We all have been in the situation of needing to rent a car for one reason or another. Whether it be needing a set of wheels for vacation, a business trip, or your car is in the shop being worked on. At the same time being ripped of is the last thing you want as well. Research is going to be the key to avoid getting ripped off. Follow these simple rules and you will be good to go.

1. Before doing a Google search to find the best rental place check the local Better Business Bureau out first to make sure the rental companies are reputable. This is a little time consuming, but worth the effort in the end.

2. Check to see if there are any specials or coupons available. There might be a discount for signing up online, a weekly/monthly special, a business person’s discount, or even a seasonal special. If your car is in the shop bring a copy of the work order to the car rental place. You probably will be able to get a discount because most rental places will give you one when your car is being worked on. Why pay full price when you don’t have to?

3. Remember the rental car is not yours and treat it as such. If you’re a smoker check to see if there is a car that you can smoke in. These are very rare these days. If you are not able to smoke in the car then don’t. Similarly if you have pets do not allow them in the rental car. A lot of people have pet allergies. If the rental place has to get the car cleaned and detailed for any reason they will pass that cost on to you, which can be very expensive.

4. Rent the size of car that you need and no larger. SUV’s and trucks are more expensive.

5. Read the rental contract completely especially the fine print. You do not want to have any surprises when you return the car. The only response you will get is you agreed to it in the teeny tiny print that we did not even tell you about when you signed the contract.

6. If you’re going to be doing long distance driving find out if there is a mileage allotment. You will be charged for anything over that allotment.

7. Check with your insurance company to see if you’re covered for car rentals. If not then you might want to look at the insurance offered by the car rental place. Your insurance may also offer some type of reimbursement for the car rental as well.

8. Finally be sure you return the car in the same condition when you first got it. This consists of any damage not on the damage check list you filled out before you left with the car. It also includes the gas tank being at the same spot you left with.