by a third party call the police who will prepare a report and prove that you are not liable. If this isn’t an option get the details of the driver and the vehicle’s number plate.
  • Call the rental company. They will be able to advise you on exactly what you need to do.
  • Take photos of the damage
  • When you return the vehicle make sure you witness the damage report. Both parties should sign the report.

Renting a car needn’t be a stressful experience. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to make the most of your rental vehicle and avoid any horror stories with the rental company.

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