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Dazzle Your Alumni

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No one likes that guy who holds up the line asking all sorts of questions at the rental car counter. Now "that guy" won't be you.

Before You Pick It Up

Reserve your car way ahead of time. When the availability of cars goes down, prices usually go up.

Figure out what insurance you already have (read on).


Do some homework once to save yourself a bunch of fees and worry for every future rental. Call your credit card and auto insurance company to confirm what coverage you already own. Ask about:

Coverage if your car is wrecked, stolen, vandalized, etc. (Your credit card often offers some protection.)

Coverage if you hurt other people or their property (usually covered by your own auto insurance)

Alphabet Soup:
ALI (Additional Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance), PEI (Personal Effects Insurance), and others are fun examples of both other types of rental car insurance and the creative spirit of the human mind.

So now what? Here are some pros and cons for buying that rental car insurance.


- It's really expensive.
- You may already have coverage (make those calls).


- The deductible on your Ford Festiva may not cover the damages to your Porsche Boxter rental.
- If you get into an accident, the use of rental car insurance won't cause any increase in rates to your personal auto insurance.
- Your personal auto insurance and credit card often don't cover rentals outside the U.S.

All Those Fees

Your quoted rate is never the amount you actually pay. Here are some of the add-ons.

Save a lot money by refilling the tank yourself before returning the rental.

If you're a few hours late, the extra hourly fees can quickly add up to another day's rental cost.

Additional drivers:
You'll pay more for extra drivers but make sure they're on the policy so that any insurance covers them.

Young driver:
If you're younger than 25, you might avoid these fees through your employer or memberships to travel organizations.

Story Time

Bert always finds the fueling, insurance, and rate options confusing when renting a car. He usually has to ask the agent to spell out his choices over and over again.

As a form of petty revenge, Bert registered a number of cheeky email accounts. Now when an agent asks him for his contact information, Bert is asked to spell out his email address over and over again: