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Understanding the Car Rental Reservation Process

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There are plenty of reasons why you might need to reserve a rental car. Maybe you’re going on a trip for business or pleasure, could use some help with a move or need an extra set of wheels for a few days.

Understanding the reservation system before renting a car can help you avoid unexpected bumps in the road. You don’t want to start your trip getting frustrated that the rental isn’t ready or finding out you need additional paperwork.

To help smooth the way, we run through each step of the Hertz car rental journey, from choosing the right vehicle to booking, pickup and drop-off.

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Making a Reservation With Hertz

It’s easy to make your reservation with Hertz. You can do it:

  • In person at a Hertz counter.
  • Over the phone.
  • Online.

Each step is straightforward. And don’t worry if you need help when booking online just call Hertz and a representative will talk you through it.

When you reserve a rental car, start by selecting a pickup point. This could be in another city, state or even country. You’ll also need to designate the date and approximate pickup time. Then, put in your drop-off date and time and note if the location is the same as the pickup point.

From there, you will be able to choose the type of car to book, according to your needs. You’ll also be able to decide whether you want to prepay for the rental before you arrive or at the pickup location before you get the keys.

Picking Up Your Hertz Rental Car

When you arrive at the Hertz counter or branch to pick up your car, there are a few things you should know to make your experience as quick and stress-free as possible.

Make sure you arrive with all the relevant information you’ll need:

  • Your booking confirmation.
  • Your ID.
  • Your credit card.

The customer service advisor will need to see your driver’s license and credit card to make sure everything matches the booking.

Please turn up for your reservation on time. This ensures you’ll get everything you need within your slot, giving you enough time to ask questions, check your booking and identify any issues.

When picking up the car, it’s a good idea to check over the rental agreement before you sign and ask questions about any additional optional services offered, such as prepaid toll passes or prepaid fuel cards to get you around. It’s also recommended to walk around the vehicle and take note of any existing scratches or small dents. If you do find something, make sure it’s photographed and properly documented by the customer service advisor before you drive away.

Returning Your Hertz Rental Car

Your trip is over and now back to reality. First things first, handing back the rental car. Before returning your vehicle to the Hertz branch or counter, it’s courteous to fill up the gas tank for the next customer.

Bring your vehicle to the agreed location, allowing plenty of time for traffic and end-of-rental checks. Any applicable fees or additional charges will be confirmed at this time. Once all the paperwork is done and the car has been checked, you’re good to go.

Understanding Hertz’s Reservation Policies

When you book your rental, you will get a copy of the reservation policies. These include how to change or cancel your booking, how to pay or get a receipt/invoice and what to do if you need a refund.

Any changes or cancellations can be done through your profile on the Hertz website. If you wish to change the card you’ll be using to pay for your reservation, the booking will need to be canceled and re-booked. Please try to cancel at least 48 hours before to receive a full refund.

Any refunds will be made within five to 10 working days back into the account for the card on file.  

Hertz Car Rental Reservation FAQ

Can I rent a car for someone else?

No, the primary driver and booking contact needs to be the person who will be picking up and paying for the car. You can add additional drivers if you need to, by modifying your booking online.

Can you cancel a rental car reservation?

Yes. If you no longer need the car or want to rebook with a different card, please do so at least 48 hours before pickup. Cancellation fees may be incurred if less than 48 hours notice is given.

Is it better to reserve a rental car in advance?

Yes, advance booking ensure you’ll get the car you want, when you want it. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

When is the best time to reserve a rental car?

If possible, try not to reserve a car first thing in the morning or just before the branch closes. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon are recommended.

Are car rental reservations guaranteed?

The make and model of the car booked are not guaranteed, but a similar style will be provided.

Can a car rental company cancel your reservation?

Hertz will not cancel your rental car reservation; however, cancellation fees, late fees and no-show fees will be charged accordingly.

Ready to reserve your car? AAA members can save up to 20% on Hertz rentals.

Originally published on


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2 Thoughts on “Understanding the Car Rental Reservation Process

  1. Great topic! However, this article would have been a lot more informative if you had delved a little more deeply. For example, you could have covered the ins and outs of the various optional insurance coverages (collision, liability, etc.), which ones are worthwhile and why. As well, prepaying for gas is rarely in your best interest – discussing that topic would have been helpful. Also what to do if your rental car breaks down (call the rental agency or AAA?). Would love to see a more in-depth part 2 on this topic!

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