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Can you upgrade your hire car at the depot?

It isn’t unusual for rental car providers to offer an upgrade when you arrive to collect your hire car, but it’s important to read the small print before agreeing to accept an upgrade.

When you’re ready to pick up the car you booked at the rental counter, there may be a chance the staff will tell you that your supplier has run out of vehicles in the category you’ve chosen where and offer you a bigger car as an alternative for free. VroomVroomVroom has put together a checklist of the important points you need to remember when offered a car rental upgrade.

5 things to keep in mind when offered a hire car upgrade

  • Don’t fall for it easily

    If you receive an upgrade offer on a higher-category vehicle for no additional cost, ask for the overall price of your car hire, since the amount you’ll be quoted at the counter is only for the upgrade. Make sure you fully understand how the upgrade price works before agreeing. Confirm with your rental supplier whether it’s a daily extra or a single price for your whole trip to be sure. It’s also worth noting to review your contract before signing.

  • Mileage

    If you booked an economy car and the upgrade you receive is a sports car, you’ll probably end up paying more in fuel costs. Be cautious of how mileage differs when given an upgrade and ensure it will not affect the budget you’ve allowed for car hire.

  • Insurance

    Know that an upgrade can sometimes result in a higher insurance premium. While this is not a bad thing as you’re driving a better car, do keep in mind that this can cost you considerably more money in insurance.

  • Driving difficulty

    Assess your familiarity and driving ability. If you’re used to driving a small car, but are offered an SUV, the extra space may be tempting, but navigating narrow and tiny streets in a bigger vehicle may cause you some problems if you’re not used to a larger vehicle.

  • Location awareness

    To ensure that you end up with the car you want or an ideal upgrade, always consider the location you are hiring from and the types of vehicles offered by the rental supplier in that specific location.

Important Information

On getting a free car rental upgrade

Whether you’re looking to rent a car or already renting from a popular location, chances are you will get an upgrade as most travellers will not usually book the higher class vehicles. Keep in mind that if your rental supplier doesn’t have the compact or economy car that you originally chose, the supplier will be more likely to offer you a free upgrade just to keep you satisfied.