No matter your reason for extending your vacation, it would be easy to assume you can keep using your rental car until you're ready to bring it back. But keeping a rental car later than agreed without notifying the agency is never a good idea.
When you sign a rental agreement, you promise to bring the car back to the agency at a specific time and date. Failure to do so is a breach of contract, giving the rental company the right to charge extra.
Car rental agencies often have a short grace period of about 30 minutes, so you usually won't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic or a last-minute stop to fill the tank. But, if you are any later than this, your account will start racking up fees. Some companies charge an hourly fee and others make late customers pay by the day.
If you want to avoid an expensive bill at the end of your trip, it's best to ask the rental company for an extension. But, do all rental companies allow for extensions? And how do they work? This article will answer those questions, so keep reading!
Can You Extend Your Car Rental?
Before you lengthen your trip at the last minute, ask your car rental company if they can give you an extension. You'll still have to pay to modify your rental agreement and the extra days of rent, but you won't have to pay penalties for coming back late.
Below you'll find some of the policies of popular rental car companies.
At Airport Van Rental, our policies for extensions vary according to the location and type of rental. However, late returns are generally subject to a higher rate along with a $25 extension fee. Moreover, after-hour returns at rental locations or the airport have a $20-30 parking fee.
Alamo has a 29-minute grace period for daily rentals. If the vehicle is returned within two hours of the time it's due back, you will be charged an hourly late fee. After two hours, you'll be charged an extra day of rent.
You can call your rental location to extend the rental period and avoid these late fees.
Avis requires customers who have already picked up a vehicle to extend their rental period by phone. They charge a service fee of $10 to modify the agreement, and your per-day rate will likely change.
Failure to notify Avis of the extension within seven hours of the original return time will result in a $10/day late fee. Moreover, Avis will place a hold on your credit or debit card to cover the extra charges. The company will release the hold when you return the car and will then charge the entire rental cost.
Budget has a 29-minute grace period for daily rentals. Customers who return vehicles more than 30 minutes late will have to pay an hourly late fee. After 90 minutes, a daily late fee will apply.
If you don't call to extend the rental after seven hours, you'll need to pay an additional $10/day late fee. The company will also place a hold on your credit card for the anticipated charges.
Dollar has a similar policy as some of the previously mentioned companies with a 29-minute grace period. After this, the renter must pay for an extra day of rent.
Enterprise allows extensions, and the process isn't too complicated. You can contact Enterprise's customer support number by phone for airport rentals, which are also subject to extra airport tax.
If you rent from a non-airport branch, you'll need to call the rental location's office directly. Your rental agreement has the phone number at the top.
The branch will need to place an additional authorization on your card to extend, but the good news is that your per-day rate will likely decrease, especially if your rental period is longer than a week or month.
Hertz has a grace period of 59 minutes, after which the renter is charged by the hour. The hourly rate is calculated at one-fifth the daily rental rate.
How To Achieve a Car Rental Extension
The steps for extending your rental vary depending on where you are in your journey. Below we'll consider what to do if you want to change your rental reservation before your trip, at pick up, or while you already have the vehicle in your possession.
Before Your Trip
If your itinerary changes before the start of your trip, see if you can modify your reservation on the rental company's website. If not, call the company to ask about an extension.
Usually, modifying the pick-up or return dates changes the daily price of the rental. If your trip is coming up in the next few days or weeks, the new rate will likely be much more expensive than your previous one.
To avoid a much higher daily rate, you may be able to ask a representative if you can keep your current reservation and extend it later. Moreover, you may qualify for long-term rental discounts if you need to add several days or weeks to your reservation.
At the Pick-Up Counter
If you know that you'll need to keep the car longer at the time of pick up, let the representative at the rental counter know. They will tell you if you can keep the car you have rented for longer or whether you need to return it and pick up a different vehicle for the extra days.
In either case, the company will charge the additional days at the last-minute rate, which is more expensive than if you had booked the entire trip in advance.
But you should be sure to ask about any specials that may not apply, such as a weekend van rental deal if you are now using the vehicle all weekend.
During Your Trip
Even if your travel plans change last minute, you should contact the rental agency as soon as possible. You may be able to do so online, but the fastest way is likely to call the office directly.
They may allow you to keep the current car if no one else has booked it. If not, they may ask you to bring it back and pick up another model.
In either case, you'll likely have to pay a fee to modify the rental contract and the additional days of rent at a higher rate.
Seamlessly Extend Your Car Rental with AVR
Life happens, and sometimes you can't bring your rental car back as planned. But, now that you know how to get a car rental extension, you have no reason to stress out. You can avoid paying extra rental fees by letting the company know as soon as possible, allowing you to extend your trip as needed.
Plus, you can find more ways to save money on your next vacation if you use this AVR van rental discount code to book your vehicle!