5 Things New Parents Need to Know When Renting a Car

5 Things New Parents Need to Know When Renting a Car

Hitting the road for the first time as a new parent? There are a few more things to think about now that there’s a baby on board. For instance, can you rent a car with a car seat? You can, but there are other options to consider as well. As you get ready for your trip, remember that a little planning can go a long way. From making sure you have the right gear to saving time wherever you can, follow these tips to keep your family safe and comfortable around every corner. 

Choose the right rental car classification

First and foremost, be sure to reserve the best car size for your family. Even if you only have one small “plus one” on board, you may wish to size up for a larger vehicle that fits your child as well as all of the accompanying luggage.

Car rental companies typically let you pick a type of vehicle rather than a specific make and model. Here’s a rundown of what you usually have to choose from:

  • Compact
  • Mid-size
  • Full-size
  • Premium
  • Luxury
  • Minivan
  • Convertible
  • Mid-size SUV
  • Full-size SUV
  • Full-size van

The rental company also gives you a sample car for each category so you have a point of reference when making a decision.

Map out the rental car counters at airports in advance

When you’re traveling via airplane with a newborn, the baby is bound to get fussy and cranky at some point (in fact, you might feel the same way!). Add in the potential for jet lag, and you may be ready to crash by the time the plane lands. But if you’re renting a car from the airport, know what to expect ahead of time.

In a best-case scenario, your terminal will be close to the car rental counter — which is very common in smaller airports. But in larger airports, you may have to take a shuttle in order to reach the rental cars. Figure out the location before you land, so you can prepare for the amount of effort that lies ahead. And if you’re traveling with a partner, you could opt for one of you to go pick up the rental car while the other waits with the baby. 

Join your rental car company’s rewards program

Long lines at the rental counter are painful even when you’re by yourself. Add a baby into the mix and you may be staving off a meltdown without stepping out of line. By joining the rental car company’s rewards program, you may get to skip ahead and head directly to an agent. Some companies also let you check in online or at a kiosk and avoid talking to a human altogether. 

Create a plan for car seats

With a baby on board, you’ll want to make sure they are securely strapped in with a safe car seat. Do rental cars have car seats? Yes, you can rent a car seat directly through the company. It will be ready and waiting for you when you check in. While car rentals do rent car seats, the employee can’t help you install it; you’ll have to master that step on your own.

Which is why some people opt to bring their own car seats from home. If you’re flying before renting a car, you can check it as baggage. Alternatively, you could use a local baby gear rental service, although this might add to your wait time at the airport. 

How much does it cost to rent a car seat? Expect a daily fee of between $10 and $15 a day. Some companies do cap the total cost at $60 to $70. Checked bags on a flight typically range between $30 and $200, depending on your total number of bags. So the better financial decision can vary depending on individual circumstances.

boy in a carseat

Check your insurance coverage for the rental car

A final tip for new parents renting a car is to make sure you have insurance on your rental car. You don’t want an accident to wipe out your savings, especially when transitioning into the new stage of parenthood.

Avail’s car sharing service is ideal because it offers coverage from Allstate. For borrowers, this coverage is excess over any other insurance that may exist.*

If Avail’s insurance pays to repair the damage and you are found to be at fault for damage to the vehicle, you may be responsible for a $500 deductible. If another insurance policy (e.g. your personal auto or credit card policies) pays to repair the damage, then they may have different deductibles that apply. For questions about whether your personal auto policy or credit card policy may apply, please contact your insurance provider or a licensed insurance agent.

*Through June 19, 2022, Avail will provide primary liability coverage for borrowers. Effective June 20, 2022, Avail’s insurance coverage for borrowers will be excess over any other insurance that may exist.