Renting a car on your next business trip? Keep these helpful tips in mind to ensure your safety on the road!
Check your insurance policy
Before you rent a car, check and see if your current auto insurance covers rentals. Your credit card may also cover the vehicle if you use it to pay for the transaction. Exercise due diligence to see what is and is not covered. Most of the time you won’t need to add on extra insurance at the rental car counter, which can be unnecessarily expensive.
Carry proof of insurance
Speaking of insurance, be sure to carry proof of insurance in case you get pulled over or are involved in an accident. Most people make the mistake of leaving their insurance card in a glove compartment back home. Snap a picture on your phone before you leave or better yet, make a photo copy that you always keep in your wallet.
Don’t rent a flashy car
If you have the opportunity to request the type of vehicle you want, go with a common make and model. Flashy cars may be fun to drive but they attract unnecessary attention and can be a target for break-ins and theft.
When at the rental car counter, be sure to ask about the last time the car was serviced, and who to call in case there is a problem. Don’t leave the lot without asking if there’s a spare tire or any other emergency resources in the vehicle.
Familiarize yourself with the car
Before you drive off the rental car lot, take some time to get used to the car. Adjust the mirrors and seats to maximize your visibility, and make sure you know how to turn on the windshield wipers, headlights and interior lights. Turn on the heat or air conditioning and if you want to listen to the radio, adjust it before you drive off so you don’t have to bother with it while the vehicle is in motion.
Know where you are going
Driving an unfamiliar car while fumbling with your phone or GPS system is a recipe for disaster. Be sure to ask for specific directions before you leave the rental car counter. If you are using a hands-free GPS system, plug in the address of your destination ahead of time.
Know the local laws
While there are some traffic laws in place nationwide, other, more detailed laws vary from state-to-state. If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar state or another country, be sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws to avoid getting pulled over or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
Don’t sync your phone
Rental car fleets are often comprised of newer models, meaning you may have the ability to sync your cell phone to you rental vehicle. While this may seem convenient, once you do that, the vehicle can store personal information from your phone, including your phone number, recent calls, message logs, GPS locations and more. In most cases, it’s best not to sync your cell phone to a rental car.
When not using your vehicle, always park it in a well-lit, familiar area. Be sure to roll all of the windows up, lock the doors and keep the keys with you, not inside the car.
For more helpful tips, check out this post on the common mistakes people make when renting a car!
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