Things to Know Before Renting a Car in California


Renting a car isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It can be more challenging in a bustling location like California, with a high population and urbanized structure. From the cost to the vehicle condition, there are many specifics one must consider. Every car rental agency and locality has its own rules one must be acquainted with. However, some generic hacks can improve your car rental experience. In this blog, we will uncover a helpful guide that can enable a better car rental experience for you in California. 


How Old Must I be to Rent a Car in California?

We started the guide with this question for informative purposes. While car rental services are available for everyone, only people aged 18 or above can execute the renting procedure. The older you are, the more likely you will be considered suitable for such facilities. All across California, the renter must be at least 18 years old to fulfill the formalities that come with the process.
However, this number can vary from company to company, with some finding it a suitable criterion while others deeming 21 or above an apt age for car renting. 

Compare and Research 

There are countless suitable options; approximately 3,700 companies in the Californian market alone. That is a very optimistic number to choose from; you just have to find the one that fits your criteria. Every company has a distinct set of policies for renting out cars, from mileage to fuel and condition. Start researching at least a month before you are set to go. Pick out any potential companies that seem convenient and have a reliable reputation. Explore the per-day rates and calculate your overall cost of the duration.

Designate a budget for the trip and assign a percentage to each portion, including food, accommodation, purposes, etc. Keep more saved up for traveling and car expenses than intended. Collect reviews, go online, do whatever you can to gather information, and once all the suitable requirements have been met, make a booking. For example, Domestic Auto Rentals is a reliable car-renting company located just 5 minutes away from the Palm Springs Airport, making it a very suitable option. Awareness and alertness are two very important characteristics to have in such scenarios. This attention to detail will simultaneously get you the best deal and experience. 

kia av6 2022 for rent at domestic auto rentals

Inspect Routes 

So let us assume a situation: you have planned a trip to California. Everything is sorted, from where you stay to the activities on your itinerary. However, the local transport options are either costly or inconvenient. In such scenarios, renting a car is a cost-effective and comfortable option. Internet and online maps are always available for people who want to explore independently.
Concerning the rented vehicle, you can fully control unplanned pit stops, fuel usage, and more factors. Adding the element of total independence to your stay’s duration. So, you must make the most of this opportunity and get acquainted with any local routes or shortcuts connected to your itinerary. Your search results should be filled with topics like “The fastest route from point X to point Y,” “What is the shortest route from place Y to place Z?” or even “The nearest hotel to Airport XYZ.”
Building familiarity with the paths will help you save time and money. So make sure you know your way around before landing in California for the respective period. 

Align the Rental with Your Itinerary                     

Ask yourself questions like these when renting a car: What type of car would suit the terrain I plan to drive in? Can it fit my accommodation needs? Does it help me efficiently utilize the fuel? Etc. Such services give you control over a certain cost, so ensuring the vehicle’s safety is extremely important. The cost of renting a car can be between $20 to $200 per day, depending on if the company is reliable (like us); this knowledge alone tells you what a fixed budget should be for every day you choose to utilize.

You will eventually cover everything from the smallest scratch to the biggest damage. Take pictures and collect visual proof of the car before using it, and then collect similar material before returning the car to help track dues smartly. Choose the type of car you need based on the designated passengers, purposes, and pit stops to make informed decisions. The more in tune with the car you are, the more secure the procedure will be. 

Examine & Assess the Rental Policies 

Skimming through rental websites can help you collect valuable data and make better choices. For instance, take this offer by Domestic Auto Rentals promoting their compact rental. This page contains information on how users can access this car and which facilities will be included in the package. Rental companies usually list their conditions, such as advance payment, insurance coverage, minimum passenger limit, etc. There is a variety of things you need to watch out for when agreeing to a company’s rental conditions, including: 

  • Credit Card Policy
  • Fuel and mileage
  • Age and License terms
  • Reservations and drivers
  • Late Returns and Cancellations
  • Upgrades
  • Tolls and Taxes
  • Sanitation and Hygiene

It wouldn’t hurt to confirm some things and ensure you are stepping on a valid and agreeable ground with the company. Only agree to what seems feasible and convenient and avoid overpaying for things you can manage yourself.

Make a Checklist 

Make a pre and post-checklist for your rental usage. Some important things you need to write down are as follows: 

  • External Car Inspection: Headlights, taillights, tires, engine, carburetor, trunk, door handles, roof, bumper, mirrors, license plate
  • Internal Car Inspection: dashboard, seats, car’s internal settings, buttons for ventilation, AC, and any other features promised in the car’s package 
  • Select the pickup and dropoff points along with dates before signing agreements.
  • Use a credit card for renting instead of cash 
  • Booking comes with cheaper prices, so be sure to book your car at least 15 days before visiting
  • Take visual proof of the vehicle before and after use to support any claims if needed
  • Fill up the gas yourself to ensure transparency
  • Check the driver requirements beforehand to confirm and collect relevant documents 
  • Be mindful of the speed limits and local laws to ensure a smooth driving experience
  • Be thorough with the paperwork and keep- your eyes open for any satisfying clause
  • Familiarize yourself with the car’s features thoroughly before using it
  • Leave no area uninspected when picking up the car for safety reasons 
  • Confirm roadside assistance and similar features associated

Must-have Documents 

Car renting requires a specific set of documents like any other legal procedure. In this case, you will only need the basics: your identity card, verified driver’s license, passport, credit card and bank account information, etc. The rental company you choose will give you a precise list of materials or information they require from you. Verify that list for your local travels; in case of international traveling, pack all the necessary documents alongside the ones mentioned above to avoid any authorization issues. 

Local Laws to Be Aware Of 

People observe basic laws and regulations once they obtain their driver’s license. Factors include speed limit, turns, average distance between vehicles, crosswalks, abstaining from device use, etc. Driving ethics must be observed regardless of the car’s authority. But when a legal edge is involved, the need becomes more emphasized. Please make sure that you are following some additional laws, including:

  • The average/minimum weight limit a vehicle is allowed to carry
  • High and low-beam light conditions 
  • Pedestrian rights 
  • Roundabout and intersections
  • Driving through residential or urbanized areas 

There is nothing out of the ordinary about driving through California. However, being careful could save you from a lot of stress. 

Did you attentively read through our guide? If you did, now you can rent a car without any hassles. From Compacts to Hybrids and Sedans, you can rent anything. Book a rental like a pro with Domestic Auto Rentals; we aim to provide seamless car rental services. Visit our website and get moving now!


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