Best Car Rental for Money

Asking car rental company the right questions can save you some money. It will also assure you get the most comfortable and convenient rental vehicle for your needs.

For example, if you let the rental company know you are only 2 people but you plan to carry a lot of luggage. They would recommend you renting a sedan over a hatchback. You might pay a little more but you will not face a trouble of trying to fit your surf board into the rental Toyota Corolla Hatch.

Unfortunately, people are still doing the same mistake. Even worse, then they shift the blame on the rental companies.

The most common mistakes:

  • Hiring the cheapest vehicle thinking any non-utility vehicle can fit up to 4 people comfortably. Wrong assumption. Compact vehicles normally can accomodate up to 5 “average” people. What is the average you would ask? Exactly! If you are tall, or a little overweight, or you need to fit a child seat besides accomodating the adults, please let the car rental staff member know about.
  • Hiring a 4WD when you plan to go camping. Most probably it will be the best option, but somewhat inaccurate assumption that any 4WD can go through the unsealed road conditions. And it is not only the vehicle, it is also the insurance options you have to be aware of. Letting the rental company know you are going off-road is a must.
  • Hiring a medium to large size sedan just because you have a lot of luggage. This is a tricky one. You can have 1 piece of oversized bag that might not fit in anything but SUV. Or you can have 5 or 6 small bags that any compact size hatch like Hyundai Getz would fit.
  • Hiring a ute or a van when moving the house. This is the most common mistake. If you only expect to deliver your old TV, a few chairs and clothes to your new home, you might even want to look into the options of renting a 7- or 8- seater where you could put the seats down and fit all your belongings. Moving the same things in the ute can be difficult and potentially dangerous, as you would have to make sure you secure your luggage in boxes, cover with moving blankets and tire up with the stripes.

Please remember, especially during the peak season, Low Cost Car Rentals gets at least 50 emails and over 200 phone calls every day. Our staff is trying their best to ask you all the important questions. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to make the final call on which car to rent.

What is the right knowledge the car hire company needs in order to provide you the best car for rent? Think before enquiring, may be they are some circumstances about your trip you need to let the car rental company know. Here is the short list of things that you might let your car rental company know before booking the car for hire.

Things to let car rental company know:

  1. Number of people who travel.
  2. How far are you travelling.
  3. What are the road conditions on the way (to be sure when are where you are covered by the insurance).
  4. Your Driver Licence conditions and Country of Issue.
  5. Whether you are familiar with the area in case you need to rent a GPS.
  6. What are the age of the youngest and the eldest traveller (children might need the baby seats to be fit for them, elder people might need side steps to be able to comfortably get in and out of the hire vehicle).
  7. How much of luggage you expect to carry at most. Please note on any oversized, irregularly shaped or fragile items.

Please do the home work to make sure the list is complete. Once you got a quote, please make sure you search the car on Internet and read its specifications.

There is always that one traveller who is unique and here at Low Cost Car Rentals we are happy to assist.

Inspecting your Rental Vehicle – What to look for?

Inspecting rental car

When you enter into a car rental agreement you are signing a contract that will make you liable for payment when a car is damaged. Whenever you are renting a car you should definitely inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Most reputable rental companies will provide you with a damage report to fill in. If a rental company does not provide this, you should be very cautious about renting from them. So what should you mark on your damage report? We hope the following list is of assistance.

The Exterior:

Check for dents and scratches and mark them in the corresponding area of your damage report. Good practice is to circle the area on the damage report where there is a dent. Place an ‘X’ where there are stone chips and scratches. Use lines to indicate long marks or scratches. It is also good practice to put notes on the damage report explaining what you have marked. It also helps to take a video or photos of what you find. If you do this try and get a shot that shows the  position on the car, not just a close up of the damage. Be thorough with your inspection and ask questions of a company representative if you are not sure what fair wear and tear is.

The Windscreen:

It is important to check the windscreen carefully. Most rental companies deem small stone chips as fair wear and tear. Always make sure you mark any windscreen chips on the damage report using and ‘X’.

The Interior:

Sometimes you might come across damaged interiors in rental cars.  If there is no room on the damage report to mark this, then writing a comment about the interior damage is acceptable. You may want to note things like rips and tears and stains so that you avoid cleaning fees.

Drivability of your vehicle.

Rental cars come in various types, ages and condition. If you have elected to drive an older model car then there may be some things that you have to accept. Things like faded paint and interiors are inevitable on older model rental cars. However, they should always be maintained to roadworthy standards. Things like lights, windscreen wipers, tyres and brakes should be serviceable. So if you notice issues with these, bring them to the attention of your rental company.

Fuel and Kilometres travelled:

Make sure you note the amount of fuel in the car and how many kilometres the car has travelled. This is important where you opt for deals that have limited kilometre usage so that you do not pay for kilometres you did not use. Checking the fuel in the car is important as you do not want to be charged for fuel you did not use.

At Low Cost Car Rentals, we understand that accidents happen which is why we give you a damage report to fill in. We always recommend you take your time with filling in the damage report and take a video or photos of your rental vehicle.

Sales and discounts

Avoid extra charges on cheap Car Rentals Deals

Sales and discounts

The rate of car rentals might look reasonable, but once you get the final bill for your rental car, the bottom line can be a shocker. Taxes, fees and charges for everything from an additional driver to satellite radio, concession charges at airport locations and refilling the gas tank – all this can quickly add up to a big surprise if you have not navigated the confusing world of rental car contracts before renting. Read the fine print before you go. And don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Q 1 – Insurance

Enquiry your car rentals company about the insurance included in the quotation. You need to know who and what is covered.

Questions to ask:

  • What is the excess in case of an accident?
  • Any additional excess in case of a single vehicle accident?
  • What if the accident is not at your fault?
  • What if there is a dispute in liability?
  • What if the repairs are less than the excess amount?

Q 2 – Roadside assistance

It is something you definitely need while on holidays. Unfortunately bad things happen – tyre puncture, empty fuel tank, broken or lost car key, etcetera. You don’t want to ruin the day of your precious holidays dealing with some towing service or booking a hotel in the area where the car broken down.

All the prices of Low Cost Car Rentals include 24/7 premium roadside assistance. It means a help is just 10-60 minutes away from where you are, depends on your location and type of the issue.

Q 3 – Location fares

If you found the best price, don’t often assume it includes the taxes and GST. Even though it is not entirely legal to hide surcharges and GST, some companies find legal ways to work around it. Do not hesitate to ask the rental company if the price is final. Ask if it includes the car delivery (if applicable), airport fares or any other fees when picking up the car.

Check the company’s drop-off policies, which may include hefty charges for one-way rentals or drop-offs at a different location.

All quotations issued by Low Cost Car Rentals are final and include all the taxes, fares, delivery fees (if applicable) and refundable bond.

Q 4 – Membership points

If you own some credit card that has an awesome points system. Don’t use it just yet. Ask the rental company if there is any charges apply when paying with the credit card. Some companies charge it daily, most of the time it is one-off fee.

Low Cost Car Rentals does not charge any fees for any of the accepted payments methods.

Q 5 – Car Rentals fuel policy

Most of the companies follow the “full tank out – full tank in” policy. It is worth confirming though. You don’t want to get a car with 10% of fuel in and then being asked to return it with a full tank.

Also, sometimes you can be in a rush when returning a car and will not have a chance to re-fill the tank. Ask the rental cars company if there is any charge apply in this case.

If you happened to return a car to Low Cost Car Rentals with less than 100% in the tank. We would refill the car for you and only charge you the amount we pay at the petrol station. This is only valid if you return the car to our CBD location in Alexandria or Sydney Airport. Please ask our staff for any extra charges if you return the car into a different location.

Q 6 – Fines and toll payments

Obviously during the rental period you are liable for any toll payments, fines or parking tickets. If you know you would be travelling through the paid roads, be careful. With some car rentals, they would charge you a fee for each of those fines you receive. Additionally they might charge you an administration fee for each day you use the paid roads.

More tips on using the toll roads here.

Q 7 – Return date and time

Sometimes the trip doesn’t go as planned. Whether you are running late or one of your travel companions gets sick. You have no choice but extend the car rental. Most of the companies would start charging you a non-discounted daily rate. You will not be entitled for any discounts or specials you might of had before. Be careful, it is no uncommon the rental company would start charging you hourly rates. So a day of the extended rental can cost you an air ticket to LA and back 🙂

Here, at Low Cost Car Rentals, we are very flexible. As long as the car you have is available for the dates you need, you will have it for the same price. We are easy on 2-3 hours late returns as well and will not charge you any extra fees. The only condition, you have to contact one of our staff members in advance and make sure they are aware of the extended rental.

ADDITIONAL TIP

Examine both the exterior and interior of the car carefully before leaving the rental lot, making a note of any damages. A quick time-stamped photo on your cellphone is a good idea. Point out any defects out to the rental agent to avoid being charged for damage that was already there when you picked up the car.

WARNING

Follow the rules and conditions of your contract. Do not smoke in a non-smoking car. Never let an unauthorized driver operate the car, even a valet. Never drink and drive. Violations can void the contract and result in hefty charges. Treat the car as you would your own, keeping it clean, parking it in safe locations and always locking the doors and trunk.

Using Toll Roads in a Rental Car

A number of toll roads in Australia are cashless and only accept payments via an electronic tag or online. It is not uncommon for travellers to get caught out when driving through toll roads in a rental car. If you are driving interstate or if you are an overseas traveller in a hire car, you need to pay your tolls within a certain time frame to avoid paying any extra fees.

For short period rentals, you possibly could just pay the tolls online as you travel. You will need to know the name of the road you travelled and find the website of the correspondent authority online.

If you intend to rent a car for a few months or longer, we would recommend you to open an e-tag account, those are only paid as you travel and don’t involve any monthly or annual fees. It will also be handy if you travel to Australia often. It is easy to link and de-link any cars to your account. Thus you would register the account only once, then keep updating the number plates of the hired car in the system of the tolling company. Technically you will not even need to carry your e-tag device in the rental car with you. Although it is recommended to avoid paying extra fees for the number plate identification.

To help you out with your next long term car rentals in Australia, here is an outline from Low Cost Car Rentals on how to obtain the toll roads pass for up to 30 days period.

New South Wales (Sydney)

RMS eMU Pass

Motorists are required by law to pay the toll when they drive on a toll road. If you don’t have an electronic tag, you can set up a electronic pass before you leave home or up to three days after you travel on a toll road. You will have up to 3 days to set up the Pass, if you happen to use the Toll roads without a e-Tag.

What are the costing Involved?

  • $1.50 online start up fee
  • Relevant toll charge plus a $0.75c video processing fee for each toll

How to set it up?

  • You can call them on 13 18 65
  • You can set up a Pass using the RMS Online service via the following link and click on eMU pass link Paying tolls

To see the map of the toll roads or estimate the cost of using them, please visit Toll Calculator

Victoria (Melbourne)

CityLink

You will have up to 3 days to set up the Pass, if you happen to travel on one of their Toll roads.

What are the costing Involved?

  • $5.50 online start up fee.
  • Relevant toll charge plus a $0.75c video processing fee for each toll

How to set it up?

  • You can call 13 26 29
  • You will find all the Passes CityLink sell via the following Link Buy a Pass.

To check the tolls prices, please see here.

Queensland (Brisbane, Gold coast, Cairns)

goVIA

You will have up to 3 days to set up the Pass, if you happen to travel on one of their Toll roads.

What are the costing Involved?

  • The relevant Toll plus
  • Video processing fee for each toll (To find out the Video Processing fee, please call 13 33 31, as they change it from time to time)

How to set it up?

  • Can call 13 33 31
  • Buy a pass on their Website via the following Link Go via Road Pass.

You can calculate your toll here.

Cheap car rentals – 5 myths busted

True or false - cheap car rentals

1. Car rental near airport is very expensive.

It is true, the space within the airport car park and a kiosk right next to the arrivals are costly. So companies who you normally see there, would have higher rates than normal car rentals. They need to cover up for all the expenses.

But it does not mean that you should avoid all the near-airport car rentals altogether.

Usually the airports are located in non prestige suburbs or in industrial zones. An office only a kilometre away from the arrival gate is much cheaper. There must be some car hire agencies who are located there.

For instance, one of the Low Cost Car Rentals depots is located only 2.7km away from the Sydney Domestic and 3.2km from International airports.

We offer free airport pick-up and drop-off on all long term rentals (7+ days). And it is as cheap as 30 dollars both ways for short term hires.

In reality, we love Sydney visitors so much, we often offer free unlimited kms package and GPS on long term rentals. All of those are worth more than 25 dollars per day.

I personally believe, the car rental agencies near airports are the most professional ones. They have to deal with a lot of customers from overseas therefore their standards are much higher.

2. Shared cars schema is cheaper than usual car rental companies.

There was a lot of excitement when we first saw our neighbours offering their cars for rent for cheap prices.

It was good at first until those car owners faced first troubles. Cars often were left in prohibited areas. Parking fines, tolls notices, light scratches and dirty interior that nobody will ever pay for.

It all led to the new restrictions. You must be an approved member to rent the car. Usually it involves an annual fee regardless of whether you would even need a car that year.

The price might still look cheap, however you will understand later that it is not final. You will have to pay each kilometre you travel. You will need to have your own GPS or baby seats if you need them.

To conclude, the shared car can be cheaper than a cab if you just need to travel short distance then back. Nothing else seem to be worth it.

3.GPS is too expensive, i will use my phone.

Firstly, lets assume you have the phone holder to secure your phone in the car. So now you are able to follow the directions without the need to juggle the phone in your or your passenger hands.

Secondly, we would assume, you have unlimited mobile data and all-around country mobile coverage.

I already doubt you have all the above.

Now, how about the reception? Do you have it while at the car park in the shopping centre? How often it is getting lost in the tunnels and how long it takes for the signal to recover?

You still think 5 dollars a day or free GPS on long term rentals is not an option?

4. I can get away with not registering the additional driver.

This is a very dangerous myth. It is not up to the car rentals companies to decide who is guilty in the accident. It is not them who is charging you when you have an incident.

Touch wood, if anything happens and it is the additional drivers fault. Just because they were not registered as the driver of the vehicle, the insurance company would decline the claim. You will end up loosing the excess and would have to pay for both car repairs and any hospital expenses anyone incurred due to the crash.

The insurance company used by Low Cost Car Rentals only charges a one-off fee to register the driver. It only costs 11 dollars for the whole rental period. Touch wood, but it is a piece of mind.

5. Companies use foreign language for rental agreements.

I can’t say for all companies, but Low Cost Car Rentals contract is written in English and you do not require any form of translation.

If you really unsure about anything in there, you are free to ask questions. Our staff is also fluent in English and therefore easy to communicate with.