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Planning on renting a car? Here is what to expect

Car rental companies have announced they will deep clean all high touch surfaces in vehicles, among other changes.

Anna Ben Yehuda

We've investigated how airline and train companies are coping with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as they slowly begin to amp up their offerings and cater to folks' desire to start traveling again. But what about car rental shops? How are they planning on keeping customers' safety as their top concern while still providing stellar service?

As a general statement, companies of all stripes—from Budget to Hertz, Enterprise and Avis—have assured the public that they will extra-thoroughly sanitize all high-touch points. The latter category includes touch screens, steering wheels, radio and climate controls, steering column controls, cup holders, door handles, air conditioning vents, gas caps and doors, trunk grab handles, lock and unlock controls and, of course, seat belts and buckles.

More specifically, Avis and Budget, which are owned by the same company, have guaranteed an immediate deep clean right after a car is returned. Although pre-COVID-19 the vehicles would get cleaned before each new rental, the two companies have announced extra measures that will have them clean and disinfect autos "after each customer return and before our employees get in the vehicle to move around our lots." The sanitation measures that the two businesses have announced will be the norm across all the locations—a change from a few months ago, when individual shops had the ability to choose which disinfecting products to use depending on area availability.

To limit contact between the staff and prospective drivers, the companies will also invest in paperless rental agreements after customers show their driver's licenses through closed windows—as opposed to directly handing them to lot guards. When returning your car, you'll be asked to simply drive it back and expect a digital receipt as opposed to a paper one.

If renting a car through Hertz, you might want to consider their newly introduced neighborhood delivery and pick-up service to completely avoid heading to a location. If opting to drop off your car in person, you'll get a digital receipt and, when picking up, you'll notice a "Hertz Gold Standard Clean" sticker on the driver-side door. The latter marks a sanitized vehicle that has gone through all proper cleaning procedures. The sticker will be broken as the driver accesses the vehicle for the first time since complete disinfection.

In addition to already mentioned modes of sanitation, Enterprise is also offering rental car delivery service and curbside pick-ups. 

Itching to hop in a car and take a road trip? We feel you: here are the very best road trips to take all over the United States.

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