GardenStateDrive


Drinking and Driving? Think Again!

Drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous things to do on the road.  Not only are you endangering your own life, but you’re putting everyone else on the road in danger!    If you do drink and drive, and then get a DUI, there are many negative consequences that you can expect.  Besides the obvious embarrassment that goes along with a DUI, it can impact your job, finances, and personal life.

So, what are these consequences exactly?  Other than the obvious possibility of harming yourself or others, we’ve compiled a list of potential repercussions that may result from a DUI.

  •   One of the first things that will happen after a DUI is that your license will be revoked for a minimum of 30 days, however in most cases it’s for a longer period of time.  Losing your ability to drive can also cause many issues in your professional life.  If you aren’t located near any modes of public transportation, getting to work every day may suddenly become a problem.
  • Obviously if you can’t get to work because you lost your license, that’s a major issue.  Also, you may have to miss even more days to go to court for your DUI.  Another way it can affect your job?  Some employers may fire you if they find out you have a DUI because it brings your professional credibility into question.  Of course every company is different, but if you do not legally have to disclose your DUI to your employer, it’s best not to mention it.
  • Another consequence of a DUI is that you will likely have to take alcohol awareness classes, or if you have more than one offense you may be required to participate in a lengthy rehab program.  Every case is different but either way you will be spending a lot of time in a classroom.
  • Financially, a DUI will do a number on you.  First, you have to cover the cost of an attorney who can represent you in court.  That will cost you a few thousand right off the bat.  The longer your case is in court, the more you will have to pay and the more time you will have to take off from work.
  • Another thing that will cost you?  Your insurance.  Having a DUI on your record guarantees that your premium will go up.  In some cases it may double or even triple, depending on how many points you have on your license.  Getting a DUI in Massachusetts automatically gives you 5 points on your license, and many insurance companies will not write you a policy if you have 5 points or more.  A DUI will also remain on your license for six years before the points begin to decrease.
  • Getting insurance after a DUI can definitely be a challenge.  The largest carrier in the insurance market in Massachusetts, which is Commerce, will not write a policy for anyone with 5 points or more.  Many other carriers across the state follow this mentality, so finding insurance after a DUI will prove to be quite difficult.   Since there are less carriers that will write a policy for someone with a DUI, those that will write a policy will likely charge a lot more due to the risk they are assessing.
  • Another issue with finding insurance after a DUI?  Certain companies that will write a policy for someone with a DUI may only offer liability coverage.  This is a problem because unless you own your car outright, you will need full coverage.

Next time you are out enjoying an adult beverage, do yourself, and everyone else on the road a favor and either call a cab or designate a sober driver.  Not only will it save you some embarrassment, time, and money, it may also save a life.

Photo By: OregonDOT

 

Make Your Tires A Top Priority

Taking care of your tires not only keeps you safe, but it can also save you money!  Tire maintinance improves their performance, handling, and increases their life span.  It also leads to a better ride and lower gas mileage.  Who wouldn’t love that?  Especially when a new set of tires usually carries a hefty price tag.

There are a few different things to look out for when it comes to tire safety:

Tire Pressure – This is one of the most important things to watch when it comes to your tires.  Low tire pressure can lead to decreased control of the vehicle, uneven wear and tear, increased gas consumption, and even accidents.  Did you know that a tire can lose up to half of it’s pressure without even appearing to be flat?  Overinflated tires are just as dangerous, they can easily explode, wear out quickly, and make the vehicle more difficult to handle.  So, how do you make sure your tires are at the perfect pressure?  Ideally, you should check their pressure every month and before long trips.  Don’t forget to check the spare tire as well!  You can find information on the ideal tire pressure for your car in the owner’s manual or possibly on the door post.  If your tires are low on pressure, you can fill them up for a minimal price at any gas station that offers an air pump.

Alignment – Making sure your tires are properly aligned is important because if your suspension is out of whack, your tires can wear unevenly or cause handling problems such as “pulling”.  How can your tires get out of line?  Potholes or bumpy roads are the major culprits.  Refer to your owner’s manual for specifics on how often you should check the alignment, and have a tire dealer check it out for you as often as is recommended.

Rotate Your Tires – Having your tires rotated evenly distributes the wear and tear on your tires.    The weight of the car is distributed differently which causes each tire to wear differently.  By rotating your tires, you can elongate the life of them, which will save you money in the long run.  Your owner’s manual should have a specific recommendation for how often the tires should be rotated but if not, most tires need to be rotated every 5,000 miles.

Check The Tread – The tread on your tires is what helps them cling to the road, and is especially important in the rain and snow.  You can visually check the tread to make sure the tires are in good shape.  Look for tiny “wear bars” which are small, raised bars of rubber on the tires.  Watch out for smooth parts of the tire which are “bald”.  The easiest way to test the tread on your tires can be done with a penny.  Put Lincoln’s head in one of the grooves of the tire, if you can see part of his head, your tires are fine.  If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need to replace the tire.

Maintaining your tires is one of the most important things you can do for your car.  By regularly checking the pressure, tread, alignment, and rotating the tires you can extend the life of your tires, which will only save you money in the long run.  Not to mention the fact that it is an important tip that will help keep you and your family safe!

Sources: Rubber Manufacturers Association

Dummies.com

Photo By: deltaMike

 

 

 

 

Driving With Your Pet? Make Sure They’re As Safe As Possible!

Many pet owners enjoying bringing their furry friend on the road with them whether they are traveling near or far.  In fact did you know that according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2006 National Pet Owner Survey, 84% of pet owners say they travel with their pet in automobiles?  If you are one of these animal lovers that likes to bring your pet for a ride, follow these tips to ensure that it is as safe as possible.

  • Safely Secure Your Pet!  It is extremely dangerous to leave your pet unrestrained in a moving vehicle.  If there were ever to be an accident or even a sudden stop, your pet would be in serious danger.  They could easily fly through the windshield or injur the driver and any passengers in the car.  The best way to secure a dog or cat is to put them in a travel crate that is tied down.  A pet harness/seatbelt is also a viable option, especially for large dogs.
  • Never attach a restraint device to an animal’s collar.  Should the animal jerk one way or be involved in an accident, it could lead to strangulation or injury.
  • Don’t let your pets ride with their head out the window!  Even though many pets enjoy feeling the breeze through their hair, it is hazardous for them because dirt and bugs can easily get caught in their nose, ears, mouth, or throat which may lead to health problems down the road.  There is also always the chance that a nearby object such as a street sign may strike their head and result in injury or death.
  • Never leave your pet inside a parked car!  Imagine being stuck inside a sweltering car with the windows up on a hot summer day?  Now imagine wearing a fur coat on top of that.  Leaving your pet inside a parked car on a hot or even warm day can lead to heat stroke or even death.  Cold weather is just as dangerous for pets, so avoid a potential tragedy and don’t leave your pet in a parked car no matter what the weather is like.
  • Bring some extra water and food for your pet, especially if you’re going on a long drive.  All animals, but especially dogs tend to get excited in the car which makes them pant more.  Panting will make them thirsty so having some extra water will come in handy, and the food or treats are good in case you’re traveling a long distance.
  • If you’re taking a long drive, stop every few hours to stretch and let your pet go to the bathroom.  Make sure you have their leash handy as well so you have control of them in an unfamiliar area.
  • If you’re bringing your pet on vacation with you, create a travel tag that you can attach to their collar.  Write down exactly where you’ll be staying and the best phone number to reach you.  Should you and your pet get separated, it will be much easier for you to be reunited once your pet is found.

If you’re traveling with your pet, it is your responsibility to make their safety a priority!  Follow these tips next time you’re in the car with your furry friend, it will ensure a fun and safe car ride!

Source: Pet Travel Center

Photo By: ~ggvic~

 

 

Protect Yourself Against Auto Theft While Saving On Your Insurance!

Did you know that over 30,000 cars were stolen in Massachusetts last year alone?  That’s a lot of stolen cars and even more of an inconvenience for the victims of theft.  If this were to happen to you, what would you do?  Would you know who to call or if you were even protected against theft in your insurance policy?  The tips and information that follow will set you in the right direction should your car get stolen, and will tell you how to prevent it from being stolen in the first place.

Many people believe that standard liability coverage will protect them should their car get stolen, however this is not the case.  The only coverage that can protect you against auto theft is comprehensive coverage.  This coverage applies to the loss of the vehicle as well as any parts that might be stolen, such as the air bag.  Comprehensive coverage also protects you against fire, vandalism, and weather related damage.

Although comprehensive coverage is not mandatory, it is recommended especially if you have a new or high value car.  In fact, having comprehensive and collision coverage can get you a discount of up to 20%  from your insurance company!  Another way to get a discount?  Having an auto recovery device such as LoJack or OnStar can also get you an anti-theft discount of up to 25%.  These devices allow law enforcement to track your vehicle through a transmitter, which will hopefully lead to it’s recovery.

Of course the best way to protect yourself against auto theft is to take simple steps the make sure your vehicle is not a target.  Definitely don’t leave any valuables in the car, especially if they are visible through the window, this makes you an easy target for car thieves.  Also, try to park in well-lit areas whenever possible, thieves will be less likely to try and break into your car if there is more of a possibility that they will be seen.  Of course locking your doors and setting an alarm are great deterrents as well.

If your car does happen to get stolen, call the police first!  Your insurance company will not process a claim for a stolen vehicle unless there is a police report.  After you call the police, contact your insurance company and let them know what happened.  Make sure to have your policy number ready when you call so that they can easily assist you.

Lastly, if you happen to witness an auto theft, call the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force at 1-800-HOT-AUTO.  It is a confidential and toll free auto theft tip line that gives Massachusetts residents the opportunity to combat auto thieves.  If you provide information to this hotline that leads to the arrest of a car thief or the location of a chop shop, you could receive a confidential cash reward of up to $10,000!  That’s a serious benefit for doing some good!  Reporting an auto thief or chop shop makes life easier for everyone, because these theives not only affect the victims of their auto theft, but everyone who lives in that town.  The more theft and accidents that occur in a town, the more expensive the insurance premium will be for every resident of that town.

Car thieves are a problem for all of us, make sure that you are protected under your insurance policy, and if you witness an auto theft in person, call the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force, not only could you potentially stop a car thief, but it could lead to a reward!  Sounds like a win-win situation all around!

Photo By: Foxtongue

 

Preparing For A Storm? Don’t Forget About Man’s Best Friend!

Although it is rare to experience a natural disaster here in Massachusetts, as we saw last summer with Hurricane Irene, anything is possible.  That’s why it is more important than ever to make sure that your pet is protected and prepared for the next storm.  We’ve found some great animal safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that you and your furry friend are ready to weather the storm together.

  • Animals can often sense a storm on the horizon and may try to isolate themselves from it, before and during a storm make sure pets are inside to prevent them from running away.
  • Make sure that your pet has their collar on with tags firmly attached should you get separated.
  • Keep a “pet survival kit” on hand in case you have to quickly move from your house.  It should include enough food for three days (in an air-tight container), enough water for three days, bowls, medicine, first aid supplies, leash, travel crate, kitty litter, litter box, paper towels, cleaning supplies, newspapers (for sanitary purposes), and familiar items such as toys, treats, and blankets which can be comforting during times of stress.
  • Keep important documents such as adoption papers, medical records, vaccination history and registration in a water-proof container.
  • If you have cats and dogs, separate them during a storm.  Even if they typically get along, anxiety caused by the storm can cause pets to behave out of their typical character.
  • Have a picture of your pet on hand for identification purposes in case you get separated.  If you are evacuating, write your evacuation destination down and attach it to your pet’s collar which will also be useful if your pet does get lost.
  • During a disaster situation, feed your pets canned or moist food so that they don’t have to drink as much water.
  • Plan ahead: if you know that you are going to have to evacuate, work with your local animal control department, animal shelter, or emergency management office to get tips and advice on where you can bring your pet.  Unfortunately, not all evacuation shelters are equipped to take pets as well, however you can research pet-friendly hotels and motels in your area.
  • In the days following a natural disaster, make sure that you accompany your pet and leash it whenever it is outside.  Familiar areas may have a different scent which can confuse your pet, and new dangers may be introduced to the area such as fallen power lines, or other animals that would not typically reside there.

The absolute most important piece of advice highlighted by FEMA is to take your pet with you if you have to evacuate!  Pets are not likely to survive on their own and if by chance they do survive, often times they are lost and difficult to find.  If you can not take your pet yourself, work something out with family, friends, or neighbors who may be able to help.  Leaving a pet behind should be your absolute last resort and is not recommended at all.

Photo By: indi.ca

Saving Money On Gas Is Easier Than You Think!

Now that summer is almost officially here, gas prices will be on the rise before you know it, but don’t worry!  Saving money on gas is much easier than you may think.  It’s the simplest of actions that make the biggest difference when it comes to getting the most miles per gallon.  Whether you are in a compact car, SUV, or a van,  the following tips will help conserve gas and save money while on the road.

  • Brake Correctly- Did you know that a car uses the most gas when it is accelerating?  If the car is already moving, it doesn’t take much gas to keep it moving, but constantly braking and then speeding up again will drain your tank.  For commuters who frequently sit in traffic, this is especially useful.  Make sure you watch the cars in front of you and follow their lead, keep a steady foot lightly on the gas and avoid slamming on the brake!
  • Cruise Control- Cruise control is a great way to keep a consistent speed if you are on the highway.  It leads to less braking, which takes up a lot of fuel as we said, and keeps the RPM level.
  • Manual Transmission- Driving a stick shift is notoriously more fuel efficient than an automatic car, mainly because you have more control over the vehicle and gears.  Automatic transmissions may unnecessarily rev up the RPM in certain situations, like on the highway or when driving uphill. Also, the way the transmission shifts leads to a higher loss in fuel.
  • Downsize- The heavier the car, the harder it has to work on the road.  If a car is accelerating, it already uses more fuel than usual, but if the engine has to work harder to accelerate because of excess weight from personal items, it will use more gas than necessary.
  • Turn off the Air Conditioner- The AC can really cost you fuel in the long run.  Try to avoid using it as much as possible, of course this is not always possible, especially in the humid summer months that are coming our way.  If you can, turn it off a few minutes before you reach your destination, the car will still stay cool for a few more moments and you don’t have to leave it running the entire time you are driving.
  • Turn off Your Car- Although turning a car on and off does use fuel, the amount of fuel you save after at least 30 seconds of the car being off makes it worth it.  Next time you are in traffic or at a long light where you know you will be stopped for at least 30 seconds, turn off the car.  This is a very simple way to save gas and as a result more money.
  • Reduce Wind-Resistance- Riding around with a ski or bicycle rack may be convenient for vacations or road trips, but keeping it on your car every day creates some serious drag that will slow you down and therefore cost you gas.  Take these off if you are not using them, although it may seem like a pain, it will save you gas in the long run.
  • Carpool- This is the easiest way to save gas.  If you are able to commute to work with a friend and switch off driving days, you will automatically cut out half of your week’s worth of driving.
  • Consider a Fuel Efficient Car- Cars are continuously changing to improve their gas mileage.  Hybrid cars are popular but diesel engines also offer low mileage, especially on long distance journeys.  Although diesel is more expensive to buy, it provides better MPG and will save you money over time.

Don’t let the increasing gas prices keep you off the road this summer, follow these simple tips and start getting the most miles per gallon from your car!

Information From: Open Travel Info

Photo By: USAG- Humphreys

Flood Insurance: Get The Facts and Learn Why You Need It

Flood insurance may seem like an unnecessary addition that you don’t really need, but the truth is that any owner of insurable property should have flood insurance as well.  It is a common misconception that damage resulting from a flood is covered by a homeowner’s policy, unfortunately this is not the case and many homeowners find themselves with thousands of dollars worth of damage each year.

The ability to purchase flood insurance is relatively new, it was first made available in 1968 and since then has saved homeowners with water damage thousands and thousdands of dollars.   Because it is so expensive to repair damage from a flood, the policies are a bit more pricey than homeowner’s insurance but are well worth it if you do experience flooding.  For homeowner’s who reside in “Zone A” territory, which is a home within 1 mile of tidal water, flood insurance is highly recommended if not mandatory.  Those that do not reside near a body of water may think that flood insurance is not worth purchasing, but technically every single home is considered to be in a “flood zone”, although the risk level varies.

So what can cause a flood?  A variety of things which is what makes the risk so dangerous.  Of course heavy rainfall, quick melting snow, and hurricanes are all factors that can lead to flooding, but a clogged drainage system, mudflow, or a failed levee can cause just as much damage.  Even if you don’t live close to a body of water, everyone is at risk for heavy rainfall or a hurricane, as we saw here in Massachusetts with Hurrican Irene last year.  Even 1 inch of water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to floors, electrical outlets, doors, base trim, furniture, appliances, a furnace, personal items, and much more.  You can get a better idea of how much damage a flood can cause here.

The price of flood insurance varies based on your “risk level”.  Those who live closer to the water are at a higher risk for flooding which will make their premium more expensive.  Flood insurance also must be paid in full which may make it unappealing to some customers, but a policy will seem much more appealing  than paying for damages if a flood does occur.  Should you suffer flood damage, take as many picture of the damage as possible that you can send to your insurance carrier.

Make sure you are protected from flooding, the next time you get a quote for homeowner’s insurance make sure the company offers flood insurance as well, since not all companies have that feature.  If you haven’t considered getting flood insurance before, think it over and call us at MassDrive for a quote!

All information is from FloodSmart.

Photo By: U.S. Geological Survey

 

 

 

Satellite Radio: What Is It and Why Should You Get It?

Satellite Radio has been gaining popularity for years now, especially amongst drivers.  Although it is mainly used in the car, Satellite Radio can also be used in your home, business, boat, plane, and from your smart phone/computer.  There is also a portable device that can be purchased for when you are on the go. Unlike AM/FM radio stations that receive their signal from stationary towers, Satellite Radio stations get their signal from satellites that orbit the Earth.   The coverage provided by these satellites gives listeners the ability to travel anywhere in the country while still listening to the same station.

Until 2008, there were two satellite radio providers in the United States; Sirius Radio and XM Radio.  In 2008 the companies merged to form Sirius XM Radio.  The company offers multiple Sirius, XM, and Sirius XM package selections which all have slight differences.  The main difference is in what sports stations and talk show hosts are available, so it’s best to scan through the available channels that are listed on a package before you sign up.

The price of packages varies based on how many channels you want to have.  The most basic package is the “Select” which is $14.49 per month and has over 130 channels.  The “Premier” package has over 140 channels and costs $17.99 per month.  There is also the option to purchase an internet listening subscription which would enable subscribers to listen to the radio from their computer or smartphone.  This package is $14.49 per month and has over 130 channels.  The final option is the “All Access” package which features over 140 channels as well as the internet listening ability.  Once you decide which package is right for you, scan through the available channels and decide whether you want you package to be Sirius, XM, or a SiriusXM package which is a combination of both options.

So what are the benefits of paying for Satellite Radio when you can listen to an AM/FM station for free?  Well, there are many perks which is why SiriusXM is gaining popularity.  As was mentioned earlier, satellite signals enable a listener to travel any distance and still be able to listen to the same station.  Another major benefit is that music stations are commercial free!  There are also sports stations, comedy stations, talk and entertainment programs, news and issues, traffic/weather stations, and many more!  Listeners will also love the fact that they can create customized packages  including News, Sports and Talk, Mostly Music, Family-Friendly, All-In-One, or Sirius A La Carte.

The only con to satellite radio is that it is not free.  Other than that, it is a great way to have control over what you are listening to without hearing the same songs over and over.  With more than 140 available channels, listeners will never be bored and the commercial free music is one of the most appealing aspects of SiriusXM.  Not sure if it is right for you?  There’s no better way to find out than to listen for yourself and sign up for a free 7-day trial here.

For more information and specific channel listings, you can visit the SiriusXM website.

Photo By: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

 

Distracted Driving Awareness

Distracted driving is an ongoing issue that continues to endanger thousands of drivers each year.  Since April is distracted driving awareness month, we wanted to get some of the facts about this dangerous habit and help spread awareness.

So what is distracted driving exactly?  Basically it is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off of the wheel, or mind off of driving.  It can be an action as simple as changing the radio or reaching for something in the seat next to you.  The best example would be talking on the phone or texting while driving.  Texting is in fact one of the worst distractions facing drivers.  It takes your mind and eyes off the road as well as your hands off of the wheel.

Even if it seems like reading or sending a text is not a big deal, it takes your attention away from driving and increases the odds of an accident.  Hands-free cell phone use isn’t much safer, research has shown that even cognitive distractions hinder a driver’s ability to pick up on audio and visual cues that could potentially prevent an accident.

You may think that distracted driving is not as dangerous as it is made out to be, but the statistics related to it have proven otherwise.  Did you know that in 2010 over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the youngest and most inexperienced drivers are at risk, about 16% of distracted driving accidents involve drivers under the age of 20.

Did you also know that at any point during daylight hours, there are about 800,000 vehicles on the road being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.  That’s a lot of distraction that not only endangers the driver, but everyone else on the road as well.

Why isn’t distracted driving illegal in all states you may ask?  It’s because State law has jurisdiction over passenger car driving.   More and more states are passing tougher laws when it comes to distracted driving, and Massachusetts is one of them.  All drivers are banned from texting and junior operators are banned from any cell phone use whatsoever.  Bus drivers are also banned from any cell phone use.

What are some tips for safe driving?  The first step is being aware of what it is and the damage it can cause.  Next, be sure to avoid any and all cell phone use while driving.  If you listen to music in the car,  choose a CD or and iPod playlist that doesn’t have commercials so you don’t have to change the channel or skip songs.   You can also take the Pledge to drive phone-free today and encourage family and friends to do the same.  Distracted driving is entirely preventable and the accidents it causes are avoidable.  Protect yourself and others on the road by taking all precautions to avoid distractions on the road.

Want to keep your car safe from distracted drivers on the road? MassDrive offers more information on car insurance.

All information and statistics were obtained from the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving.

Photo By: OregonDOT

Renting a Car? Read Up On Our Advice!

 

Renting a car can be quite a hassle, and confusing if you have never done it before.  There are so many questions to ask; Do I really need their insurance? How can I get the best price? How far in advance should I make a reservation? We’ve done some research to answer all of these questions and more so that you’re prepared next time you have to rent a car.

Making a reservation?  It is wise to do this at least a week in advance to ensure you get the car you are looking for before prices are jacked up too high.  It’s similar with any travel reservation, the sooner the better.  Be sure to compare rates on rental car agencies and don’t forget to look at websites such as Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity which are great sources to compare prices and make sure you are getting the best deal.  If you find a great deal through them, you may be able to get an even better deal if you go through the company directly.

When it comes to rental car insurance, policies vary depending on the agency you go through.  Certain companies require drivers to purchase coverage, typically costing $10 per day. However, many personal insurance policies cover rental cars as well.  Be sure to read through your auto policy or call your insurance agent to make sure you are covered.  If your personal insurance doesn’t cover rental cars, you may still be in luck.  Some credit card companies offer benefits including collision and theft coverage on rental cars.  Again, be sure to call your credit card company and research this as it applies to you.  Some credit card companies also mandate that you give them 45 days notice before your rental date to ensure that coverage is valid.  If you aren’t covered under either of those companies, it may be worth it to get their insurance.

Inspect the car before you drive off the lot.  Rental cars have scratches and dings on them but you want to make sure they are documented before you go anywhere to avoid getting blamed for them.

Refuel the tank before you bring the car back.  While it is an option to return the car with an empty tank, the rental company will charge you much more for the gas than a gas station would.

Avoid airports.  Car Rental agencies that are located in an airport will typically cost a lot more than a local car rental.  Most charge an “airport fee” that will be added on to your bill and can be 10% or more of the total price.  Avoid this by scouting out rental agencies in the area that you could take a cab to.  Depending on how much a taxi would be to the closest one, this might be your best bet.

To save some money, rent a compact car if you can.  Not only are they better on gas, they are cheaper to rent in general.  There also tend to be less compact cars in a fleet of rental cars, so if they are out of compacts, you may be able to get an upgrade for the same price.

Choosing one driver will also save you money.  Rental Agencies will charge more if multiple people are driving, as it is deemed a higher insurance risk.  Adding an additional driver can cost up to $25 depending on the agency you use.  Your best bet is to choose one person to drive the entire trip.

Make sure there are no hidden fees.  There are a few things that car rental agencies will try and charge you for which is usually in the fine print.  First off, make sure you are on time when you return the car!  Agencies can charge you almost a full day’s fee if you are even a few hours late!  Be sure to look out for charges in relation to mileage.  Some companies will allow for unlimited mileage, while others will provide a limit and charge you a fee for each mile you are over per day.  Some agencies also have limits to how many miles you can drive in general and do not allow you to cross certain state borders in their car.  You may also incur a drop-off charge if you drop off your vehicle at any agency location other than the original one where you picked it up.  You should definitely ask the agents about this if you aren’t planning on returning the car to the pick-up location.  Make sure to ask the agent at the counter or call and ask about this to be exactly sure as to where and how long you can drive.

This is definitely a lot to remember, but the most important thing to take away is to ask questions.  If you’re reading over a rental contract and don’t know what a certain fee is or aren’t sure what the mileage restrictions are, ask the agent!  They are there to answer any of your questions before you drive off the lot and are a valuable resource.  Above all stay safe behind the wheel, especially when it is a vehicle you are unfamiliar with.  Renting a car is a great option, but there is a lot of risk that comes along with it so make sure you are covered and prepared before you hit the streets!

Sources:

http://www.rentalcaradvice.com/

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/23471992/ns/today-money/t/secrets-renting-car-without-overspending/#.T4M5aL80FuU

 

Photo by: vichie81

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