Rental car stupid question


I have never in my 34 years rented a car, so you will have to excuse this stupid question. Do you pay for the rental AFTER or before you rent?? Feel free to mock me and laughing is acceptable too.


when you pick it up.Who are you renting from?


Depends on the rental company. They take your credit card and then at the end you either drop the keys in a box when you drop the car OR you are present and they do a “inspection” of the car and make sure you haven’t damaged it. You do a pre-inspection as well, so make sure you write down all the dings and dents. They then charge you the final amount. Most co. require deposits BUT, check with your insurance and the credit card you are using if they cover you for an accident or damage. This way you don’t have to pay the extra fee for the insurance to the rental company. They will try and get you to sign up for it, so it’s good to know what your insurance and credit card company cover before you spend extra $$!

I think if you book the car on line, you can pay in advance and get a discount, not sure you’ll have to check the co. you are using website.


Simply Wheelz…Thank for answering. I thought it was after you returned it…lol I had it in my head that they used your CC to hold the reservation and charged you when you returned it.


When we have rented cars (usually from Alamo), we pay when we return the car. You need a credit card to pick up the car, but the charges are not made until it is returned. That way they can charge you should it be returned late, damage to vehicle, returned without fuel refill, etc.


I should have mentioned I use Enterprise and its the same policy.


My insurance covers the rental. This agency is new and a no frills ones…I think I get charged upon return for some reason…Maybe I should call the number on my confirmation. E&B’s Mom used them and I pmed her , but she must not be around today…


yes it’s mostly deposit and the remaining on return, cuz like Daisee said that way they can charge you should you return it late, damage to vehicle, returned without fuel refill, etc.


I’ve only ever rented from Enterprise and even though they require you to use a credit card to reserve the car we have never paid until we returned the car. Some companies have policies AGAINST using Visa, Mastercard debit cards etc. I never used a debit card when renting a car but noticed everytime I went to Enterprise lots of signs and little notes saying specific policies about debit cards.


I don’t think this place takes them either. I have my special emergency CC…I’ll use that.


They have always taken my credit card number upon pickup but charged after I returned. They may have put a deposit on the credit card, not sure.

But, check with your credit card company, my master card has a car rental perk. Supposedly if I was in an accident, I do not have to take the extra insurance, the credit card company will pick up what my regular insurance will not cover. Fortunately I don’t know alot about this as I’ve never had to use it!


Dana, I was 44yo before I rented a car so don’t feel like you have asked a stupid question.


We rented several cars over the years because we only bought smaller compact cars. When we went on vacation we rented a van for comfort. It was cheaper to rent this for one week a year than to buy one!


Dana, check their policies online if you can or call them up.
Some of these no frills company have extra things they ask for.
I have rented thru some different companies before and some have asked for a copy of our airline tickets, always bring your DL and Car Ins form (I photocopy mine and bring it with me), and some even take a $200 deposit for any incidentals or if anything, on a CC and places a HOLD on it.

The best thing to do is always fill up for the return, no matter how much gas was in it when you picked up (IMO), because if you bring back with any less gas, they charge you a FULL Tanks worth on your CC (never has happened to me thank god, but they tell you when you pick up the car).

I always use my debit card to pay for my car. AND it’s seems to be easier to go thru a travel agent and have it pre-paid if you can, if not prepare to have all your info with you.
One year, I rented on my own and picked up the car from Alamo, right inside the main gate there of M.K. area and they gave me a hard time when I jumped on the shuttle the next morning to pick up the car, because I didnt have my airline ticket on me. Sometimes they hold your return air ticket so I guess you dont flee the state with their car (this is IF you dont have a MAJOR CC, I think).

I have rented with some different companies and my preference has to be ALAMO, for service, cars, price, etc…
The year before when I rented with DOLLAR, it was horrible!

But usually I pick ALAMO and rent right from the Airport. You go down to the lower level and check in at the counter and when your done, you go outside in the garage and PICK your car from the class of car that you booked.

Hope I helped.


I’ve rented cars for work and the credit card is always charged when I return it. Many rental car agencies do not take a debit card when you pick up the vehicle, but they may allow you to pay with it when you return the car. Always best to check their web site or give them a call for the up to date info.


another ? that is something is should know seeing as how we have rented a car before…but i don’t know, so i will ask! LOL

if your rental breaks down and you have not paid for the additional roadside assistance add on that they try to sell you…do you still get assistance?

do you just call a 800 number and they bring you another car??

or what???

how does that work???

i mean i honestly think that that would be part of the “inclusives”. that’s sort of why you rent a car in the first place, right?

their RSA add-on is for like flat tire help, or towing for free.

i should add: we are renting from $Dollar


Do you have AAA? That would solve some of your problem.


Hey Dana!!

I rent a car for work almost every week and I do it all over the country. I rent from Hertz, so there is probably a difference from the big national rental car companies and local company renting almost exclusively to tourists. A couple of basic rules:

  1. Do not use a debit card. They will put a big hold on it and charge you daily, if they allow a debit card at all.

  2. Call in advance (know you will) and verify when they charge (before or after) and what the “security deposit” if any, and if they require you to take their insurance for the lower rate.

  3. When you have to return the car to not be charged an additional day or fee.

  4. How long they will hold the car, if your flight is delayed. And, if they will guarantee
    your car if you are early.

  5. Very important!! What is their policy on gas. Specifically, will the car be full when
    you get it? Do you have to fill it up before you drop it off? If you do not fill it up
    before you drop it off, what is the price per gallan they will charge you? Do not buy the pre-paid gas option so you can return the car without filling it up. It charges a full tank regardless of how much gas is in the car.

  6. What maintenance and service guarantees do they provide.

  7. Can you get a non-smoking car (if wanted)

I am not promoting Hertz, but for example the big companies have: Great GPS (optional), You do not have to fill up before you return the car, Hertz charges the same price as the gas stations for gas, If you have a problem with the car, lock your keys in it, anything, they will come out at no charge and fix or replace your vehicle.

Just a word of caution, I know you will call ahead and triple check, be very detailed in your questioning of small local rental companies.




no, we don’t have AAA. but i was thinking it wasn’t really a “problem”, just that it was part of the whole deal when you rent a car. and wondered how exactly it worked…BUT!! :C)

i found the info. for “if you have any mechanical problem call 800-xxx-xxxx” on the website…with a bit of digging.
(i wrote the number down, just don’t feel like looking it up right now! LOL)

we use our Amex card to rent and have the rental car ins. on it.(it does cost an extra $25 per rental, but that is cheaper than getting the ins. the rental co. offers, and it covers more).

for someone like me who doesn’t drive out of town (except to go to WDW)and knows how to change a tire…AAA is not really something i would think would be worth while. if i was to break down, or need something car related…i would call DH!:laugh:


Has anyone ever rented from Alamo at the Dolphin? We are thinking of renting a car for only part of our week. I figured we can take the bus to the Dolphin and pickup the car. Any suggestions? Also has anyone used any other nearby company like enterprise that will come and pick you up? Will they come back and get the car too? We are staying at OKW for a week and then a few extra days at POR so we need the car for the change of resorts…I really don’t want to be the person dragging all my luggage on the bus to DTD and then off to POR:blink: We will also be going other places during our stay so the rental is not just for that purpose. Thanks!