Hidden Costs in Car Leasing: What to Look Out For

Car rental is a convenient and flexible option for those who need a vehicle temporarily in the United States. However, when renting a car, many people are faced with additional costs and hidden fees that can significantly increase the final price. In this article, we’ll explore the most common hidden costs of renting a car in the US and provide tips on what to look out for to avoid any nasty surprises.

Additional insurance

When renting a car in the US, it’s important to check that basic insurance is included in the rental price. Often, the minimum insurance required by law is already included, but there may be the option to purchase additional coverage such as collision insurance (CDW) and theft insurance (TP). These additional coverages can significantly increase the daily rental cost. Before accepting or declining additional insurance, make sure you are already covered by personal car insurance or a credit card that offers car rental protection. Carefully reading the terms and conditions of these insurances is critical to understanding the level of coverage offered.

Airport and location fees

If you are renting a car at an airport or at a specific location, it is important to be aware of additional fees that may apply. Many airports charge a facility fee, which can range from a few dollars to a percentage of the total rental amount. Also, some cities or states may have extra taxes and fees that are added to the rental cost. Check these rates ahead of time to get a clear idea of the actual rental price.

Out-of-hours return fees

If you plan to return the car outside of the rental company’s opening hours, there may be an additional fee. Some companies charge a late return fee, especially if the return takes place during the night or at a time when the rental company is closed. Be sure to check the rental company’s policies regarding after-hours returns and ask about the fees involved.

Fuel rates

When renting a car, it is common to receive a vehicle with a full tank of fuel and be asked to return it with a full tank as well. However, some rental companies offer the option to prepay for fuel or charge an additional fee if the car is returned with less fuel than the initial amount. These fees can be significant, so it’s important to carefully consider the option of pre-paying for fuel or filling up the car yourself before returning it.

Toll fees

If you plan on using toll roads during your car rental period, check how car rental companies handle toll fees. Some rental companies offer an automatic toll collection service, where you pay an additional daily fee and the rental company manages the toll fees for you. Other car rental companies may not offer this service and you will be responsible for paying toll fees directly. Make sure you understand how toll fees are handled and how you will be charged before setting off with your rental car.

Additional driver fees

If you plan to have more than one additional driver, there may be an additional fee for each driver. Some rental companies allow an additional driver for free, while others charge a daily fee. Be sure to check the rental company’s policies regarding additional drivers and ask about the fees involved.

Cleaning and damage fees

When returning the rental car, it is important to return it in proper condition. If the car is exceptionally dirty or has damage beyond normal wear and tear, the rental company may charge a cleaning fee or damage fee. Be sure to inspect the car before leaving the rental company and report any damage to avoid overcharges.

Extra accessory fees

If you need extra accessories, such as a GPS, child car seat or snow chains, the rental company may charge an additional fee for these items. Consider whether these accessories are really necessary, and assess whether it’s more economical to rent these items separately or bring them from home, if possible.