GN Focus | Auto Rentals and Leasing

Evaluate your needs before hiring a car

Hidden costs and insurance extras can be frustrating

  • By Ahmed Abood Al Boasy | Gulf News Report
  • Published: 00:00 June 21, 2011
  • GN Focus

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Ahmed Abood Al Boasy, CEO of Fast Rent A Car

With an ever-increasing number of car rental companies in the UAE, and an abundance of decisions to ponder upon regarding make and model, knowing which company will best cater to your needs can be a daunting task. Hidden costs and insurance extras can be frustrating when you haven't budgeted for them, so being well informed before selecting your vehicle is essential.

First and foremost is the price. The majority of car rental agencies offer daily and weekly options, depending on your needs. This comes generally at a basic price and often doesn't include the likes of mileage beyond a stipulated distance or additional insurance cover. Calculating the mileage you need will give a clearer idea of the final price. Before agreeing on the additional insurance, examine your own insurance policy and credit card agreements as they may cover you for collision damage and other incidents. Opting for a specific car should be determined by how you plan to use it. A smaller car is ideal for short trips or as a replacement to your own vehicle while it is being repaired; larger saloons serve a greater purpose on longer journeys, when added comfort is worth the added expense.

In a competitive market, the need for car hire companies to offer special deals gives the consumer a slight advantage, and many rental agencies provide economy cars at reduced rates during off-peak months of the year. Shopping around for weekend deals can provide a healthy saving. Car rental agency websites frequently ask for promotional codes, which can be found through online searches, and can present additional reductions in cost. Important aspects of a rental agreement to consider include the agency's petrol fill-up policy. If possible, avoid pre-paying for petrol as this is frequently charged at a much higher rate than is locally available. Ensure the vehicle is returned with a full tank to avoid unnecessary extras.

Be aware of other restrictions that may apply. Those under the age of 25, and occasionally senior citizens, may be subject to higher rates. You should also review any restrictions on where the vehicle can be taken. Regularly, crossing borders requires added insurance — for customers renting cars in the UAE, this may be especially applicable if travelling to Oman, as some rental agencies will not include this feature. Consider also whether you have any special requirements, like a satellite navigation system or a child safety seat — some companies arrange them too.

Two final suggestions for a successful transaction are to return the vehicle on time and to read the contract carefully. Being informed prior to your trip can save you money and ensure you drive off in the vehicle best suited to your requirements. Renting a car is the perfect way to explore the UAE, so beginning your journey is only a few clicks away.

— The author is the CEO of Fast Rent A Car

GN Focus