Advice for Returning a Rental Car After Hours

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Depending on where you rent a car and when you return it, you might run into a situation where you need to return the car when the rental company is not open. Now this won’t be a problem if you are renting from a major airport, because many of those locations are open 24 hours or at least during all hours when flights are scheduled. But that’s not always the case at smaller airports or non-airport locations. Particularly if you are taking an early morning flight and arriving early to get through security, you might just have to park the car and return the keys and paperwork in a drop box. In that case, the rental car company will process your paperwork and rental charges later that day and either e-mail or mail you a receipt. This is generally no big deal, but it’s a good idea to take a couple precautions to avoid any chance of extra fees. First, if you have a phone with a camera, take a quick photo of the gas gauge and odometer and be sure you fill in those blanks on the return slip at the drop box. While it’s not likely that there would be a discrepancy, it never hurts to have a photo just in case. Also, when you park the car, make sure you find a good spot and stay well within the lines. If you park haphazardly and someone else pulls in and gives the car a nice dent or door ding, then the rental car company could claim that damage occurred while you had the car.

It’s also a good idea to keep your rental car confirmation handy along with a phone number for the rental car company. If you are flying into a smaller airport and are going to be significant delayed, especially if your flight is going to land after midnight, call the rental car company to make sure they will be open when your flight lands. If they know you are still coming, they can often make sure someone is available to handle your rental.

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