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Insider tricks to save money on car rental

Save money on car rental ultimate guide

Do you know that price of car rental drops 5-8% every year?

Few years ago for the same group of car, bought under same pricing conditions, having almost same expenses (some of them even raised like taxes and insurances) you would pay (in average) 60 EUR per day!

Do you know that now that costs around 40 EUR per day? That is decrease of almost 35% in just few years!

And what do you think where are, car rental companies, getting that difference in profit? From up-selling unnecessary products to you! Also did you know that you are actually helping them?

Car rental price chart

Take a look at this price line chart. You can see that blue color represents basic car rental price (rental days and all mandatory charges – we call it T+M – time plus mileage) and it is constantly dropping down. Yellow line represents final invoice price, so how much do you pay at the end (basic price plus additional extras) and Red line presents price of insurance during years.

So as you can see car rental price keeps dropping (decrease of market demands, increase of offer, etc.) but car rental companies earn better than ever and that is where you are helping them! actually we all sometimes (I must be honest).

What are they doing? How can they earn more money while lowering prices? They mastered technique of up-selling!

How do I save money on car rental then? Get to the point!

Do you know what you are looking for?

Yes? No? Maybe? Well, I know! You don’t!

At least most of you don’t know what you are looking for when you come to hire a car.

Try to answer these few questions

  • What kind of car do I need?
  • Do I need insurance?
  • What types of insurance do I need / have?
  • This roadside assistance looks good?
  • Is prepaid fuel profitable?
  • Another one, theft insurance?

If you are able to answer these questions right away, from hearth, then you belong to less than 10% of car rental clients!

And that is what I am talking about here. Rental agents are specially trained people who are there to sell you as much extras as they can. Selling of extras is called up-selling and they are pretty good trained in that!

Do you know that rental company can lose 10 000 EUR just in one day by having bad rental sales agent working?

Their job is to evaluate you (mostly before you approach them), confuse you, sell unwanted extras and finally wrap it nicely so you will be happy (untill you review invoice)!

Should I buy car rental insurance?

Car rental insurance

This is something that most people don’t even think about untill they reach car rental office. But you should because this is most valuable product that they are selling.

There are so many insurance (or as they usually call it protection) packages that your head starts to hurt when you start reading about them. And they all cost money! But why? Most of us already pay all sorts of insurances?

Did you know that lot of credit cards have car rental insurance included for free? If you have you own car it also has insurance, and yes, lot of car insurances cover rental cars!

How can I check do I already have insurance?

Flip your credit card and call number that you see on the back of the credit card – but do it at home where you have all the time you need! Then you can get correct information that you feel comfortable with. If you do it in front of rental agent I bet he has at least 60% chances to convince you to buy protection with them! They can make you feel unsecure in that information planing doubts about credit card company agent being wrong.

Message of day (maybe even decade) check what kind of insurance do you have so you don’t spend money on nothing! Also there are some information regarding insurance at the end of this article.

Prepaid fuel seems like a good option?

Prepaid fuel

With prepaid fuel you take your car full, drive carefully and return car back without obligation of refueling tank – and you get all of this even cheaper than on gas station!

This is most common line of sale that they are using and it is complete lie. Why would I give you cheaper fuel and get even more to do job when you return the car?

Next time ask rental agent what happens with fuel that I don’t use! It is donated to car rental company by their terms and conditions of course. But they don’t tell that during selling procedure and they mislead you that unspent fuel is refunded, but it’s not!

They can tell you stories that they have special discount price at local gas station, tax return, oil drill in their back yard or what ever they want but they’re selling you crap! 

Nearby gas station won’t sign and kind of discount rate with them because all those customers will use that gas tank to refuel car anyway so they will get their money without discounts!

Also keep in mind that somebody needs to pay those extra few people that refuel all those cars that return empty! Do simple math and you will see that they are selling you nicely wrapped crap!

Free upgrade – bigger car for same money

Free upgrade

Let me rephrase that: we are kinda short of car group that you ordered so we are trying to give you free upgrade. We are not yet forcing you, but if you or next customer don’t take free upgrade, that third guy will be forced!

Sometimes this free upgrade comes great but if you really don’t need bigger car don’t take it. Bigger cars usually get worse mileage per gallon, are harder to park (that is also going to be sales argument while selling you insurance) and you don’t need it!

Also be aware that prices of insurance, protections, assistances in car rental industry go by car group. That means bigger car, bigger expense!

Theft protection

Theft protection

This kind of insurance is usually sold to tourists. If you are visiting foreign country you really don’t know what are you getting your self into so you are easy target.

Well, guess what! You may already be protected with your credit card or own private insurance! Also if you don’t there is website called “World’s safest Countries Ranked” –

On that website you can also see warnings and safety details for every country in specific – example Croatia. After you read that, objective report, it will be easy task to decide on theft insurance.

Special caution while traveling

Travelers are usually easy to sell! That’s why be extra carefull when you are on holidays.

Lot of new “tailored” information (by rental agents) and unknown surrounding can mess up with your decisions. You are more likely to trust somebody who talks nice to you and smiles while you are in foreign country. 

Did you know that? 


How do you fell right now? Ripped of maybe?

Fair market should mean that buyer and seller have all necessary information about product, everything else gives one side advantage. Every car rental company has at least 5 pages of terms and additional 5 pages of their additional extras. There is no way that you can get familiar with all those information.

That is why you need to book everything (you can) from home where you can take your time and explore options, other prices, terms and travel blogs like this one. After reading this article you should need about 10 minutes to decide what car and service do you need.

Take your phone, call credit card issuer and car insurance company and find out what do they cover! Every penny saved on car rental can give you more time of pleasure!


Credit card insurance for rental cars

American Express –
Chase Visa –
Visa –




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