There are several requirements to take into account when renting a car and, at the same time, you should know in what way you are able to use it, as it is different from using your own car. You must be aware of these policies in order not to make mistakes.
We will start by describing the indispensable requirements and then we will move on explaining the possibilities a rental car offers.
The first requirement in order to be able to hire this service is also the most variable. By convention, the rental minimum age is 25 years old, but it can vary according to the case. Some companies rent their cars to people older than 21 with driver’s license of two years of validity or more. Some companies do this in some of their locations but not in others. In certain rental businesses 18-year-olds are allowed to hire this service easily, whereas in others this is only possible for soldiers or government employees in an official trip; and employees of those companies with which they have a trade agreement, as long as drivers are representing the firm. Since every rental company has different policies, if you are younger than 25 you should inquire about this point further. This requirement is applied to the driver as well as to every additional driver designated. It is highly likely that some companies will apply an additional underage surcharge for drivers between 18 and 25 years old.
Additional drivers: you may choose one or several additional drivers as long as they fulfill all the conditions required. For each additional driver, the rental company will apply a surcharge. Additional drives’ licenses must be presented at the time of rental. Under no circumstances should you allow any person not authorized by the company to drive the car, unless an accident occurs. If you do this, you may lose the contract guaranties, the insurance coverage and even the person who was driving the car can be arrested due to lacking driving authorization.
Fines: in order to rent a car you must have an acceptable record as a driver. Rental companies are authorized to check whether the renter is a potential dangerous driver. You must consult with the company whether your conditions as a driver are acceptable to hire a car. In case the response is negative or you avoid asking this question, your reservation may be cancel if you prove to be a dangerous driver.
Now, we will see the different possibilities you have with your rental car. These should be arranged with the rental company to avoid inconveniences or price rises you don’t know where they come from. Each company and each type of car has different uses, delivery methods, etc. and you must learn all the possibilities you can choose from.
Return: you can return the car either to the same location where you rented it or to a different one. You don’t always have this possibility, but very often you do. Many companies allow you to return the rental car to different locations, different cities or even to a different state. The company will apply a surcharge for this facility, although in certain occasions you can avoid paying this extra amount; if you travel from the North to the South, or vice versa, at the moment of the year in which the firm wishes to move its cars towards the same direction you go, you can surely make a good deal with them by offering them to transport their car. This is usually done from the North to the South in winter and from the South to the North in summer, given the season conveniences for tourism.
Distance: as long as you drive within the state where you have rented the car, distance won’t be a hassle. Instead, if you drive out of the state, you will surely have a mile limit. If you exceed this limit, you will be probably charged a great amount for each mile exceeded. When referring to special or luxury cars the distance allowed is shorter than with ordinary cars.
Outside the United States: in order to rent a car abroad you will have to obtain the international driving license. Most countries require this license and you will be surcharged for driving in their territory. The international driving license can be obtained by visiting the American Automobile Association website (www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html). You should know your destination country traffic regulations. An important tip: cars rented outside USA are often smaller in comparison.
Fuel: there are many ways of dealing with fuel. The best one is always to take the car with its tank full and return it full as well. But this topic will be explained better in our section called Fuel
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