Most of us have rented or will rent a car or other vehicle at some point, and while more often than not the rental will be incident free, it is always worth running a check list on where your vehicle is coming from and ensuring you know exactly what you are getting in the deal. Many find out too late that they have an insurance excess that wasn’t highlighted at the rental time, or the vehicle has undocumented damage when you return it, that can set you back a lot of money, for damage you may be sure you didn’t do. So here is a checklist to use.

  • Have they got the vehicle that I really want?

If you want a specific vehicle, you should get it. Always check to see if the hire company have a good range and selection of vehicles for you to be able to choose from. Some operators will try to rent you a larger and more expensive vehicle, telling you the smaller ones are all rented out. Finding a firm who rent everything from a small hatchback to minibuses, vans and trucks, normally suggests a good competent firm, with a goodly fleet to choose from.

  1. Am I getting the best deal?

It is always sensible to shop around and get a few quotes. The car rental industry is pretty competitive, so beware any quotes that seem to be way off the mark. Always check what you are getting for your money too. Finding out when you return the vehicle that you had limited mileage, can turn what looked like a good price into a very expensive one. Don’t forget to see what your insurance excess is, and ensure it is written into the contract. A good firm will offer you a collision damage waiver. It is always a good idea to consider this option when available, especially if there is a large excess.

  • Is a local firm as good as a national company?

Local companies that have been around for a while are often a very good choice to deal with. To be successful in a local area for a number of years suggests they have a good reputation. A car hire quote in Norwich from a local firm may well be more competitive than a major firm with a local depot. A more local firm will also often offer you a more personal, friendly service and are likely to be able to be more flexible with special requirements.

  1. Always check the T’s and C’s and vehicle condition.

Before you rent and drive the vehicle away, make sure you have read the terms and conditions for the vehicles rental and agree with them. This is your responsibility. Beware a firm with multiple pages of them. A good contract should be fairly simple and take no more than a couple of minutes to read. Lastly, before you drive the vehicle away, make sure you have all scratches and dents properly recorded, with a copy each for you and the rental firm. Then upon return you can show what was or wasn’t there when you took it.

By following all of the above, you can be sure that the rental will be a smooth process, and if you are happy with their service, you can store the number in your smartphone for future reference.