Important things to avoid when driving in Madeira
When you travel, sometimes you get curveballs. And those can sometimes lead to a costly car rental mistake. A diverted flight, family emergency, illness, or itinerary change. Any of those might encourage you to return a rental car to a different location than originally planned. Your rental agreement will note a return time and location.
If you have no choice but to drop off the car at an alternative rental location, never show up unannounced. Always tell the rental car company in advance that your plans have changed and confirm how much it will cost to drop the car at the new location. While this is best done by phone, you may be able to change your existing reservation through the company’s website.
While it’s a mistake to purchase unnecessary insurance, it’s an even bigger mistake to rent a car with no insurance coverage whatsoever. If a mishap happens, you could find yourself on the hook for expensive bills and repairs.
If coverage isn’t provided by your personal insurance policy or credit card, paying for insurance at the rental car counter is a wise move.
If you’re traveling, renting a car at the airport can seem like the simplest solution. However, airport rentals come with surcharges that will cost you money. Surcharges vary from airport to airport and can exceed 10 percent of your rental costs. You’ll save on your rental if you choose a company located outside the airport’s premises.
Nobody likes spending too much time on a tedious chore like renting a car, and it can be tempting to sign on the dotted line with the first company you encounter. However, car rental rates can vary quite dramatically from company to company. You can save money by spending a little extra time to consider your options. Most travel comparison sites let you evaluate multiple car rental companies.
Car rental companies offer varying mileage plans, and these plans can have a huge impact on your final bill. Some companies provide unlimited mileage, which allows you to put as many miles on the car as you need to without accruing additional fees. Other companies have mileage caps, and if you exceed this cap, you’ll be charged a fee. This fee can be quite substantial if your mileage surpasses the cap by a large margin. Make sure you’re aware of the mileage plan and make a choice that is in step with your needs.
Refueling at the delivery
Rental car companies top the tank off before handing you the keys to a vehicle they expect you to return the vehicle with as much gas as it had when it was handed over to you. If you choose to have the rental car company refuel the vehicle upon its return, this allows you to return the rental at any fuel level, thus saving you the hassle of having to find a gas station.
However, refueling at the rental car company is the costliest route to take. Rental car companies charge much steeper rates for this option than they do for purchasing prepaid fuel. You can easily wind up paying double what you’d pay at the local gas station if you refuel the car yourself.
Returning the rental with a full tank of gas.
This is likely the best choice for most people seeking to rent a car since it allows you to pay only for the gas you’ve used at regular station prices. The downside to this approach is that you’ll have to make time in your schedule to fill the car up before turning it in.
Many rental car companies offer a grace period of 30 minutes or so when processing returns, but if you’re significantly later than that, you may have to pay an hourly rate late fee or another full day’s rental.
Avoid this expense by turning your vehicle in on time. Take a prepared and informed approach to rent a car, and put your savings toward your driving adventures.