Rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise usually use GPS and other electronic surveillance systems to keep track of the location of their rental property. Thus, if you’re planning to rent a vehicle for a long road trip, especially one that will take you across state lines, better be transparent about it with your rental company.
Some companies don’t allow out-of-state use of their rental vehicles. Those that do often have a higher rate per day, additional surcharges, additional driver fees, different insurance terms and other conditions. If you don’t disclose at the outset where you’re heading, you might be in for a surprise once you’re slapped with some penalties for taking the rented car beyond your state’s boundaries and keeping quiet about it.
Read the rental contract carefully, especially the fine print, and don’t hesitate to ask your attending customer sales rep to explain those provisions that aren’t clear. Also check with your insurer whether the protection provided under your personal insurance policy will extend to a rented vehicle. If they don’t, given where you’re heading, then it may be in your interest to buy the additional insurance coverage that is being offered by the rental company for your long road trip.
Choose an appropriate vehicle for your trip. If you have children with you or you’ve packed a lot of gear, make sure you rent one where you won’t be miserable during your long hours of driving. Perhaps you may want to opt for a minivan or a large SUV with a rack on top so you can comfortably sit the kids and have enough space for your travelling stuff. On the other hand, if you’re going on the long trip just by yourself, you may want to save money by choosing the cheapest, smallest model of car available.
Once you’ve made your choice of vehicle, be sure to inspect it carefully for any body damage and other defects. Check the lights, the windshield wiper, the brakes, the turn signals. Look at the mileage odometer. If you find anything wrong, tell your attending customer rep about them at once. Better still, just ask for a replacement of the unit. Don’t leave the parking lot of the rental company until you’re one hundred satisfied with what you’re renting. Remember, you’re taking it on a long ride. If anything can go wrong, it likely will.
After the trip, don’t forget to fill up the tank of the rented vehicle before returning it. If you don’t, you’ll be charged for the cost of a full tank of gasoline at a price that’s typically higher than that of the local gas station. Be there during the inspection of the car to make sure you concur with any possible damage that the check-in attendant may tick off in his inspection report.